Here’s the deal: The NRA is simply *far* better organized than the gun control lobby. A passionate minority will prevail over an apathetic majority any day, in our political system.
Here’s what I think gun control people need to do, if they’re serious:
- Start a “National Gun Safety Association.”
- Make the debate about “gun safety” not “gun control.” Focus first on how limiting crazy people’s access to guns is a safety issue, not a control issue.
- If that shows some success, expand the safety discussion to limiting magazine size and assault weapons bans — also safety issues, not rights issues.
- Pair the above efforts with an extensive gun safety training outreach. Offer training so people who own guns can learn how to use them safely — and how to store them safely.
- Make the spokesmen people like Gabby Giffords, who are gun owners, not liberals like Mike Bloomberg, who are not — and make it clear that the organization has no opposition to safe gun ownership.
- Make it a membership-based organization that not only raises funds, but can also mobilize its members to write letters and call senators/congressman. Throw parties. Have events. Make people feel like they belong to something.
- Throw money at strategic congressional and senatorial races to aggressively punish politicians who vote counter to the organization’s goals.
If there’s an organization out there like this, I want to join it, and I will contribute.
Update: Sunlight Foundation has stats on how much money various organizations on both sides of the gun debate have contributed since 1989. Detailed stats here. Notably, the NRA doesn’t even show up on the list of top contributors to the last election cycle.
Update 2: I found an organization matching many of the above points. It’s Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by Gabrielle Giffords and Marc Kelly. I gave them $50.