Skills that are not regularly exercised will fade with time, and rights are no different. As much as we would like to be able to depend on static documents like the Constitution to protect our rights, the fact is that the only true way to maintain freedom is to exercise it. That’s why we have such a strong legal recognition of the First Amendment – because both individuals and the organized press and religions are constantly using it and pushing at its boundaries. If we want to maintain and expand our rights as recognized by the Second Amendment, we need to do the same thing.
I mentioned a while back that I think there are two truly effective things that we as individuals can do to have an impact on legislative policy. The quick and easy one is actual direct (polite and intelligent) communication with political representatives (no matter how loathsome they may be). The second thing has far more potential impact, takes much more time and attention, and is far more rewarding. That is to introduce people to the excitement, camaraderie, and fulfillment of the shooting sports and gun collecting. Writing a senator is a single statement; getting a person interested and engaged in our interests not only brings a neutral mind onto our side, but it also creates a new voice that will spread our message to a whole new circle of people.
Ultimately, we live in a political society, and it will always be very difficult for Washington to enact laws that a majority of people actively disapprove of. If those laws do get passed, having a majority of conscious public opinion on our side makes them much easier to reverse. I’ve never spoken to this young lady, but I’m pretty confident that just by sharing her daily life with her friends she will do more to hold back gun control than a hundred angry letters to DC:
She’s 13, and running 3-gun matches like a pro – I wish I could run a shotgun that smoothly (H/T to Joel for the video)
It’s easy for us to do, too! Shooting sports sell themselves – how many people actually decide that a day of plinking at tin cans is just not any fun? There are tons of neutral folks out there today, uninformed and curious about shooting, and all we have to do is give them an opportunity to try it out. Whether they decide to just stick to plinking with a .22, or get self-defense training and a CCW, or collect interesting historical guns, or take up any one of the competitive styles, it doesn’t matter. Give them a stake in our gun rights and they will help us defend those rights. This isn’t a game of Chess at the national level, it’s a game of Go at a very local level.
So take a day and invite that friend, neighbor, or coworker out to the range with you. Start them out with something simple and fun and easy*, like an airgun or .22 or 9mm carbine, and bring a new shooter into the fold. You might be surprised how easy it is…we have plenty of “liberal” friends who have dived head-first into recreational and competitive shooting. We can make gun rights a fundamental principle supported by people across the political spectrum – and we can get started today.
* If you’re one of those idiots on YouTube who brought his newbie girlfriend to the range and told her to hold a 12ga out in front of her shoulder and then laughed like a hyena when it knocked her over, I truly hope she dumped your ass and found someone who wasn’t a complete waste of oxygen.