Recently, an outdoor writer named Wes Siler penned an op-ed where he called for hunters to leave the National Rifle Association. The op-ed has stirred up some controversy.
Siler sat down with S.H. Blannelbery of Guns America for an interview to clarify his comments. Allow me to preface this by saying it doesn’t make him more tolerable.
S.H. Blannelberry: Before we get to your “controversial” article, for lack of a better word, entitled, “It’s Time for Hunters to Leave the NRA,” I think what a lot of people will want to know is where do you stand on the 2A? More specifically, do you support bans on commonly owned and widely popular modern sporting rifles? Do you own AR-15s? Do you support any gun control laws?
Wes Siler: I own an AR in 5.56 right now, and will probably build another one in a larger caliber this winter. I’ll also get a CCW permit (and a P365) for the first time later this year, now that I don’t live in California anymore. I believe that the Second Amendment was written to enable the individual to defend himself against a tyrannical government, foreign invasion, and from smaller threats, and do not support bans on any type of weapon or feature for that reason.
Having said that, gun control laws are inevitable, and ultimately are something that even the staunchest 2A supporters ultimately agree on at some level. It’s probably not a good idea to keep a bucket of hand grenades in the trunk of your car, for instance. And even Ted Nugent doesn’t want anyone but security carrying inside one of his concerts. Discussing ways in which we can work to make all of us safer (call it working towards a more perfect union) is something that the people who are invested in the gun industry, and who actually know a thing or two about guns, should be involved in. I see the gun world’s utter refusal to participate in any gun control legislation at all as an abdication of duty on their part. These regulations are going to get passed, and would heavily benefit from the input of experts if they’re actually going to be effective at preventing crime, rather than just burdening us lawful and responsible gun owners. If we continue to sit out this conversation, it will continue to take place without us.
S.H. Blannelberry: Okay, let’s talk about the article. You’re calling for hunters to leave the National Rifle Association because the NRA has evolved over the years from a marksmanship/gun safety organization to a fear-mongering political animal primarily doing the bidding of corporate interests (I’m paraphrasing your position, to be clear). While there’s little doubt that today’s NRA isn’t our daddy’s NRA, couldn’t I argue that the gun lobby, though imperfect, is still the best, most-effective organization when it comes to protecting our right to keep and bear arms?
Wes Siler: You paraphrase that excellently. As a patriot, I can’t look at one of Dana Loesch’s thinly veiled calls for violence in response to a political disagreement and not be angered and saddened. The rich, and corporations have successfully driven a wedge between the American people, and we should all be working towards unity, rather than falling for the con. Ultimately, our interests are all aligned. We want economic opportunity, freedom, and happiness. Painting that red or blue doesn’t change what those things are. Any organization or individual who attempts to manipulate you and I with fear and lies is nothing but our enemy.
My take? Siler is one of those who likes guns well enough but doesn’t care enough about the Second Amendment to want to defend it. If he did, he’d understand that while the talk is round capacity today, it’ll be something else tomorrow.
In countries with strict gun control but still some civilian access, we’re already seeing their brand of gun grabbers calling for more. Just look at Toronto right now. This is what happens. It’s never enough.
So the NRA drew a line in the sand–one that many of us gun owners demanded, I might add–and generally refuse to budge from it. Look at the ire directed its way when it was willing to sell out bump stocks, for crying out loud.
You see, while many NRA members hunt, many of those also recognize the role the Second Amendment plays in general.
Siler is the epitome of a Fudd. Yes, he claims he has an AR-15 and will build another one and yes, he’s talking about getting a concealed carry permit, but to me, that’s smoke and mirrors. That’s an attempt at deflecting away from the fact of what the Second Amendment means and stands for and how, historically, gun control doesn’t end until civilians are completely disarmed. So long as he gets to keep hunting, he’ll take whatever the anti-gunners want to shovel.
I’d say it was sad, but it’s to be expected. The Fudds ye will have with ye always.
The problem is, they then become the face of “responsible” gun ownership for the anti-gunners. It’s not that they don’t agree with us over magazine capacity–something Siler mentions standing with the anti-gunners on later in the interview–but that they then undermine pro-gun arguments in general. They don’t get that everything they advocate for with the anti-gunners today will be turned against their guns tomorrow.
Today, the focus is “assault rifles.”
Tomorrow, if the gun grabbers get their way, it’ll be “sniper rifles” or something similar. It will never end unless we refuse to budge.
What Siler wants is for that line to stop just short of his preferred weapon, and he doesn’t understand that by then, the momentum may be unstoppable. That’s why Fudds are dangerous. Not because they’re clueless or work against their fellow gun owners, but because their cluelessness may well destroy the Second Amendment forever.