The National Rifle Association and Public Opinion

The National Rifle Association is the world’s most well-known Pro-Gun Rights activist group in the world. As an organization it has been a part of more lobbying, public informing, and fundraising on the subject of the 2nd Amendment than any other. However they have a reputation for being very unfeeling, and even paranoid in the eyes of many non-members. They have been called “ignorant gun-lovers” for being perceived as not wanting to concede on any kind of gun control in light of recent gun involved tragedies. Much of this negative public opinion could actually be swayed if the NRA changed their PR practices.

A main source for these negative opinions is from when the NRA goes on the defensive when a new gun bill is proposed, or when someone who is running for office has a history of Anti-Gun opinions. The NRA tends to quickly resort to the extreme. Claiming any number of reasons for opposing the bill or the candidate. I have personally seen arguments that the proposed anti-gun bill had the purpose of removing American rights and freedoms with the intent of hindering the public’s ability to protect themselves from an “oppressive government,” or that the candidate was part of an anti-freedom agenda. I think they do this to appease and crystalize the strong opinions of a lot of their members. However, since we know that strong opinions don’t easily nor often change; I think the NRA could try and focus on the following tactics to try and gain a greater public favor within the “silent majority.”

Instead of jumping to the extremes of arguments as mentioned above, I think it would be wise to give credence to the feelings and concerns of those that worry for the safety of the public. Avoid demonizing ideas and people. As an organization they could make the effort to show that they do in fact sympathize with those that are afraid, and use the same statistics and evidences they use to promote their agenda, but in the attitude of “We want to help and solve this problem, but all of the evidence says that these methods of control don’t work, so let’s help find a better solution to this growing issue” rather than the “We’re right and you’re wrong” attitude they tend to imply. Greater clarity and progress would be accomplished if this influential organization softened its image and actions.


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