The recent school shooting in Florida has given rise to renewed cries to address the growing gun problem in this country. The response is the same. Gun control advocates call for harsher gun regulations, anti-gun control factions panic that the government is coming for their guns, and politicians who accept millions from the NRA to make sure that kids like Nicholas Cruz have easy access to assault rifles either act confused and helpless, as if there is no solution to this problem, or find a scapegoat to deflect the blame to, like bad parenting, mental illness, or, most brazenly, lack of enough guns.
To those of us watching these politicians defy any standards of public decency and safety for reasons that openly and unabashedly boil down to their own greed, the situation seems hopeless. The Republican party is firmly entrenched in the pocket of the NRA, who have millions upon millions of dollars to spend, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.
I believe that there is a solution though, and it comes from the very conservatives from the state of California who likely support the NRA.
If there’s one thing the Republican party is great at, it is distorting and obfuscating the truth. So, for the safety of our children, let’s put aside our ethics and take a page from their book.
California suffers from what some might call an excess of democracy. Every Election Day, multiple propositions are put on the ballot for Californians to vote on. These are real policy changes, like allowing gay marriage or tightening environmental regulations. Since many of these propositions are overwhelmingly good for the people and would easily pass if that were clear, each year, corporations create counter propositions and use their influence to get them on the ballot.
These counter propositions look exactly like the good propositions, except that if you manage to get to the end of them, the policy change they would enact is exactly the opposite of the original prop.
The idea is not to get these counter propositions to pass; they rarely do. The goal is to confuse voters so much that too many of them either vote for the wrong proposition, or become so uncertain that they don’t vote for either, so neither pass. This almost always works.
So what does this have to do with the NRA? Well, here is my proposal, and I hope someone with the time and resources reads this and decides to try it.
The New NRA
I propose we create a new organization. Call it the New National Rifle Association, or NNRA. We create a fancy logo with a nice big automatic weapon on it, maybe a majestic bald eagle, and state as our mission to protect the ownership of guns and responsible gun use. We then send newsletters to as many voting gun supporters as we can find.
The NNRA can even set up programs to encourage good marksmanship and responsible gun ownership, just like the real NRA used to almost exclusively. However, when it comes time to elect a pro-gun politician, the NNRA will blanket the electorate with reasons why that politician shouldn’t be elected.
The NNRA wouldn’t need to have the money and influence the NRA does, because the goal is not to win—its just to confuse the electorate enough so that they won’t vote for NRA cronies. If the NRA tries to fight us, we won’t fight back. We’re all on the same side, responsible gun ownership, right? So, nothing to fight about. Meanwhile, we keep diluting the NRA’s influence and there’s nothing they can do about it.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is great, but it's David without his slingshot vs.Goliath. We can't win by taking on the NRA head-on.
I am sure this would work, so I really hope someone tries it. The only way to beat the NRA is by fighting fire with fire—A philosophy I’m sure its members will appreciate.