Just a little less than a year ago, the Chicago Tribune wrote this editorial:
The recent deadly shooting at an Oregon community college, like so many before it, isn’t likely to lead to new federal laws designed to curb dangerous people’s access to guns. While this understandably frustrates supporters of gun safety legislation, there is reason for them to be hopeful. The National Rifle Association’s days of being a political powerhouse may be numbered.
Why? The answer is in the numbers.
Support for, and opposition to, gun control is closely associated with several demographic characteristics, including race, level of education and whether one lives in a city. Nearly all are trending forcefully against the NRA.
The core of the NRA’s support comes from white, rural and relatively less educated voters. This demographic is currently influential in politics but clearly on the wane. While the decline of white, rural, less educated Americans is generally well known, less often recognized is what this means for gun legislation.
Yesterday, this editorial appeared in the Tribune:
The group has been racking up victories in conservative states that have adopted wholesale the movement creed that guns on campus, in bars, at church, in cars — guns everywhere — constitutes both a rational public policy and an extension of liberty.
Still, it’s more than likely that, for the NRA, it’s downhill from here. In fact, some of the organization’s strengths may prove to be its undoing.
Having abandoned even a pretense of bipartisanship, the NRA benefits from a conservative network of allies, including the religious right. But it has completely forfeited influence with Democrats, who have concluded that they have nothing to lose in becoming a party fully devoted to gun regulation. With the GOP publicly unraveling, congressional Democrats appear poised to grow stronger. That’s not good for the NRA.
It’s not like the NRA stopped supporting Democrats that support our Second Amendment rights. But at the national level, pro-rights Democrats have pretty much gone the way of the Dodo Bird. Look at what they did to Bernie Sanders (no “A” rated candidate) for having taken the common sense approach that firearm manufacturers should not be sued out of business when a criminal uses a firearm in a crime. That’s kind of like suing Ford when a drunk driver kills someone while driving drunk in an F-150. Ford had no control over that. Neither does Remington or Smith and Wesson have control over a criminal getting their hands on a firearm and using it to kill someone.
The Tribune has a point when it talks about changing demographics. The NRA is making efforts to address that with folks like Colion Noir, Chris Cheng, Antonia Okafor and Gabby Franco as NRANews Commentators or in outreach ads. Noir and Okafor are Black, Cheng is Asian and gay, and Franco is a Latino immigrant. One can argue as to whether the out reach is successful but the organization did recognize it needed to put forward others than just the stereotypical “old white guy” and it continues to expand the list of folks appearing in those efforts.
It is not good for our rights when only one party supports them because at some point, the one that is with you will start taking your for granted. But the NRA and it’s members are not going to support candidates who do not stand for our freedom. What is needed is to bring those individuals from groups like blacks, Asians, Latinos, and others who do own firearms into the fold and get them understand why they need to be NRA members and support candidates who support their right to own firearms. It is up to us who know those people to make those efforts, not just the folks at NRA HQ.