NRA: Gun Control Backfired on Advocates

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Regardless of how you, personally, may feel about the NRA, the truth is that we’re all on the same side. None of us want gun control and we want to see our gun rights expanded.


“Restored” would probably be a better word, of course, but we all get the point. We want fewer restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms.

And 2023 was actually a good year for gun rights in many ways.


Why was it that we made such significant ground in so many states despite the full-court press against such actions by the anti-gun side?

According to NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre, it was because anti-gun efforts backfired.

In 2023, the U.S. saw a significant increase in permitless carry laws, leading to 27 states adopting constitutional carry laws.

This allows legal residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

As a result, the number of Americans with concealed carry permits slightly decreased, with more people legally carrying firearms.

The NRA and its allies have been actively advocating for constitutional carry legislation, aiming to make it the “law of the land.”

This shift has also led to changes in the demographics of permit holders, with more permits being issued in minority and low-income areas.

“The gun control lobby and their allies pledged to dismantle self-defense laws and the Second Amendment. That strategy has backfired,” NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre said.

“In 2021, there were 16 states with NRA Constitutional Carry. Just three years later, there are 27 states.”


LaPierre doesn’t go into just how their efforts backfired, but we can probably guess.

First, there was the talk about how awful crime is as a justification to restrict the right to keep and bear arms. This is a typical talking point, but it’s also the one most likely to create such a backfire.

When people get scared, regardless of where they stand on the issue of guns, they have a tendency to want to arm themselves for protection. Even if they don’t know how to use a firearm, they’ll feel better with it in the house.

So by ramping up the rhetoric about violent crime, the stage was likely set to hand the NRA and other gun rights organizations a huge win in 2023.

Further, anti-gun groups have spent years laying down a series of arguments that simply don’t match up to reality. They claim there’s a gun show loophole or that you can just buy a gun off the internet, thus creating all these problems, but when people worried about violent crime try to do these things, they find out that’s not how it works.

They buy from a dealer at a gun show and suddenly have to undergo a background check. They try to buy online and are told they need to provide an FFL holder’s information so they can lawfully ship the gun.


Finding out they’ve been lied to may lead many to realize that for all the ways the NRA has been demonized, the truth is that guns are already heavily regulated to try and prevent them from ending up in the wrong hands. Yet they continue to do so and all the laws in the world only keep law-abiding folks from getting them.

So, they start supporting things like constitutional carry because they’re starting to recognize the truth, that gun control doesn’t stop criminals, just the people who don’t represent a problem in the first place.

Either way, we came out ahead last year and we need to keep doing it for decades to come.

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