The Atlantic: NRA Wins by Countering Shame with Persuasion

The Atlantic: NRA Wins by Countering Shame with Persuasion

In a March 28th column for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf said the NRA keeps winning the gun conversation by countering the left’s shame tactics with effective persuasion.

Friedersdorf began his column by pointing to the push for a “conversation about gun control” in the days, weeks, and months following the heinous crime at Sandy Hook Elementary. He said this approach was flawed from the start because the “conversation” was already underway–that it began decades ago–and “there was no reason to presume that a new conversation would end in more gun control.”

But the conversation happened anyway, and Friedersdorf noted that it was marked (once more) by gun control advocates trying to shame gun owners into embracing gun control and painting dissenters as “retrograde idiots.”

Through it all, the NRA was there to remind gun owners and Americans of all stripes that the right to keep and bear arms is a God-given right and one that is intrinsic to the American experience. While the left jeered gun owners, the NRA cheered a mother’s right to defend her own life and the lives of her family. 

Friedersdorf quoted Businessweek’s Paul M. Barrett’s advice to gun control advocates: 

The smart response is not scorn or exaggeration. For better or for worse gun ownership has come to symbolize a range of deeply felt ideas about culture and government authority. Making fun of people who view their firearms as emblems of liberty and traditional values (however they define those values) will neither change minds nor repeal legislation.

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