The Second Amendment Cannot Afford Strategic Incompetence

NRA Day by Day
NRA Day by Day

Fairfax, Virginia/United States – -( By all rights, the fight to maintain our Second Amendment rights should have ended a long time ago. We know what the Founders of this country intended with regards to the right to keep and bear arms. The stats from the Justice Department should shoot down the flagship legislation (bans on modern, multi-purpose semi-automatic firearms) proposed by many of the Democrats running for president these days. We would not need to be fighting over our rights, because most people would be looking for solutions that didn’t wrongfully strip law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights.

Instead, we are in a pitched battle for these rights. We’re doing well to keep bad legislation from passing in all but the states most dominated by the far left, but it still seems like we are losing ground. There is a big reason: While we have excelled in the short-term game, especially at the federal level, Second Amendment supporters across the board ignored the long game.

That failure has a lot of parentage – which those responsible for it will deny. Some, like Neal Knox, were overly confrontational and managed to alienate allies or potential allies. Look, Knox’s role in the 1977 “Revolt in Cincinnati” that saved the Second Amendment and helped stem the tide that was heading towards handgun bans, licensing, and registration was something we all should recognize, and praise him for.

But Knox also had a penchant for alienating allies with a hardline all-or-nothing attitude, especially when reality intruded – to wit, the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. He also claimed that it was possible that the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were part of a conspiracy against our Second Amendment rights in a 1994 Shotgun News column. It was obvious that the political landscape required a shift in tactics and approach that Knox was clearly incapable of, and he had to go from NRA-ILA in 1982. It was equally obvious in 1997 that his approach was doing more harm than good, and he had to go then, too.

There has been far too little thought about how our defense of the Second Amendment comes across, and whether we need to change our approach to protecting our rights. Barry Goldwater’s failure should be instructive in this regard. The biggest problems we have doesn’t come from demographic shifts, it is coming from the suburbs – especially suburban women freaked out over whether their kids’ school will be the site of the next mass shooting.

Trafficking conspiracy theories and not being able to make the tactical adjustments necessary to limit or outright beat anti-Second Amendment legislation is not standing for principle, it harms our defense of our freedoms.

Look, I feel just as much resentment towards the anti-Second Amendment extremists who are wrongfully trying to deny me and millions of other Americans’ of our civil rights in the wake of the horrific shootings that we had no part of as anyone else. I’m angry at the lies that spew forth from anti-Second Amendment extremists like Alyssa Milano, Shannon Watts, Charles Schumer, Beto O’Rourke, and Dianne Feinstein. But that anger cannot rule our thinking or our message, especially in today’s media climate.

Strategy and tactics matter. They did in 1968, when the damage was limited and a federal licensing and registration scheme was beaten in a very adverse media and political environment. In 1999, the smart tactics and strategy not only prevented new federal controls, it won an election that ultimately provided the 5-4 margin in the Heller and McDonald cases.

But strategic incompetence in a different way is why Wayne LaPierre needs to step down, as I have called for on multiple occasions in the web pages of Ammoland. On the legislative and political fronts, he did quite well over nearly 30 years as Executive Vice President. But he missed the threat from corporate gun control like that from Salesforce and Silicon Valley. He has also been unable to address the growing social stigmatization of the Second Amendment.

But Wayne’s replacement needs to be someone who has the tactical and strategic acumen to win the fight, and to address the growing vulnerabilities of today’s political landscape and who can also make the changes in approach to shift the landscape in a more favorable direction. Getting this sort of talent at the Executive Vice President and NRA-ILA Executive Director positions will not be cheap, and when you look at the growing social stigmatization of the Second Amendment, anyone who DOES take those positions will have a hard time finding work.

The fact of the matter is that there is really very little controversy among Second Amendment supporters when it comes to the need to protect our rights. The disagreement is often about the best methods to do so. Given the stakes in 2020, and the increasingly extreme anti-Second Amendment positions coming from a nmber of Presidential candidates, the ability to fight smart may be THE critical requirement.

Harold Hu, chison

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.

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Stop with the compromise crap. When the farmer comes with a milk bucket, the cow can negotiate and compromise. When the farmer comes with a steak knife, the cow should not think that any compromise is going to work out well. You should not think that any negotiation or compromise with leftist gun grabbers is going to work out well either, because it isn’t a milk bucket that the gun grabbers are holding.

Charlie Foxtrot

Stop with the cult of personality. The NRA’s CEO should not concentrate everything the NRA does in one person. The CEO is just a manager. He or she must be replaceable and should be replaced if there is no confidence (which is what we have now for a while). Right now, the NRA needs an interim CEO anyway, to oversee the transition to a clean NRA. There should be a number of highly qualified people working for the CEO, each having their own responsibilities. Actions within the organization should be transparent and overseen by the Board. Officers and Board members… Read more »


Harold, Compromise = you lose. Dialogue = you lose. In this case since 1934. The ban people and the elites in gov, media & tech want you and your offspring DEAD. That’s just reality and history proves me correct. That you cannot recognize that conspiracies are not only real but that they are as intrinsic to government and human nature as fish are to the sea is astounding in this day and age. Your naivety is dangerous. The discussion about anything regarding any of the BOR amendments is over, period. Massive civil disobedience to all existing and future anti legislation.… Read more »

Will Flatt




The Enemy WITHIN the Gates count is growing larger by the day unfortunately…and the majority of them are in the GOP.


“Fight smart” is just another term for “compromise” or “Politically Correct”. NO, you don’t compromise a Constitutional Right (Inalienable God-given), you FIGHT with all your might. Compromise IS FAILURE.


Indeed, if only 50% of all current or former NRA members joined us, problems would disappear. I’ve been supporting the Gun Owners of America for several years with occasional contributions…those are now monthly and I no longer give a dime to the Negotiating Rights Away.


Regardless of WHO has or hasn’t done WHATEVER, I still do not see many at all that live and breath, .”..mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” I don’t see much of anybody giving up any damn thing except for wordsmithing is social media. I want to start seeing people make comments and lay down track records of what they’ve actually accomplished in defending and protecting our constitution and our freedom and I don’t mean some Barstool bulshit over a football game at a sports bar! It’s time for the MASS MAJORITY of men… Read more »


Harold, the long game you fail to address is the one the gun banners are playing. It’s called Death by a Thousand Cuts.

Here’s hoping it’s not Harold or anyone he’s describing at the bargaining table the next time our oppressors are considering more government overreach.


Wait, so, the leftist are more and more about violent attacks, taking a firm stand, all or nothing and many are demanding the repeal of the 2A in many cases but the pro-2A tactics and the refusal to compromise are the Problem?

What side are you on? You sound more like a Police State Democrat than a defender of the 2A.

I think if were in George Washington’s Continental Army, he would have thrown your ass out for your weak resolve.


You guys have been been pretty mean to Harold lately. He had to retreat and regroup. Over time Harold has given us hints and clues about him. His unwavering support for the NRA would lead us to believe he is a staff member, or gets some of that dues money possibly as a consultant. He seems to have nothing but contempt for any staunch strident supporter of Second Amendment Rights , and it sounds like he wants them silenced. They are messing up his plans. He has recommended we seek out democrats to vote for. That leads me to believe… Read more »


Our 2nd Amendment has been battered by politicians and bureaucrats who swore to uphold and defend it. The attack is from within and each useless law or regulation is proof that these vipers either have no idea what the Constitution stands for or they blatantly lie under oath and have no intention of securing our liberties. This is evidenced by mountains of restrictions placed only on the law abiding.
These vermin know how to game the system because they repeat the same rhetoric and keep getting reelected.


What 2A cannot afford is serial compromisers such as Hutchinson. So if you do not believe Oswald assassinated Kennedy you are now a conspiracy theorist? The only option there is to acknowledge Oswald as the most accomplished marksman that ever lived….


So, where are the specifics of this story. It’s a rambling list of accusations.


The NRA’s approach has emphasized the legal fight, but this fight isn’t, and has never been simply legal. Besides fighting to return to Constitutional law we’re also fighting a PR battle. Winning the legal fight is a victory, but a short term one. Winning the PR fight is far more important because if public opinion changes enough we’ll elect politicians who will change the Constitution, and the fight will be over.


@Wyomack, here’s a little PR for ya! Come to take away MY guns and see, (If only nust a quick flash.) what will happen!

Ansel Hazen

Well, he’s called for Waynes resignation so there’s that.

Ansel Hazen

Yeah I know, thinking it’s a case of a broken clock that’s right twice a day?


Even here, he commends Lapierre’s 30 years in NRA. Lapierre is the least charismatic public figure I have ever seen. I cringed whenever he showed up in news video. And all during that time, we now know he was skimming, stealing, and conniving for himself and against membership.


For too long, the NRA and other gun rights organizations avoided going on the offense. Well, as we should all know, you don’t win playing defense. Promoting crime legislation to punish criminal misuse of firearms, with mandatory sentences, ditto for irresponsible gun handling and negligent storage in the presence of minors, and we can own the issue of public safety. Instead, we get hung up in their trap of arguing “assault rifles”, magazine capacities, guns purchased per month, etc. There are bleeding heart judges doling out no bail for gun crimes, minor sentences for gun offenses, releasing felons to lesson… Read more »


What kind of sleep under the bed, avoid the Boogeyman logic is THAT? There won’t be ANY, “Herculean effort” AFTER THE FACT…. If WE, THE PEOPLE do not apply out BACKBONE to defend and protect the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence NOW it will NEVER be defended later! This is what amazes me about the citizens in my country today? That they think they can coward down, remain complacent and not want to, “rock the boat” attitude and thinking that they can always get something back AFTER it’s taken away from them? If you don’t… Read more »


Harold: “… we are in a pitched battle for these rights.” “… “… The biggest problems we have doesn’t come from demographic shifts, it is coming from the suburbs – especially suburban women freaked out over whether their kids’ school will be the site of the next mass shooting.” – Where is your support for that generality ? Harold, the contest is not a “high school debate”, past compromise, patience and attempts at educating “gun control advocates” have failed; there is no audience among those prone to emotional responses to tragic facts of life such as violence caused by: predators;… Read more »


SOMEONE needs to tell those freaked out mums who fear their kids’ school will be the next scene of a massacre to take some time and study the FASTER Saves Lives programme developed inOhio, which provides specifically designed training for school employees who want to be able to carry their own personal defense weapon at their place of employment to protect against the veyr attacks the mums fear. No one knows who is, or is not, carrying their handguns at school but the armed teachers and perhaps the principal. The kids don’t know, and any would be murderer wil not… Read more »


I have yet to find ANY, “imperfections” in the Constitution of the United States other that the closing line should have been, “This document, this Contract of and by The People, is to be protected AT ALL TIMES by men with balls? ( I would have added women in that but at the time they didn’t recognize such strength as we do today.)


This fool has gone too far. Smearing Neal Knox’s name and reputation is beyond outrage. His worthless god, Lapierre, whose zipper he kneels in front of isn’t worth the crotch rot or dirt between Knox’s toes. Lapierre and his gang have done nothing these past 20 years since 1998 but plunder the association, drive it into the ground and utterly responsible for the caustic 2A environment we live in today.


Leave Harold alone. This jackwagon gives us entertainment. It shows us the mail ego in this nation today after it has been, feminized, emasculated, desensitized, a stripped of their male egos by the left-wing as they struggled and fought to become their own person in society. Harold brings to us a societal form of transgenderism that has occurred too many men in this country. We recognize that form of digression each and every time he utters ANY kind of a word in giving up ANY right under ANY circumstance! We ALL either STAND with NO compromise and giving up ANY… Read more »


Made a donation yesterday.


The anti gunners’ (groups and politicians) have been shoving laws down our throats and demanding that we law abiding gun owners surrender our legally owned firearms or by legislation they will be banned and after a ban has been enacted into law, a legal gun owner could be a criminal for possessing an inanimate object ( firearm, 15 round magazine, etc) that is considered illegal under a new gun control law. I am a Life member of the NRA, and like many others I ‘m also saddened by the senseless loss of life that occurred in El Paso, TX, by… Read more »


What we have today, with these mass murders is the American equivalent of the suicide bombers. They are the same driven fanatics and useful idiots that have practically NO chance of surviving their murderous fanatical acts !
Are they being groomed by the radical leftist gun control crowd ? Look at ANTIFA for instance- weren’t they supposed to descend on El Paso the very weekend of the mass shooting ? Could be that THEY changed THEIR strategy!
Or am I just a conspiracy theorist also?


Let us define “Strategic Incompetence”, Cowardly traitors such as Harold Hutchison who insist that losing now will surely guarantee a win later… That is strategic incompetence.

Harold, you were already viewed as a pathetic propagandist before. Now as you try to rewrite history, you really are living up to the title of being an enemy of the Second Amendment. May your name always be spat, and remembered as that like to a Benedict Arnold. May your children look back on you with shame, and time forget you were ever considered one of our countrymen.


Stay tuned for another chapter of ” The Chronicles of Harold ” the Ultimate Super Defender of the Second Amendment. A glimpse into the future – Harold, using his super sophisticated intelligence and pure geometric logic has brought the entire staff of the NRA and it’s board of directors to a state of surrender. Now with the levers of power firmly in his grasp, it is time to put his plan into action. First, a new image. Not for the NRA, a new image for his self. No more looking like an office clerk that just awoke from a fever… Read more »


Harold. You wouldn’t make a suppurating boil on Neal Knox’s backside. I know. I was around during his heyday!

J Richardson

I would be happy if the next EVP/CEO was a good administrator so long as Chris Cox was rehired to run NRA-ILA

Charlie Foxtrot

I think we had this discussion before on the other blog. Would Chris Cox even want to come back to the NRA, now that he has his own lobbying firm. Also, as the other comment made it clear. Chris Cox’s support for the bump stock ban and for red flag laws may negate any lobbying experience he has. The GOA and FPC are spending a lot of donated money to fight the NRA’s bump stock ban. It will take years and may be unsuccessful. Chris Cox is, in part, responsible for outlawing $100,000,000 in private property. No rationalization of his… Read more »

Will Flatt

Chris Cox was also part of the problem, he was a big supporter of Red Flag laws, among other compromises. Aren’t you sick of Negotiating Rights Away??? Or are you Not Really an Activist?