United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- One of the hardest parts of effectively defending the Second Amendment is figuring out how to straddle a lot of passions. If you’re not denouncing the National Rifle Association, you’re really in support of “Negotiating Rights Away.” Anyone who doesn’t accept the notion that Wayne LaPierre is running the organization into the ground is seen as a traitor to the Second Amendment. On the flip side, there are those who get infuriated when Gun Owners of America opposes a bill that would represent an improvement (albeit not a total one) in their present situation.
The fact is, life can be far more complicated than many of us want to admit. On Wayne LaPierre’s watch, the NRA has greatly expanded concealed carry, largely thwarted federal legislation that would have infringed on our Second Amendment rights, and he also secured the election of politicians who put pro-Second Amendment justices on the Supreme Court. On the political and legislative front, a substantial share of the credit for the undeniable improvement in the overall situation over the last 35 years has to go to the NRA and LaPierre.
That being said, LaPierre also has made some serious strategic errors. On his watch, the NRA got lax with Ackerman-McQueen, and while they appear to be winning legal battles with their former PR firm, the entire situation didn’t have to happen. Better oversight – or better yet, having multiple vendors to create competition – would have been better.
LaPierre also failed to anticipate the possibility that Andrew Cuomo and Letitia James would launch politically motivated abuses against the NRA. Cuomo in particular, gave an ominous warning in 2014 that should have prompted a move (and housecleaning) long before James would have had the power to abuse the NRA.
The NRA has also failed to get involved in the cultural arena, and it has left votes on the table by not hiring translators or engaging in outreach – which proved crucial for Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. Both of these failures also took place on LaPierre’s watch. The NRA needs to get started on rectifying those failures yesterday. And by the way, the threat posed to the entire Second Amendment community should James succeed in her politically-motivated hit on the NRA also exists.
But the NRA is not the only part of defending the Second Amendment that gets complicated. We rightly object when anti-Second Amendment extremists try to punish us for crimes and acts of madness – some of them horrific – that we did not commit. However, that doesn’t make the misuse of firearms to commit crimes and acts of madness – some of them horrific (Sandy Hook, Parkland, Las Vegas) something to ignore, or worse, brush off.
In 2020, FBI stats noted that 8,209 homicides were carried out with handguns, 455 with rifles, 203 with shotguns, and 4,283 were of “firearms, type not stated.” In addition, can any Second Amendment supporter deny that anti-Second Amendment extremists use those instances where firearms are misused as fodder for their unjust agenda? How many times have family members who lose loved ones in a tragedy sought to take their grief out against, especially when we are defending ourselves from having our rights infringed?
Second Amendment supporters need to have something to offer on this front. People might not like Project Exile and may have reservations about supporting legislation like the Restoring the Armed Career Criminal Act and the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, but the fact remains these bills can hold off much worse.
Also, think of this: The likely alternative to gun bans in a post-NYSRPA v. Bruen (and other Second Amendment cases) world be a series of other legislative attacks – including the Sabika Sheikh Licensing and Registration Act. Do not think that this case, or those percolating from the rulings by Judge Benitez, will be panaceas.
We also must address the fact that much of the threats we now face come not from legislation or politicians, but from private entities. This is another complex fight because the Constitution grants them the same liberties it does for us. At the same time, we cannot allow ourselves to be financially blacklisted.
All Second Amendment supporters seek the restoration of an uninfringed right to keep and bear arms. Reaching that goal will require defeating anti-Second Amendment extremists via the ballot box at the federal, state, and local level. It also means accepting the fact that the defense of our rights will be complicated at times.
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, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.