At the ASA (Academics for the Second Amendment) conference, there was a lot
of discussion on how to reach the segment of the population that is not
committed to an anti-gun ideology. Those folks in the middle whose support we
desperately need. Some surveys have been done which are backed up by the
experience of some of the participants at the conference. Here are some of the
conclusions which you will probably not like.
1. Although most people kinda feel like the Second Amendment does guarantee
what it says it does, they don't really care that much about it. Unless someone
can show them how it makes their daily lives better, they are willing to let it
fall into the "dustbin of history".
2. Very few people buy our arguments that gun ownership can prevent tyranny
or genocide. In fact, each time we say that, many people tune us out thinking
that we are crazy extremists. I guess they just aren't capable of seeing the big
picture or taking an interest in something that does not affect their lives in
the immediate future. How many people really paid attention in history class?
Also, the question of increasing government control of our lives is not one
that keeps most people awake at night. We should probably just shut up about
these issues and concentrate on what works.
3. The primary issue that reliably generates support is the question of the
right to self defense. Americans really believe that we have that right and we
need to use that argument over and over in our writings. One other thing that
works is pointing out the lies and distortions of the anti-gunners. Most people
don't like it when they figure out that they have been lied to, but they need to
hear the truth from people that they do not think of as extremists who need to
be filtered out.
4. Don't count on the Supreme Court, or any other court, to preserve our gun
rights. From what the attorneys in the group told us, Judges as a group are
elitist snobs who don't think that ordinary citizens should have guns. This is
why good defense lawyers never use the Second Amendment as a defense. They know
that most judges hate it. Only unskilled, low paid, public defenders ever
mention the 2A as a defense, which helps explain why those cases are always
poorly argued and they always loose.
5. Law students learn almost nothing about the Second Amendment in law school
except perhaps that it refers to a right of the states. That imprint permeates
our entire "judicial culture". Maybe this will change since the flood
of pro 2A law review articles has come out in the last decade, but it will take
a few more decades for those to have much influence.
Shut up about tyranny, genocide and the 2A.
Don't count on the courts.
Keep writing about the right to self defense and disproving the lies of the
anti-gunners. Repetition is good. Hammer those points home again and again.
Dr. Michael Brown is an optometrist who moderates an email list for
discussion of gun issues in Washington state. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or through his web site at: http://www.geocities.com/rkba2000.
Several of Dr. Brown's articles are also hosted on this web site, by clicking here.