Why Gun Rallies Are Pointless

It’s spring, and that means it’s time for rally season. That’s when all the gun rallies get going for the year. In any given state, you can bet there will be at least two rallies at the state capitol, maybe another one in the (next) largest town,  and maybe one more event before winter.

They’re almost all the same; they have the same formula, the same stuff, the same attendees.  The same speakers stand at the podium and say the same things–lofty things about rights and Founders, and defiant things about all the ways that the tyrannical law du jour will be defied. What changes? Nothing.

Before you attempt to burn me at the stake, let me show you. Here’s an invite from an upcoming rally in a flyover state. I’ll take it section by section.

Each year in the spring, Second Amendment advocates gather in the State Capitol Rotunda to “rally” the gun-rights grassroots base and lobby the legislature on gun-rights issues and pending legislation. Rally Day also offers an excellent opportunity for gun owners and pro-gun legislators to get better acquainted and forge stronger alliances.

What does the word “rally” mean?

  • To call together for a common purpose; assemble.
  • To reassemble and restore to order.
  • To rouse or revive from inactivity or decline.

So what do we know from the above paragraph?

  • This rally happens every spring. That means it is expected, it is routine. That is the kiss of death. Ineffective, boring, pointless.
  • Every time they have this rally, they do the same thing. In fact, this event is so routine, it’s even called Rally Day.
  • They claim that it’s an “excellent opportunity for gun owners and pro-gun legislators to get better acquainted and forge stronger alliances.”  That’s PR-speak for schmooze.

Here’s the question of the day: why do the gun owners not already know the pro-gun legislators? Do you, as a gun owner,  need to be friends with your legislator? Do you need to share a meal with them and chitchat about gun-grabbers?

I say no, you don’t. I would argue that you need to get across to them that if they do not vote correctly, they will be removed.  You need to make them understand that if they do not do their job, you will ensure they don’t get another chance in that chair.

Rally folks might counter with, “well, that’s how you get the point across, you gotta make connections and network, and show the legislators that you mean business.” My next question is, how well has that worked out for you? I mean, considering you need to have the same event every single year and all.

The answer to my question is found in the very next paragraph.

Recent Rally Days have seen pretty dismal attendance. Given the current political climate relative to gun laws, it is absolutely critical that we have a strong turnout this year. We must fill the rotunda like we did when we were fighting for Concealed Cary and the Castle Doctrine. We are under attack and can no longer afford to be complacent!

Well, that’s awkward. Not only does no one show up to the Annual Gun Owner Feel-Good Picnic, but someone can’t spell concealed carry.

They’re right about one thing–gun owners are under attack and “can no longer afford to be complacent.” At least they admit that they have been. The problem is what their idea of “non-complacency” looks like.

Recent anti-gun marches and protests have drawn large crowds urging lawmakers to pass legislation restricting your Second Amendment rights. We must have a large turnout to counter those efforts to strip us of the hard-fought gains we have made in recent years. The anti-gun folks are well organized and well-funded. We must counteract their efforts by the grassroots action of individual gun owners.

This literally translates to “If we get bigger crowds at rallies, we will beat the anti-gunners.” Read it carefully; that’s what they’re saying.  “The anti-gunners have more money and better organization so we need you to show up to our rally and donate more money.”

If you can (take a day of vacation if necessary – it’s that important!), please join us. You could even take your kids out of school for the day and let them have a great firsthand civics lesson they will never get in school. Bring your shooting buddy who wouldn’t ordinarily come out for such an event. Bottom line, we must all dig deep and give of our time to show up and stand up for our Second Amendment rights!

I have a better idea. Instead of going to yet another rally to tell your legislators that you Really Mean It This Time And You Want To Keep Your Gun Rights, just like you did last year, and the year before, do something different. Do something unexpected.

Spend that Saturday milling out an 80% lower. Reading a book on a topic you need to learn. Spend the gas money on parts for your lower. Spend the money you were going to use on a new rally t-shirt and go get more ammo.  Go get Basics of Resistance and pick any of the ideas from the several lists the book has.

Do something…anything…besides the same things you’ve been doing. Because what the rally crowd is doing isn’t working anymore.

13 Replies to “Why Gun Rallies Are Pointless”

  1. Want to make a difference. When you see the first attempt to seize someone’s gun make sure old Bessie’s ready to go.

    When your forefather’s did it Gov Gage had to rethink his efforts to seize the weapons of the people on the behave of Big Brother.

    Second when the Antifa’s start smashing heads remember your life is in danger. Nothing is so passe as a dead martyr.

  2. I love the smell of burnt sacred cows in the morning. Smells like……. progress.

  3. Excellent points, Kit.

    I would have added writing letters to your representatives, going to town hall meetings where they speak, call their offices, email, and otherwise remind them that criminal who cause the gun-related problems do not heed laws, so they only impact the law-abiding.

    Or, put on your tinfoil hats and realize that the anti-gun politicians are part of the New World Order ideology and are determined to disarm you, that the march purportedly in response to the Parkland shooting was planned months in advance (false flag?), that we may ALREADY be in the beginnings of a civil war, and that if they ever start confiscating guns from people that ALL of us must take that as a sign that the shooting war has begun.

    1. At this point (and again, I know this is uncomfortable), I think writing letters, attending town hall meetings, etc. only serve to identify you as a political dissident, a problem, an issue to be ‘handled.’ And there will come a time when those folks–myself included–will be considered too much of a problem and will BE handled.

      There is MUCH that can be done to resist without identifying yourself, without putting that target on your back. Arguably those things are far more effective than standing there holding a sign, or putting your name on what will become evidence in your trial later.

      I’ve done the open activism thing. And for all our efforts, what’s going on in WA right now? People are complying with the background law we were fighting. Concealed carry permits are down 11,000, and while I’d love to say that’s because people are carrying without complying, I doubt highly that’s the case.

  4. Excellent point! While I believe it is necessary to always show resistance to these ass hats that want to take our rights and because of that I will continue to write letters, meet politicians, etc. I will also be milling out that lower or buying more ammo for the day when they are no longer listening.

  5. [I would argue that you need to get across to them that if they do not vote correctly, they will be removed.]
    OTOH, if your representatives do consistently “vote correctly” in support of gun-rights, take time to appreciate them. Attend their rallies, educate other gun-owners about bills they’ve proposed, fund-raise for their campaigns, invite them to speak at gun club meetings. The resistance has room for carrots, as well as sticks.

    1. How many reps are voting consistently, correctly? How many are sponsoring bills to remove previous infringements? How many are as unyielding as they should be on the issue of firearms? If there are those, sure.

      I was primarily talking about the rallies where everyone goes in their bestest MOLON LABE t-shirt, the same usual suspects recycle their speeches, and everyone goes home thinking they did something for liberty.

  6. I think you’re missing the point to rallies and counter protests. There are some major benefits that are hard to quantify, such as getting new and more people involved in the gun rights movement. At these rallies it gives us more experienced activists a chance to explain and recruit. It energizes and revitalizes the ranks. Having a large turn out makes people pay attention, such as the media – although will never give fair coverage.

    Milling out an 80% lower in your basement or garage does absolutely nothing to further your gun rights. What I am reading seems to me a list of excuses, “Why I am Too Lazy to Attend a Rally to Fight for my Rights.”

    Yes we should be contacting our legislators. Yes we should be following proposed legislation and letting our elected officials know we are watching and how they should be voting. And one day, just ONE DAY, a year we should stand up, gather and make ourselves heard collectively. It is a show of force.

    1. I’m too lazy to attend a rally to fight for my rights? lol

      You don’t know me, or anything about me, so I’ll chalk your remark up to that. I’m intimately familiar with rallies; attending them, organizing them, planning them. In fact, it’s because of that experience that I can say what I’m saying.

      It comes down to this:
      1) If you are making yourself heard “just ONE DAY a year,” as you mention, and that’s the only method with which you do it, then your efforts are failing. You might want to check out some books on resistance and how to plan actions.

      2) It energizes and revitalizes the ranks? Actually, it gives them a feel-good shot in the arm that offers a false sense of having “done something for liberty.”

      3) It gets new and more people involved in the gun rights movement? Maybe, if you’re marketing to someone other than the standard gun owner/conservative crowd. Problem is, the ‘purity’ required by many within the gun rights movement for all political issues nearly ensures that the only people who are pure enough to be part of the movement are the ones who, unfortunately, are already stereotyped. What’s your plan for getting the LGBT movement on board? How about millennials? There are entire demographics that rallies don’t even touch. What about them?

      4) You’ve already admitted that the media will never give you fair coverage, and we already know that the people you need to reach don’t already read the gun blogs, so…the question becomes “Who are you really doing this for?” See above.

      5) If you really think that milling out an 80% lower does nothing to further gun rights, then you’ve never really thought through the logical progression of what happens to that lower. What it becomes, and where it can go. One guy in his garage is one guy in his garage…but he’s now armed, and maybe he wasn’t before. That gun, and a thousand like them, can be smuggled into anti-gun states. They can be put in the hands of people with the will and the training to use them. They can help someone defy a BS law.

      I’m not saying that there is never, ever a reason to hold a gun rally. I’m saying that in order for it to be effective, you need something OTHER than the standard formula. You need originality, creativity, and something that works a lot better than the current paradigm. There was a rally a few years ago that had a couple thousand people show up and openly violate a new gun law on the Capitol steps, effectively nullifying the law from ever being able to be prosecuted. At another rally, a group of activists took their long guns into the legislative viewing gallery while the legislature was in session. A third one delivered a list of grievances to the governor’s mansion and tacked it on the closed and locked legislature gallery door. Some other guys down in Oregon burned the governor in effigy, if I remember right. Those are rallies that made national and even international news. Unfortunately, standing around and holding signs, or offering yet another fiery speech and big words will not get the job done. You need to do something more.

  7. Well said, Kit.

    I would add that if one’s goal is to convert the thinking of others, that is far better done by taking someone to an Appleseed shoot or even just taking them out shooting with a couple of 10/22s or something equally easy on a new shooter. Teach them the basics of gun safety and use. Talk to them casually about both the fun and utility of them. Let them see that “gun nuts” aren’t so nutty.

    Much to my liberal sister’s chagrin, I took my equally liberal niece out shooting and she had a great time. It definitely took much of the scary out of guns for her.

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