In their continuing effort to stigmatize gun owners, one of the first things anti-gunners have to do is divide us. After all, we’re a pretty sizeable percentage of the population. With 300 million+ guns in a country of just over 330 million people, it’s safe to say there are a lot of gun owners. Yes, many of us own more than one gun, but it’s not like five guys in a Dodge Durango own all 300 million firearms.
True to form, at least one liberal is trying to paint the NRA and hunters as natural enemies.
The best thing for hunters would be the erosion of the National Rifle Association’s clout, which suddenly looks possible amid widespread protests calling for new gun laws.
This past fall, I needed a specific tool for my muzzleloader and blackpowder season was a few days out. My friend and I were running errands and finding said tool became a bit of an odyssey. We stopped at no less than four gun shops before giving up.
Throughout our tour, my friend — who doesn’t hunt but isn’t opposed to firearms — grew increasingly uncomfortable with the aggressive messaging that targeted people like us.
Through signs, clothing, stickers and even conversations at the counter, the message was hostile and clear. There are two types of citizens: “Real Americans,” who are all-in with NRA scripture. And then there’s the rest of society, the enemy.
We were the latter, among the solid majority that, polls show, favor stricter gun laws.
The precipitous decline in hunters poses a very real issue for all of society as conservation funds dry up. It’s no coincidence that the public face of NRA shifted from your kindly hunting instructor to something much more menacing as the number of hunters dropped nationwide. Like any organization, the NRA’s primary goal is the promulgation of its own existence. And the growing economic frustration particularly among rural Americans was begging to be tapped.
The NRA no longer speaks for hunters. But it also dictates the terms within which the very tools of hunting are debated.
I can’t speak definitively about the NRA’s supposed shift, mostly because I have only faint recollections of it.
However, anyone who thinks hunters would benefit from the demise of the NRA is deluded. The reality is that attempts to divide hunters from the rest of the gun owning crowd is tactical, even if some of the people doing it don’t realize it.
You see, hunting is a pastime that most Americans are fine with. Only a handful of animal rights activists oppose it, and most people understand that you need a gun to hunt.
By telling hunters repeatedly that they’re not the target of gun control efforts, they seek to drive a wedge in between hunters and the rest of us. They want to cut them out of our number because they know that if they can exclude hunters, stigmatizing gun owners is that much easier. You see, you’ll never successfully stigmatize all of us at one time.
Right now, the effort is to push for the AR-15 owners to be outcasts. They want us excluded, pushed away into the fringes of society. There are, at least in their mind, fewer AR-15 owners than hunters. Next, it will be something else. My guess is that it will be an assault on concealed carry, since that group also counts for a smaller percentage of the population than hunters.
Through it all, the hunters who buy into this will sit there all happy. They’ll rest easy knowing they’re the “good” kind of gun owners…until it happens.
One day, someone without access to handguns or modern sporting rifles will decide it’s time to shoot up the town. They’ll now be forced to go old school and follow the lead of Charles Whitman.
If you don’t recall the name, Charles Whitman is the man who gunned down 17 people including a pregnant woman and injured 31 others, making it the third worst school massacre in American history, surpassing Parkland primarily due to the larger number of people injured. Whitman conducted his attack with an assortment of weapons, most of which were old bolt-action rifles.
Pretty much his entire arsenal would have passed the current assault weapon ban being considered in Congress.
Someday, if the anti-gunners get their way before then, someone is going to conduct a similar attack. They’ll kill a lot of people, and a populace already used to giving up rights they don’t exercise will concede that hunting rifles have to go too. They’ll be called something else, something like “sniper rifle” due to the deadly attack, and suddenly hunters will find themselves in our shoes.
That is, unless these hunters who are buying into this wise up.
Yes, the NRA doesn’t sit around and talk about hunting as much these days. That’s because there are other things at stake, possibly more important things. I say that as a hunter myself. If we don’t hold the line, it’s only a matter of time before we’re left with nothing worth having. The Second Amendment will be as eroded as the Tenth.
So no, the death of the NRA wouldn’t be a benefit to hunters. It’ll be a detriment to each and every gun owner in the country, even if they don’t agree with the NRA much of the time.