FRIDAY FLASHBACK!: 15 Ways To Fight For Our Second Amendment Rights
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This week's "Friday Flashback" is....
15 Ways To Fight For Our Second Amendment Rights
By Chris Chumita
The fight to keep our Second Amendment rights has had some impressive victories lately. In the past few years, we have seen more states begin to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms, the repeal of the “Clinton Assault Rifle Ban,” and the recent passage of the “Lawful Commerce In Arms Act.”
Despite these victories, now is not the time for us to become complacent about our Second Amendment rights. In fact, it is under attack in ways that we have only feared. For example, we have seen the passage of an “Assault Rifle Ban” in Columbus, Ohio, a voter approved gun ban in San Francisco, and the confiscation of firearms from law abiding citizens during a natural disaster in Louisiana.
Now, more than ever, we have to fight to protect out Second Amendment rights. Below are 15 easy things that you can do to help. You do not have to do all 15 to join the fight, but if everyone could just do one of them, it would help gun owners everywhere.
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1. Join The NRA:
The NRA (National Rifle Association) is without question, the most powerful pro-Second Amendment organization. I think that it would be safe to say that if it weren’t for them, we would have lost our Second Amendment rights a long time ago. The NRA has been there for every national Second Amendment victory for over the last 100 years. With over 4 million members, they are a consistently ranked the most powerful lobbying organization in Washington. The politicians in Washington DC know that when the NRA speaks, they are speaking for over 4 million people. So if you are not a NRA member, join today. If you are a member, renew it today. Better yet, become a life member. If you are financially able to do so, donate to the ILA (Institute of Legislative Affairs) and the PVF (Political Victory Fund). Personally, a majority of my donations go to the NRA. Make it a goal to sign up three new NRA members a year. During the holiday season, remember that NRA memberships make great gifts. In a way, you are giving them the gift of freedom. In addition to their political work, the NRA provides firearms education and publishes several excellent magazines. The magazines are a great way to get someone who does not support the NRA to learn what they really stand for.
2. Support Other National Second Amendment Organizations:
There are several other Second Amendment organizations that deserve our support. These organizations may have a slightly different approach than the NRA, but they are fighting for the same goal. These organizations include the Second Amendment Foundation and the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association). However, some people argue that the NRA and other Second Amendment organizations compromise too much. That is one of the reasons I would recommend also supporting a “No Compromise” Second Amendment organization. These organizations generally refuse to surrender any of our Second Amendment rights for any reason. If you want to support a “No Compromise” organization, I would recommend the “GOA (Gun Owners Of America). You can investigate the different organizations by visiting their websites.
3. Support “Special Interest” Second Amendment Organizations:
Sometimes, it can be very hard to get some people to listen to pro-Second Amendment organizations. Many people blindly assume that the NRA, GOA, and other organizations are just crazy gun nuts. However, they might listen to a “Special Interest” Second Amendment organization before they would listen to the NRA or GOA. Many of these organizations are based on minority status, or some other special interest. In most cases, you can join one of the “Special Interest” Second Amendment organizations even if you are not a minority or fall into whatever special category they represent. For example, I am not Jewish, but I support the JPFO (Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership). The JPFO is a “No Compromise” organization that tries to make people understand that gun control often leads to genocide. I also support the LEAA (Law Enforcement Alliance of America). The LEAA is a police based organization that supports the Second Amendment for police officers and citizens. They were instrumental in getting the National Carry For Police passed. There are women based organizations such as the Second Amendment Sisters and the Liberty Belles. One organization that people are surprised to learn about is the Pink Pistols. They are a pro-Second Amendment homosexual organization.
4. Support Your Local Second Amendment Organizations:
Many people fail to realize the importance of state level organizations. Because of their nature, they are usually more in touch with the grassroots than the big national organizations. Their power is derived from their ability to organize many individuals, like yourself to deliver a unified message to the legislature. They are also effective in taking many individual suggestions to national organizations like the NRA, who can lend immense political pressure. It is not a one or the other- you need to be involved in several organizations today. A good state organization will work together with the NRA. Unfortunately, the state and local organizations are easily neglected, because the national organizations can seem to take a greater precedence. Sometimes, the national organizations are often too busy on the national level to fight at the local and state levels. This is where your state or local organization comes in. Find out who your local organizations are and support them. For example, I have recently become active with the Buckeye Firearms Association. They are an Ohio-based organization that is solely concerned with the interests of Ohio’s gun owners. The local organizations are always in the need of volunteers to hand out information, make phone calls, or campaign for local pro-Second Amendment politicians, and other activities. Campaigning for a pro-gun candidate is probably the area where the local or state level organizations need the most help. Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, states, “If you have a person who is willing to go to the statehouse and fight for your rights for two years, you owe that person two days of your time for his/her campaign. Everyone is busy, but you make time for the important things. This is important. Contact your NRA EVC or a good statewide organization and help their endorsed candidates. Your help gives power to the organization, and builds respect in the legislature. Each new person makes a difference."
5. Contact Your Local, State, and National Representatives:
Write to your local, state, and national representatives and let them know how you feel about the Second Amendment. Send them a letter thanking them or asking for their support. If they are against the Second Amendment, write them a letter to ask them why. Challenge them. Frame your argument in terms of why are you against my (or my wife/sister/mother/grandfather’s) right to defend ourselves from a killer/rapist? Discuss the benefits of gun ownership by giving them the facts, and use that information to discredit the anti-gun arguments. However, make sure that you are polite and DO NOT make any threats. All gun owners should consider campaigning for pro-Second Amendment candidates and vote on election day!
6. Get your Concealed Handgun License:
It may have a different name in the state that you live in, but it’s vitally important to get as many law-abiding citizens to get their CHLs as we can. If you support the Second Amendment, you should get your CHL even if you never plan on carrying a firearm. It’s sad to say, but it’s a numbers game. The more people who have the permits, the more powerful our voices become. In the rare circumstance that a CHL-holder commits a crime with a firearm, the media most likely make it sound like every CHL-holder is a future felon. The more law-abiding CHL-holders we have, the easier it becomes to show that the criminals are a rare exception. If you do decide to get your CHL, make sure you do it legally, and get the proper training.
7. Buy A Gun:
If you can afford it, help keep a firearm company in business by buying a new gun (or three) this year. Whenever you buy a gun, make sure that you know how to use it, and how to properly store it.
8. Support Your Local Shooting Ranges:
It is one of my dreams to own a shooting range. During my research, I was amazed to learn how expensive they are to build, maintain, and to manage the day to day operations. It is amazing that the commercial ranges make enough money to stay in business and still make a small profit. One thing to think about is how many shooting ranges in your area have closed due to financial reasons, lawsuits, or eminent domain. We need to help keep commercial ranges open for the future of the Second Amendment. It may be cheaper to legally shoot on private land, but don’t forget about us unfortunate people who live in the city. The commercial ranges are often the only place for us to shoot. Good places to shoot are getting harder to find. If you find one, help keep it in business.
9. Support Your Local Gun Store:
This may be the most surprising of all of my suggestions. Instead of saving money by buying a gun on the Internet, buy them at a local “mom and pop” gun store. Granted the stores can’t meet the prices of an internet gun warehouse, but they give you the opportunity to handle firearms. They are also great places to “talk guns” and be surrounded by like minded people Hopefully, their customer service will make up for the extra money that you spent on the item. However, the gun stores have to take some responsibility here too. Too often, firearm businesses employ way too many “Ex Navy Seal Commandos” who chase away more customers than they keep. Employees and owners must be sensitive to the customer who is interested in learning about guns and becoming a gun owner. Too many times, gun store employees tend to make “rookie” gun enthusiasts feel incompetent and are unwilling to educate these potential customers in a friendly, welcoming manner. If a customer is treated right, they are often loyal. For example, I continue to buy all of my guns at the same small gun store. I still buy off of them despite the fact that I can buy them cheaper on line. They have a customer for life, because they treated me great when I bought my first gun. Keeping good stores in business helps us recruit new gun owners which are crucial in protecting our Second Amendment rights.
10. Support Gun Shows:
You don’t know what you are missing if you haven’t been to a gun show. They are often packed with table after table of guns, and other gun related merchandise. They are a great place to try to find a rare firearm, and to look at a large number of firearms that you don’t get to see everyday. If you have been paying attention to the fight for our Second Amendment rights, you know that gun shows are under attack. Some counties and cities are banning them or doing their best to make it an unpleasant experience for attendees. Start supporting the gun shows in your area or they will become a thing of the past. You may also bump into a pro-gun legislator. Is there a better time to talk to him/her about Second Amendment issues?
11. Share Your Gun Magazines
I am a compulsive reader and I often horde my old magazines. Every once in awhile (to keep the fiancée happy) I end up throwing away a bunch of my old Second Amendment, and gun related magazines. After dumping my last batch I thought of a better way to dispose of them. How about leaving them in the waiting room of various places that you visit? Hopefully, someone will thumb through a copy of a magazine like Concealed Carry Magazine and it will spark an interest. If the magazine is from a subscription, don’t forget to cut off your personal information before leaving it behind. Another way to share your magazines is to donate a subscription to the library. Some Libraries will gladly accept subscriptions to magazines. If yours does, donate a subscription to Concealed Carry Magazine, the various NRA magazines, or another gun related magazine such as “Guns and Ammo.”
12. Advertise Your Right:
Buy and wear some outfits that tell others that you support the Second Amendment. The NRA has a great selection of high quality clothing. However, you should be careful not to wear any pro-Second Amendment clothing that has what can be perceived to be sexist, racist, or threatening. Avoid T-Shirts that have sayings such as “Trespassers Will be Shot, Survivors Will Be Shot Again” or similar messages. They may funny to some, but they do nothing but add to the violent gun owner stereotype.
13. Write To Your Local Papers:
Don’t let anti-gun biases go unchallenged. Write a letter to the editor when ever you see an anti-gun article or bias. Also, write letters to the editor explaining the benefits of CCW laws and the Second Amendment.
14. Stay Informed:
There are too many gun owners who do nothing to help fight for our Second Amendment rights. Before you can act, you have to know what is going on. Probably the best magazine to be informed of what is going with the Second Amendment politics is the NRA magazine “America’s First Freedom.” In addition, read magazines such as Concealed Carry, Combat Handguns, and American Handgunner. Frequent pro-gun websites such as Packing.org, and Keepandbeararms.com. Don’t forget to listen to the NRA news show, Cam & Company, on Sirius Satellite radio. Cam & Company can also be heard on line at NRAnews.com. And, of course, subscribe to Buckeye Firearms News. All of these will help keep you informed of the different firearms, accessories, tactics, and other safety information.
15. Introduce Someone To The Shooting Sports.
Make it a yearly goal to introduce at least 3 people to the shooting sports and firearms every year. The most important area to concentrate is women and children. Women only make up a small percentage of shooters. Women are now the fastest growing segment of gun ownership. Educate the women in your life about using a gun for self-defense. It may save their life. Also, going to the range can be a great bonding experience for you and your significant other. I really enjoy the time I spend on the range with my fiancée (even if she can almost outshoot me after only 3 trips to the range). In addition to women, we need to teach children about their Second Amendment rights. I don’t think I need to explain how the schools and media are brain washing our children to be anti-gun. I know it’s an over used cliché, but the children are our future. One of the best ways to secure our Second Amendment rights for the future is to introduce firearms and shooting to children at an early age. Supervised trips to the range help teach marksmanship and responsibility.
Every gun owner should be doing as many of these suggestions as possible. Many do all of them, and more. Decide what you are capable of doing and start expanding your involvement from there. The anti-gunners do not have the power to beat us, but we are fighting back from losses suffered as a result of our complacency in the past.
It’s up to each of us to never again give up ground to those who would disarm us. We only have to look to the events that happened a few months ago to see that we have to worry about losing our Second Amendment rights. I was horrified when I saw the reports of the gun confiscation in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and the passage of the handgun ban in San Francisco. Litigation may have stopped the gun confiscations in Louisiana, but we can’t forget that it happened. If it happened there, it can happen in your home town. Its time to get serous about your Second Amendment rights before it’s too late.