How to get back on track in the gun culture war

How to get back on track in the gun culture war
AP Photo/Michael Hill

Things don’t feel particularly great these days. We have a media that is aligned completely and totally against us, unwilling to present anything that might have a whiff of being pro-gun. We have a president dedicated to dismantling the Second Amendment and, in time, the gun culture that helped build this nation.


But should we be?

Well, there are certainly grounds for concern. Yet Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit himself, took to the pages of America’s 1st Freedom to talk about why we can still win.

Reynolds should be an anti-gun liberal. He’s the son of a professor who then spent a whole lot of time in academia. He really should be.

Yet he’s not.

And what he has to say is pretty important. It’s a long piece, but I’m going to share some relevant parts.

The second lesson is the power of old men. I was a professor’s kid, and thus probably should have turned out as an anti-gun liberal. That I didn’t is because other people, mostly old men, cared. My grandfather cared, of course, and worked to help me understand both guns and the Constitution. And those World War II veterans who got up from their dinner tables after a day at work and went off to teach a bunch of teenagers about guns and shooting and the Second Amendment cared. And that made a difference, to me and to the other kids.

It’s tempting now to think that we’ve won in the Supreme Court and can relax. But no condition is permanent, especially when it depends on the votes of five justices. Culture is upstream of politics. You win a culture war by changing the culture. You keep a culture-war victory by defending and expanding that culture.

Despite all the victories, it’s still harder for a teenager to learn how to shoot and how to handle guns safely than it once was. Going forward, the NRA needs to be ever-vigilant in its continued efforts to spread the knowledge of guns, gun safety and shooting skills—plus knowledge of the Constitution—among young people and among adults who don’t have these skills.


Reynolds goes on to note the NRA instructor program, which is basically the modern-day incarnation of those old men who taught a bunch of snot-nosed kids how to shoot and what the Second Amendment really meant.

And that’s a very good thing.

Look, I’m critical of where the NRA’s priorities are, but Reynolds is right about the impact of “old men” teaching the next generation of shooters and that the NRA is at least one source for them.

It’s not as easy as it used to be to find those old men, but it shouldn’t be. The gun culture is still alive and thriving. There are more guns than people in this country, and while that doesn’t mean everyone has a firearm, it means the necessary passion still exists.

We need to put guns in people’s hands at a young enough age that they realize that guns aren’t talismans but are tools for taking game or defending yourself. They need to learn about the Second Amendment and what it really means, not the version pushed by the media and schools.

The gun culture we all know and love is the answer. We just need to become those old men.


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