The 2020 election is less than nine months away. We just saw in Virginia what happens when gun owners fail to show up at the polls. The Democrats took control of that state, and despite the tens of thousands who showed up to support gun rights, the left wingers are busy passing restrictive gun laws as I write this. The lesson is clear.
If you don't register to vote, and then if you don't vote, we lose. We lose BIG.
Let me be blunt here. This election is different for two disturbing reasons.
1. Michael Bloomberg has promised to put (through his gun control groups) at least $60 million into electing candidates who follow his gun-ban thinking. That's twice what he has ever spent on a national election. Of course, this isn't counting what he's spending on his own bid for the nomination. That's huge money that has historically be able to buy many elections. A candidate for Congress can surge ahead on the kind of advertising this money puts in his or her lap.
2. The NRA has been badly crippled. Some reports say the NRA put $30 million into the 2016 election. Through a series of bone-headed moves, waste, a complicit board, and leadership which appears from this seat to have feathered their own nests to the detriment of the membership over the last two decades, OUR National Rifle Association is a pale shadow of its former self. It's way too late to fix it in time for the election in November. Sure, they will be involved on some level, but its impact will be but an echo of what it has done in the past.
The anti-gun forces know this. They are high-fiving each other as they gaze on the results of the hubris and greed which renders the organization barely recognizable.
Further, I suspect that the rapid downward spiral in Fairfax will worsen over the next few months.
Therefore, we fight, or we lose. It really is that simple. "We" means each of us. Not some foggy collective "Why don't THEY do something about that?" group where you cede responsibility for protecting not only gun rights, but freedom, itself.
From now on, as it always has, "we" means YOU. It means ME. There is no "they."
For 25 years on the radio, when a caller asked, "Why didn't the NRA do something about this?"I responded, "Where were you? What did you do?"
I think gun owners are waking to the reality that we each must show up, stand up, and speak up. In Richmond, Virginia, tens of thousands did. And they are changing, somewhat, just how bad these laws are which will be passed. ("Elections have consequences."
This is not just noise, or scare tactics. We will lose more gun rights if we don't show up in big numbers. Many states are passing the gun confiscation laws they label "Red Flag" laws. Many are passing the "no private gun sales or gifts" laws they label "Universal Background Checks." How can they do this? We didn't show up. At the polls. At town meetings. At the offices of elected officials. At committee meetings in the legislature (where the important work is done). On TV. On social media.
How do you fight sixty million dollars? You fight that with sixty million people.
That's 60,000,000 of you, and it's 60,000,000 of me. It's millions of us not saying "Someone else can do it. I have a job. Those people are being paid to be there."
It's win or lose. There is nothing else. Any excuse is just an excuse.
"But what can I do, Tom?"
Glad you asked.
We need 20 in 2020.
1. COMMIT. Without this, nothing matters. We need 20 minutes a day. If you will give your country 20 minutes a day, I'll tell you what to do with it so that we can win.
2. Get informed. JOIN your state gun rights groups. More than one, if you have them. Also, look on Facebook and Instagram (spare me the "I don't use those things" noise. That's where things are happening. COMMIT!) for groups about the Second Amendment in your state. A few minutes using the search function will find several. Why do this? To get and stay informed.
3. Read. Go online for at least 10 minutes a day to find out what's going on. Absolutely follow me on Twitter, because I share links to important stories. You can't show up anywhere if you don't know there's an event happening. Take an active role in your education and your activism.
4. Get a 2A buddy. Critical! Find someone who will commit with you. This is like having a buddy for your workout routine. You feed off each other, and you don't want to be seen as slacking off. Push each other. Build on that with others.
5. Give a little money. Honestly, it doesn't matter if it's only $25. Donate to your state Republican party. Talk about being informed! They'll start sending you info (and begging for dollars, of course), but you'll be connected. Donate to your state gun rights group. Donate to a national gun rights group. And definitely donate to an individual candidate.
6. STFU! No. Not shut up. SHOW UP! You and your 2A buddy need to try to hit as many events as you can.
7. This is where we win. Get gun owners registered to vote, and then get them to the polls. I heard a few years ago that half the NRA members were not registered to vote. That's stunning. Every gun club, shooting range, gun store, and gun show should have an active effort at registering people to vote and also getting out the vote. Now that advance voting is available almost everywhere, it's vital to keep everyone informed on the issues and the need to vote.
7a. Make it a challenge to see who can register the most voters. If you don't know how to get folks to register to vote, that's your next assignment, and I bet it won't take more than 15 minutes to learn how.
Twenty minutes a day. For reading. For calling. For sending emails. For getting every gun owner registered to vote.
Michael Bloomberg has more than 50 billion dollars. He is the Godfather of Gun Bans. He has a massive network of marketing professionals and foot soldiers, and these folks SHOW UP. EVERY TIME. They have a history of winning. BUT ... I have been part of an effort in a state legislature where we had five times more people there than they did. We had OUR shirts, and we dominated the seating.
How did we do it? Honestly? We had good people who are committed to freedom. Plus ... We gave away guns. Those who showed up were signed up for raffles. We had a few guns donated (no reason you couldn't donate one of those guns you aren't using), and we gave them away. Hey, that's just smart marketing, too.
It's up to us. Not them. You and me. Your buddy and you. Your wife, your husband, your friend, your father, your mother.
Share this with every gun owner you know. Put it on every social media platform. 20 in 2020.
The presidential election carries the most weight, but regaining the House may be possible. Keeping control of the Senate is critical.
If we don't do this, we will continue to lose in the states, and we risk losing the White House.
Political reality is that the gun-banning Democrats will eventually win the Presidential election. Having the right judges and justices on the bench is the only protection from the confiscations they plan. That's what makes this election so critical. We are building a legal wall to defend against the ongoing unconstitutional attacks on the Second Amendment.
We need 20 in 2020. Will you commit to 20 minutes a day for the next nine months? If you commit, I'll keep pointing you in the right direction. ~ Tom
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.