Why the NRA Annual Meeting was a no-win situation

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

As I write this, the NRA Annual Meeting is underway in Houston, TX just days after the deadly shooting in Uvalde. For many, this is a horrible act that simply should not be allowed to stand. As Cam noted earlier this week, many left-leaning groups are threatening to protest and to “shut it down.”

The thing is, the NRA was kind of in a no-win situation.

You see, the organization wasn’t looking at a choice between good and bad press, but simply what flavor of bad press they wanted.

Now, first, you have to understand that the annual meeting had to happen, at least to some degree. The organization’s bylaws require certain meetings and elections to be held. So the idea of there being no meeting at all just wasn’t on the table.

But that meant scaling down the meeting like they did in 1999 or pushing through as they did this year.

Clearly, we know the NRA’s decision.

What people need to know is that, ultimately, it was the right one.

As of right now, yes, they’re facing protests and yes, they’re facing bad press. So what? What’s going to happen to them? Will the New York attorney general declare a personal jihad against them and try to dissolve the organization?

They’ve already faced that and weathered the store.

The bad press the group is getting is substantial, I’m sure, but where is it from? It’s not us writing about how evil they are, now are we? Neither is literally any other Second Amendment site out there. While many have criticisms of the group, none of them are about the annual meeting taking place.

Instead, they’re being blasted by people who already hated them. They’re getting negative press from the kinds of places that will never give them positive coverage, even if lives depended on it.

So why should they have capitulated and scaled thing back?

Especially when there’s no reason to believe the press would be any better? Rather than being told they’re awful for having the meeting–a meeting planned at least a year in advance–they’d be looking at coverage suggesting that they knew damn good and well they were responsible for what happened in Uvalde and that’s why they scaled the meeting back.

It would be taken as a signal that the NRA knew it was in the wrong.

Further, they’d alienate a gun-owning community that’s already critical of them in a number of ways. They’d still get bad press, but it would be from publications blasting them for canceling the event.

You know, the kinds of places that potential NRA members are likely to be found.

The NRA had a choice. Alienate the people they rely on to appease the people who will hate them no matter what, or keep doing what they were planning to do and face the wrath of people who were going to blast them anyway?

It’s not really a difficult choice, now is it?

In fact, while they were going to get negative press either way, this was enough of a no-brainer that you can’t really consider it a no-win situation, can you?