The National Rifle Association has been around since 1871, and since then, they have promised to be champions of the second amendment. And, to be perfectly honest, they have done just that. It is very well known that they are currently one of the biggest contributors to the preservation of second amendment rights and this is something I acknowledge and almost respect. I am actually a firm believer in the second amendment and think that it is an underappreciated right that more groups should exercise, particularly those on the left. Despite this, I believe that the NRA is one of the worst, most corrupt, immoral organizations to currently operate inside the United States.
Like I previously said, I agree with the NRA’s mission statement. I believe the second amendment should be protected more carefully and exercised more often. My problem is actually with the NRA’s choice of tactics and strategies they use to accomplish their goals. Time after time, they have used fear-mongering tactics to garner support from those ignorant enough to take them seriously, something that has contributed greatly to the currently divided state of the United States. For instance, in a tweet sent out on September 25th, 2020, the NRA referred to the Democratic presidential nominee and his supposed stance on gun control, stating that “Joe [Biden] wants to make it impossible for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families.” This is simply not true. It is a blatant lie that is clearly meant to evoke an emotional response from anybody that believes in the right to bear arms. The narrative that Democrats are viciously attacking the second amendment and anybody who stands for it is extremely dangerous rhetoric because it has the potential to lead to violence.
We have already seen something similar to this happen before. On August 3rd, 2019, Patrick Crusius shot and killed 23 people and injured 23 others in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. After the incident, the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered the shooter’s manifesto. This manifesto echoed, almost word for word, some of President Trump’s rhetoric used in his 2016 campaign. The manifesto described the growing Hispanic population in the United States as an “invasion,” a word often used by Trump to describe illegal immigration. Even though the shooter did not directly cite Trump as an inspiration, it is well known that his campaign brought polarizing rhetorics back into the mainstream media. Who is to say that a similar situation will not happen concerning gun rights? With the NRA and other right-winged organizations using demonizing and fear-mongering tactics, it can only be a matter of time until a self-proclaimed “patriot” attacks those who are supposedly attacking their right to defend themselves.
On top of all of this, it is also important to acknowledge that the NRA has not always used their influence to fight for the second amendment. As a matter of fact, in the 1960s the NRA openly supported gun control. Why? Because the Black Panthers began to exercise their right to carry arms. The Black Panthers were a militant black nationalist group that believed that they needed to protect themselves from an oppressive and corrupt government by using the second amendment for the very reason it was created. Instead of defending them and their right to bear arms, the NRA supported the Mulford Act, a bill that prohibited anybody outside of law enforcement from open carrying in the state of California. In my opinion, this move by the NRA solidified them as one of the most hypocritical and oppressive organizations in the history of the United States. The entire point of the second amendment is to allow oppressed groups to have the ability to stand up against those attacking their rights. The Black Panthers were doing just that. The only difference between them and every other militia defended by the NRA was their skin color.
If there is anything that can be taken away from these facts, it is that there is a desperate need for a better and more just gun rights organization. If the NRA continues to operate the way they have been, not only will there be inevitable violence, but the second amendment itself will be at risk to disappear for many Americans, especially those who are not in line with the government.