Let me make something perfectly clear: The NRA is not the Gun Lobby. Neither is the NSSF, nor the GOA, nor even The Firearms Coalition, nor the hundreds of grassroots and activist organizations or the thousands of local gun clubs. I am the Gun Lobby. Whenever you talk about the Gun Lobby, you are talking about me. All those groups and entities work for me, but they are not me, and they do not necessarily speak for me. My power does not derive from my personal wealth nor financial support from the industry that serves me. My power comes from the fact that I am one of tens of millions who understand that individuals have the right and the obligation to protect themselves from criminal assault, and that no one — not the government, not the media nor anyone else, has the right to decide what, when, where, or how I responsibly exercise that right and obligation. We – each of us – are the Gun Lobby, and we’re not going away, We’re not backing down, and we’re not giving in – not one little bit.
It infuriates me when I hear “reporting” and editorializing about “the powerful Gun Lobby” and “the intransigent Gun Lobby” and sometimes even “the evil Gun Lobby,” as if we were a handful of rich fat cats in safari shirts sitting in a mahogany-lined room full of leather, stuffed animals, and cigar smoke plotting how to increase our profits by increasing crime. We are the people! We are the 80 to 90 million people in this country who own guns and the tens of millions more who do not own guns, but fully support our right to do so.
Unlike the anti-rights groups like the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign, we do not get the bulk of our money from wealthy do-gooder endowments like the Joyce Foundation or wealthy individuals like Mike Bloomberg. I am the Gun Lobby and I get my money by working for it in factories, on construction sites, in small businesses, stores, shops, farms and ranches. I pull the money I use to support or oppose candidates and to pay my professional advocates, not from tax dollars or union dues, but from my own back pocket.
Unlike my opponents, I do not derive my power from friends in the media or from minions in state and federal offices. I derive my power from the volunteers I can muster and the votes I can deliver. I want little from politicians — mostly to be left in peace. If a politician disturbs my peace, I will do my best to fire them and hire someone else to do the job. That’s not bullying, or threatening, or undue influence, that’s the American ideal as expressed in the First Amendment — Americans expressing their will and support for the Constitution with our individual votes.
Unlike the Bradys and Bloombergs who advocate for regulation, limits, bans, and government controls over law-abiding citizens, I do not advocate government making any decision for any responsible individual. I do not advocate the arming of teachers or the arming of students, or the arming of anyone. Instead I oppose their being forcibly disarmed, and defend the right of all responsible people to make their own choices. I do not assume that thoughtful, responsible people will become heartless killers or mindless idiots because a gun is present. I reject the notion that “the trigger pulls the finger,” as some of my opponents have suggested. I trust responsible adult citizens to be responsible adults, and that trust has been proven consistently everywhere it has been given. I reject the idea that a sign on a wall or a policy in an employee handbook can, will, or ever has stopped someone intent on murder and mayhem from carrying out their criminal acts. To the contrary, I believe that such acts can and have been prevented and curtailed by responsible citizens who had the means and were willing to place themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others. I believe that it is wrong to disarm such people based on their job or where they happen to be.
I am the Gun Lobby. I am deeply rooted in the ideals and principles of this great nation. I am a true American and a true grass roots movement, not like the externally funded, AstroTurf organizations that oppose me. Certainly there are honorable and committed individuals who truly believe that guns are the problem, that guns cause crime and that giving the State a monopoly on violence is the key to establishing a peaceful and safe society. I know that those people are wrong.
I am many, diverse, and have varying levels of knowledge and understanding, but I am unified by a single individual truth: that no one has the right to make me helpless in the face of violence to myself, my family, my community, or my country.
Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit and link is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Knox Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 1761, Buckeye, AZ 85326.
Copyright © 2011 Neal Knox Associates – The most trusted name in the rights movement.
What he said.