USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- In an amazing twist that was somehow completely overlooked by most of the nation’s media, Dan Gross, who served for 6 years as president of the gun control advocacy group, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, joined thousands of Second Amendment supporters at a rally on the West Lawn of the nation’s capital in Washington DC.
Not only did Gross express support for Second Amendment rights and respect for gun owners, but he also criticized gun control groups for intentionally and dogmatically demonizing guns and gun owners, while focusing on restricting guns instead of saving lives.
In the past, there have occasionally been lobbyists and politicians who abandoned pro-rights groups or positions to express support for some form of gun control, and those defectors typically received significant media attention for their actions.
But here we have the president of one of the oldest and most prominent gun control organizations in the country, publicly rebuking his former employers and reversing his own longstanding position, with no more than a yawn from the dominant media.
Gross’ remarks are available on multiple YouTube channels and were covered in the “conservative” and “gun press,” including here on AmmoLand News, so it’s not hard for anyone interested to see exactly what he said.
As a member of the 2nd Amendment Rally Organizing Committee, I interviewed Gross before we agreed to invite him to the rally. I found him to be sincere in his commitment to the right to arms, if not quite as devoted to the full extent of the protections the amendment provides. At least he’s open to discussion and learning.
There’s a possibility that Gross came out in support of the Second Amendment as a publicity stunt, looking for exposure and support for his new effort that focuses more on the responsibilities involved in gun ownership than on additional government regulations, and I’m okay with that. Gun ownership carries significant responsibilities, and as long as those pushing the message of responsible firearm ownership aren’t advocating for government intervention into the lives of gun owners, I welcome them to the discussion. I might not agree with everything that Gross decides to promote, just as I don’t always agree with the actions and positions of established gun rights groups, but “iron sharpens iron.” Discussions, even arguments, over philosophy and the best approach to the right to arms are a useful and productive process, unlike shouting and foot-stomping.
The 2nd Amendment Rally was, overall, a huge success.
We gathered over 2000 rights advocates on the Capitol lawn on very short notice, and without funding or active support from any of the major advocacy organizations. We brought together some 30 speakers representing a wide array of perspectives and approaches, all fiercely advocating against the creeping encroachment of government regulation on our fundamental right to arms. We were respectful, cheerful, and more diverse in terms of race, outlook, and lifestyle than the dominant media would ever admit.
We used technology to send our message far beyond the couple of thousand in direct attendance to thousands more virtual participants watching the live stream, and still, more who have and continue to watch the archive footage online, making this one of the most widely seen Second Amendment events ever held.
The core theme of the rally was the message that “You Are the Gun Lobby.” It is and must remain the core message of the pro-rights movement. You can’t rely on some group – any group – to protect your rights, and just sending a few dollars now and then does not get the job done. You must take direct action in the form of calls and letters to elected officials, and involvement in getting the right people elected. It’s also critical that you engage with friends and family, with clear facts and by demonstrating a strong example of responsible gun ownership.
Efforts to spread the truth about gun owners and gun ownership into non-traditional communities – women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, LGBTQ folks, and people of every political and religious persuasion – depend on you. We need everyone to know that the Second Amendment protects THEIR rights, just as it protects our rights. The Second Amendment is for everyone, and we need everyone we come in contact with to feel welcome and appreciated as a fellow rights supporter. The right to arms must transcend our differences and bind us together under a single banner and common cause.
Don’t let other differences and disagreements get in the way of what really matters. The right to arms is universal. Christians and Jews and Muslims and Sikhs and Hindus and Buddhists and atheists and everyone else, have the right to defend themselves and their families from criminals and from oppressors. We don’t have to agree on the path to Heaven or road to enlightenment, but we can all agree that life is precious and worth defending.
Democrats and Republicans and Socialists and Libertarians and Independents and members of every other political party or philosophy, can agree on the right to arms while disagreeing on virtually everything else, and that agreement is the common ground on which personal relationships and mutual respect can be built.
Sure, it’s hard to understand how someone could be a supporter of the Second Amendment and also be a supporter of Beto O’Rourke, but they undoubtedly exist. The trick is to focus on the former rather than the latter. Embrace the agreement rather than focusing on the difference, and you might have a chance of changing their mind about their choice in presidential candidates. If instead, you focus on the difference, you not only have virtually no chance of influencing that choice, you run a very high probability of pushing that person away from support for rights, by making them feel unwelcome. That’s not how we win in the long run. For more insights into this sort of thing, check out the new podcast from my “liberal” friend Sarah Cade and Jon Hauptman. I think this is going to be a very useful series.
The Second Amendment belongs to everyone, and we must let everyone know that because we need everyone supporting it if we ever hope to secure our rights.
It wasn’t that long ago that some of the most dedicated defenders of the Second Amendment in Congress were Democrats, and gun rights legislation could pass with bipartisan support. That’s not the case today, but could be true again at some point in the future, but not if we push away Democrat gun owners.
That’s why I welcome Dan Gross into our fraternity. He can’t hurt us, and he could potentially help us immensely. He can help us to understand our opponents better, and that’s always useful. The most important thing though, is that we can only win this fight by increasing our numbers. Rejecting and offending people who could be our allies is just foolish and self-defeating.
You Are the Gun Lobby. Your activism, your example, and your influence are what will make the difference between winning this fight, or sliding down the slippery slope of never-ending, incremental gun control.
The 2nd Amendment Rally Organizing Committee has disbanded, and all of our records are being deleted, as we promised they would be, but a new committee is already forming to hold another rally next year. Start planning now to be part of its success, but more importantly, start acting now to own the title of “the Gun Lobby,” and lead the way into a brighter future.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.