A couple of essays broke today on joining the NRA in spite of reservations, one featured at InstaPundit and the other at Hot Air. The upshot of both are that the NRA is not really the premiere gun rights organization in America today. It has in the past endorsed gun control laws in order to appear reasonable, and it has in the past accepted compromise positions that furthered some of our interests at the expense of others. That may be a virtue or a vice depending on how you see American politics, both in general and at this specific moment.
What actually annoys me more than the compromises is the propaganda they run in their magazines. Even on years when it is clear that there are no dangers to gun rights, the NRA's magazines always read like the next Great War is on the horizon. This is for fundraising purposes. I generally maintain membership with them only in years when there really is a danger because it is difficult for me to respect an organization that is not completely honest with its membership.
In terms of better organizations, the Second Amendment Foundation is mentioned prominently for its role in Heller and other court cases that have advanced the ball on forcing the government to recognize the Second Amendment. I wish fervently we could do as much for the Tenth Amendment -- it would be a great start if the government at least admitted it was really in the Constitution and really ought to be binding in some way or other.
Another organization I like is the Gun Owners of America, which insists on a no-compromise position.
All the same, the NRA is about to take it on the chin in the next election cycle. The Obama administration has pledged to make gun control a top issue in his final(!) year in office. Hillary Clinton -- and other Democrats on stage at the first debate -- named the NRA as an "enemy." Whether or not they're the best, it's going to make a huge difference whether or not they can show increasing support as a consequence of this push.
So, today, I signed back up with the National Rifle Association. I want them to be able to point to big increases in membership as the main consequence of the Democratic Party's return to gun control as an issue. We need to keep teaching this lesson until they give up on it. Gun rights are not going anywhere. We will not surrender our liberty for the false promises of government-granted security. The government couldn't keep those promises even if it were wholly serious about them. To be able to do much more than it does it would have to override our rights to privacy and independence.
Even then, it simply can't keep you safe. Just because criminals and terrorists choose their victims carefully, the police will not be there when you need them. Not because they don't want to be -- I think mostly they fervently wish they could be. It's probably why they joined the force. But they can't be. They can only come when they're called, and then it will take as long as it takes.
Finally, a government that truly obtains a monopoly on arms has subjugated its population. No free nation can accept that status. We must never put ourselves in the position in which the government can do whatever it wants to us, and only refrains if it wants to refrain. One person or a small group cannot defend themselves against the government, which is good because it enables the government to keep the peace. Nevertheless, it is in the interest of justice that any government should have to fear mistreating a plurality or majority of its citizens. It is the best thing for everyone if those elected to office know that they will be held responsible for their actions by a people that is ultimately stronger than they are.
It is time to teach that lesson again. They think they want to pick this argument up again. Let's remind them why they'd rather not.