The NRA has a big problem that it needs to fix and fix quickly if it wants to remain an advocate for gun rights in this country. It is increasingly beholden to the ideology of a radical and marginalized fringe population. This group is typified by its love of violence, its “us against them” combativeness, and a desire to reclaim “their” America.
Las Vegas’ the Millers should be a devastating reminder to the NRA leadership that continuing to escalate its rhetoric about government encroachment on rights and the stripping away of liberties only serves to baselessly foment the fervor of its constituency. Unfortunately, politicians and lobbyists like the NRA know that this fervor and fear eventually amounts to support for them.
It has been long known that individuals become more politically and socially active when they are worried about facing a threat, whether real or perceived. This can help explain the rapidly increasing number of people obtaining concealed carry permits. Claiming that every single revision of the process of buying a firearm is a direct offense to the Second Amendment does nothing but make people afraid that a day is coming when they will not be able to buy a gun, so they better buy now.
The demographic of fearful gun owners is lucrative for the NRA and the gun industry. Scared people buy guns. Scared people vote. They buy the lies the NRA tries to feed about the degrading state of gun ownership and the disappearance of gun rights. All of this translates to increased membership and increased sales for the NRA, but that’s bound to change.
Increasingly people are aware that the NRA is a haven for fringe thinkers and dangerous types. If the association doesn’t do more to distance itself from those sentiments and to bring sanity into the conversations it is having with its members, it will find fewer and fewer people dare to be associated with it.
Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.