When I step in front of audiences to speak, I always take a moment to look out through the lights at yet another diverse crowd of NRA members. I glance at individual faces and see men and women, youngsters and veterans, people of every ethnicity and from all occupations. The makeup of these audiences certainly changes depending on where I am in this great country; after all, this America is itself a patchwork of peoples all sewn together with the strong words of the U.S. Constitution.
That patchwork is never more evident than when I gaze upon the crowd at our NRA Annual Meetings. In fact, each year at our NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, I deliberately take time to highlight the broad cross section of NRA members in attendance—from law-enforcement officers and military veterans, to doctors and nurses… and every blue-collar and white-collar profession. I do this because it’s my one opportunity each year to force the media to broadcast the truth about who we are as NRA members. Every race, religion and income bracket is fully represented within our NRA family—and we all come together to share in a celebration of the values, heritage and freedom that binds us together.
Because every other day of the year, the mainstream media not only ignores who we are, but also purposefully ignores all of the good that NRA members do for America. They deliberately overlook the realities behind what actually reduces crime. They refuse to look into why the areas with the strictest gun-control policies often have the highest homicide rates. They decline to honestly report on NRA events or to go to local gun ranges to meet normal Americans who choose to own guns and to enjoy the shooting sports. And they avoid any real analysis of why so many citizens are now publicly advocating for their right to keep and bear arms. In fact, if you blink your eyes, you’ll likely miss whatever coverage they’ll provide on the shooting sports in this summer’s Olympic Games.
They do this because, to have any chance of getting a majority of people to vote away their hard-won American freedom, they must deceive. This dishonesty is frustrating, but regardless, the truth that freedom is worth protecting is getting out.
The mainstream media has actually lost a lot of market share over the last few decades as people have woken up to the reality that they’re not getting the full story from the mainstream media; as a result, people have long sought new and more trustworthy sources for news and analysis.
One place NRA members go for real reporting on guns and your freedom are the NRA’s fine publications—American Rifleman, American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated and America’s 1st Freedom. For breaking news on legislation and court decisions related to guns, people also turn to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (nraila.org) and America’s 1st Freedom (a1f.com). Many have also signed up to have the NRA’s alerts emailed to them by going to nraila.org/sign-up.
Many have also found NRA Grassroots (nraila.org/grassroots). This site details how you can volunteer in your state to stand up for your freedom. It has local NRA contacts, information on how to advocate for your rights and other resources. In this important election year it is critical that as many of us stand up as possible.
The idea that you are standing up is what really scares the mainstream media, as they must be aware that NRA members are actually very mainstream in American culture. NRA members, in fact, act as influencers across American society by interacting with voters who might not be active NRA members or even gun owners, but who nevertheless care about their freedom. This scares mainstream-media types, as honest reporting and analysis helps voters burst the anti-gun bubble in which mainstream news’ outlets try to keep their readers and viewers trapped.
That’s what I see when I travel and speak to groups and meet so many fine people across America. This is also why I know, as we head toward this pivotal election, freedom will win again.