WHERE WE ARE
Much of what I spend time on amounts to finding ways of presenting thoughts in ways that connect. Whether it's on buying a quality gun for self defense ("Oh, so you're the guy who wants the CHEAP parachute!") or putting into perspective the current political situation and how it not only compares to other times, but how we need to be thinking about it.
That second one really is pretty easy. We've never seen anything like this. I've been actively covering gun rights for more than 40 years, and I have the files from my father, Grits Gresham, who covered it for 20 years before that. We have had calls for banning the ownership of handguns as well as other gun ban measures, but never have we had the concerted efforts of the White House, a hugely-financed and effective campaign machine turned to promote gun bans, and a media which long ago cast aside any pretense of objectivity and heartily embraces their activism on the disarmament of the American people.
On the other hand, we never have been so well connected, had so many new gun owners joining our ranks (even if they don't fully appreciate the scope of the political threat), and we certainly have never seen the level of commitment to preserve the Second Amendment now evident everywhere you look.
The question, then, is how do we win? Attached to that is the vital issue of what, exactly, will constitute a win? Will losing only some of our guns and our rights rather than most of them be a win? Or, do we realistically think our "win" is to stop the gun banners completely and actually take back some of the gun rights we have lost? Actually, that's not a wild fantasy.
One of the big changes from previous fights on gun bans is the current White House. As I have been saying for six years, Barack Obama is firmly committed to banning the ownership of as many firearms as possible. Even a casual examination of his past statements confirms this. Now freed from worrying about running for office, he has stopped disguising his hatred of guns and gun owners (remember his "private" comment about us being bitter and clinging to our guns and religion?), and has turned his massive (and massively effective) campaign organization to the task of convincing the public that it should swamp Congress with calls for gun bans. "Organizing For Action " (OFA) has millions of dollars and millions of names of Obama supporters. Today it begins a huge push for gun bans.
Which brings us to the question of how we need to think about this. In gun fighting training, I hear the phrase "The body will not go where the mind has not already gone." In other words, you have to get your mind right. You must work -- actually work -- to create the right mindset before you can take effective action.
Effective action. Not just action.
The mindset has to recognize that this is unique. Never have we been under the concerted attacks we now see. This requires immediate action. Every week, or more often, each of us needs to CALL the offices of our elected representatives. Call the offices in Washington. Then call their offices in the state. Send emails. Use the www.ruger.com advocacy web site (they made it easy), but don't stop there.
If you get a response with anything that looks like the standard, "I support the Second Amendment, but..." you are hearing from a gun banner. Time for a response.
Here's one you can use. Customize it as needed.
Dear Senator/Congressman ______________:
Thank you for your response.
Unfortunately, you have gotten some very bad advice, and it makes you look foolish. You are wrong on the facts about firearms and their uses.
For you, this clearly is a matter of agenda rather than facts or what would actually make people safer. Now that we have your nonsensical statement on the record, I feel obligated to tell you that I well remember that in 1994 many Democrats in Congress were sent home because of their votes for the Clinton Gun Ban. President Clinton acknowledged this in his 1995 State of the Union address.
In much the same way, votes for the proposed Obama Gun Ban will produce the same results -- Democrats will be defeated in large numbers in the mid-term elections, likely costing the Democrat party control of the Senate. Of course, President Obama will not be affected because he is in his second term.
History does repeat itself. I will work hard to make sure it does.
My promise is that I will devote time and money to guarantee the defeat of anyone who votes for a gun ban (any type of firearm) or any restriction (specifically a move to cripple the capacity of magazines) on legal firearms owners. This includes any "background check" scheme which includes a database of gun owners.
This is my promise to you.
What does NOT work? Being nasty doesn't change minds. The letter above is strong and pointed, but it isn't nasty. Calling someone a traitor, telling her that her actions constitute treason, or ever saying anything about Hilter or Nazis will immediately strengthen their will to ban guns.
We are right, but write this down on the back of your hand and refer to it often. The goal is not to convince politicians we are right. The goal is to win. You win by convincing them you can hurt them. To a large degree, they vote on the basis of how it benefits them.
Be clear. Be short. (Always start with the statement that you are asking them to actively oppose any restriction on guns or gun rights.) Be polite. Be firm. It's okay to bring up that you are using Facebook and Twitter to tell others in your area about this politician's position on your constitutional rights.
Mindset. We need immediate action on this one. We also need to understand that this is like fighting terrorism. You don't "win." You just commit to fighting it for generations.
Yes, we tire of it. You can allow yourself to feel tired -- for an hour only. Then, look at your children and grandchildren, remind yourself that if we don't stop this now, they will live in a country where only the state has access to firearms. Any student of history knows what follows.
Then pick up the phone and call that elected official's office again.