Lawmakers can do some sneaky stuff. That seems to be what one had in mind when they tried to organize an anti-gun event at a local gun range. Unfortunately for the official, the event was open to the public and the public got wind of what was happening.

Instead of the anti-gun opportunity she hoped for, what she got was a pro-gun rally that turned her into a rhetorical pinata.

It seems the National Rifle Association was quite proud of that and opted to spotlight one of the minds behind that.

At a townhall meeting in Michigan this month, Congresswoman Haley Stevens appeared to lose control when the NRA came up and began emotionally screaming, “The NRA has got to go! The NRA has got to go!” The audience was filled with pro-2A Michiganders. Justin Nazaroff, an NRA Life- and Business Alliance Member, was among them. He defended gun owners in a hard-hitting TV interview afterwards.  

Q. Why would you, as a gun rights supporter, attend a gun control forum? 

A. It was actually held at a local gun club and I think the congresswoman was hoping to pack the room with her gun control allies, invite the TV cameras in, and then claim that the “gun club” audience was friendly to her gun control schemes. When I got wind of it, I got on social media and told everyone I could about it and asked them to show up. We must be willing to engage the other side on their turf. Many of these people have never met an actual gun owner. I like to believe that if we meet and talk with them, we might be able to change their minds on gun control. We cannot allow them to dominate the conversation.

Q. Is there anything you did to prepare to go into a hostile setting like that?

A. Absolutely! It’s critical that we show up prepared with questions and facts to back up our case. I wrote down my questions and got the latest crime stats from the FBI’s website. The other side is always saying “look at the science” when it comes to their issues, but they refuse to look at the science when it comes to our issue. The facts are on our side. We can’t just stay in the comfort of our bubble or we’ll miss opportunities to debate these people.
Nazaroff is absolutely right. Anyone who can, should try and be prepared to step into these kinds of debates. Also, rally the troops and bring ’em in to have your back. Personally, I think it helps to know you’re not alone if nothing else. The best-case scenario is what happened here, an anti-gun witchhunt becomes a pro-gun rally.

Yes, that still tickles me to no end. It probably will for a good long time, too, which I’m fine with.

More importantly, though, folks in that neck of the woods know damn good and well that their neighbors support the right to keep and bear arms. That matters. It’s easy for people on both sides to find themselves buying into the idea that the balance is tipped so far in one direction that there’s not really any hope.

That’s not the case and now they know for sure.

Let’s hope it happens a lot more often so everyone knows.