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President's Column

By David A. Keene, President

You Are The NRA And Your Membership Matters

The Obama/Bloomberg war on guns continues, but those who are so anxious to restrict or obliterate our Second Amendment rights are beginning to realize that most Americans don’t share their hatred of firearms and disdain for the Bill of Rights.

The tens of thousands of Second Amendment supporters who have shown up at rallies in New York, Colorado, Illinois, Delaware and dozens of other states are having an impact on our elected officials. So, too, are the thousands of men and women who are calling Washington and their state capitols to let our elected officials know that a vote to gut the Second Amendment could be a career ender come the next election and that gun owners stand with their friends.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with an NRA-friendly congressman who told me that he had already received more than 5,000 calls from voters in his district urging him to oppose the various bills making their way through Congress. “I always receive an ‘A’ rating from you guys,” he said, “and my constituents know that, but they’re reminding me that they are more interested in what I will do today and tomorrow than what I did yesterday.” He went on to say he could only wonder at the pressure on colleagues who can’t always be counted on. “Gun owners,” he concluded, “are doing an awesome job and need to keep it up.”

I told him that we will. Many of the most extreme proposals that folks like Sens. Feinstein and Schumer thought would sail through the Congress a couple of months ago are already in trouble as the narrative they and the president concocted about you and the NRA has been undermined by gun owners, who are demonstrating once again that the Second Amendment matters and that they will, as in the past, step up to the plate to protect their rights.

Think about that narrative. Mayor Bloomberg and others began by assuring elected officials that the NRA no longer really matters; that we have morphed into little more than a shill for gun manufacturers and can no longer claim to speak for the men and women we represent. More than one television “talking head” has charged that we are financed by the firearm industry and take our orders from industry heads.

The charge is absurd, of course, but they were hoping that by repeating it and citing bogus polls of “NRA members” they could convince elected officials that they no longer had to worry about the attitudes of gun owners or the NRA. Once we polled our actual members and released the figures, and began pointing out that we get only about 4 percent of our funds from firearm manufacturers, that narrative began to crumble. But what really exposed that lie has been the overwhelming support for Second Amendment rights represented by the folks turning out to rallies around the country, joining the NRA and contacting elected officials to let them know just how they feel.

This war on guns and against our rights will continue but they now know none of us are going to roll over, go away or stand by as our rights are taken from us. As Wayne LaPierre and I travel around the country, we are meeting with hundreds of NRA members and Second Amendment supporters who know just how important their active involvement in this struggle will be to the eventual outcome. I am even more convinced that in the end, the common sense of the American people, the fact that we are right, and the fact that Second Amendment supporters from one end of the country to the other are standing and fighting will trump the efforts of an ideologically driven president, a bombastic vice president and Michael Bloomberg’s billions to gut the Second Amendment.

We will win this war and, in its aftermath, we will join together to elect principled men and women who believe in the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution and who will work tirelessly by our side to protect and extend the rights of all Americans under the Second Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights.