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Battlegrounds for Freedom

Battlegrounds for Freedom

Seeing freedom-loving Americans arrive by the car and truck load at Blackstone Shooting Sports, just on the outskirts of Charlotte, N.C., for an NRA Day Event, it was encouraging to hear so many Second Amendment supporters tell NRA FrontLines representatives to “keep up the good work.” It was also heartening that even many of those who didn’t speak instead gave us a thumbs up.

NRA-ILA Grassroots

Many stopped to talk about the Second Amendment and how it has become a political football. Many mentioned a lawsuit from the state of New York that’s calling for the NRA to be dissolved. This outraged and perplexed people. Their faces would twist up, as if they were trying to make sense of this nonsensical attack on this nearly 150-year-old civil-rights association with millions of members. Many also wanted to talk about what a potential Joe Biden presidency would mean, as Biden is basically calling for every gun ban and restriction that has been mentioned by gun-control groups over the last decade—and he is doing this with a 3,400-word treatise right on his campaign website.

Looking out the front doors of Blackstone Shooting Sports, we could see Charlotte’s skyline beyond an American flag waving in the wind. Immediately, thoughts of what that flag represents and the freedoms that it protects came to mind. At the same time, thoughts of what could happen should those freedoms come under attack, and what we need to do to defend them, also came to mind.

Across the country, many Americans are noticing how their Second Amendment rights are coming under attack during these uncertain times. Already, millions of Americans are embracing these rights for the very first time. At Blackstone, people were steadily buying guns and ammunition, just as Americans across the country are now doing in record-setting numbers. When faced with so much uncertainty, surely it’s prudent to take our protection and our constitutional rights into our own hands.

NRA-ILA Grassroots

People kept telling us, as we handed out NRA pins and more, they are well aware this election is important for the future of the Second Amendment. At press time, the Democratic Party’s nominee, Joe Biden, had just announced Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate. Both of them want to ban some of the most-popular firearms, and severely restrict our freedom in every way gun-control groups have thus far dreamed up. 

To see NRA members volunteer their time at this gun store outside Charlotte—while knowing likeminded NRA Grassroots personnel and volunteers are doing the same thing all over America—felt encouraging and so patriotic. This is the NRA Institute for Legislative Action’s (NRA-ILA) FrontLines in action. These men and women who cherish their freedom, answer the call to action and pledge their time to defend our rights. 

NRA FrontLines is made up of dedicated volunteers. They work at the local, state and federal levels to defend our Second Amendment rights. These pro-freedom advocates are the ones who make the difference in elections at every level when it comes to protecting your rights.

At the store in Charlotte, I witnessed NRA Senior Grassroots Coordinator Trey Ramsey and Campaign Field Representative Hannah Whitlow connecting with gun-rights supporters. Both had a deep warmth and openness about them that was inviting, to say the least, but this was also dovetailed with a clear passion for the Second Amendment that came through in their interactions with everyone who came near them. From teachers to those in finance, from the young to the seniors, we spoke to urban and rural voters all day.

Ramsey has an unmistakable head of hair that can be spotted from across the room. Yet, his outgoing demeanor and outright friendliness are even more impossible to miss. When asked how he was doing that day, a loud “I’m phenomenal!” paired with a large smile soon followed. His energy is infectious. Whitlow, meanwhile, also spoke with everyone who walked through the door. A kind greeting often turned into a pleasant conversation about the future of our Second Amendment and what the NRA is doing to protect it across the country.

One man, who had his toddler son in tow, told Whitlow that he’d brought friends as he gestured to a few men behind him, and within minutes, they too had joined the Grassroots army. An elderly gentleman, sporting an NRA-ILA cap, told countless patrons that they needed to talk to Whitlow and Ramsey, “because they’re doing important work.” Another family, with two kids, signed up as well. 

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Blackstone Shooting Sports saw a constant flow of people throughout the day, with one woman remarking that the parking lot is full every single weekend. This stands in stark contrast to the city of Charlotte itself, just a few miles away, where, during this pandemic, one would be forgiven for thinking the city was fast becoming a ghost town. 

This is no surprise, of course, to NRA members and Americans who value the Second Amendment, as this gun store in North Carolina is not unique. Across the country, the NRA Grassroots army is growing, and its efforts are spreading, thanks to so many volunteers. Meanwhile, those who want this freedom taken away are spending big—thanks to a few billionaires—in attempts to convince people to vote away their freedom. 

After hours of talking to supporters of freedom, there was still sunlight left in the day, so there was more work to be done. Under the blistering afternoon sun, we set out to take our message door to door. As I tagged along, Ramsey and Whitlow knocked on doors and spoke with everyone they could. 

“You’re with the NRA?” said one man. As Ramsey nodded with a smile, the man said, “Thank you for the work you guys do.” Another homeowner added that she couldn’t believe the New York attorney general’s blatant, politically motivated lawsuit against the NRA—this remained a recurring theme throughout the day.

Ramsey and Whitlow, along with others on the NRA’s FrontLines, work with numerous volunteers on a variety of outreach platforms. The reality is that, for defenders of freedom who want to serve on the FrontLines, there is a spot for everyone and now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. Whether it is canvassing, making phone calls or sending text messages, any contribution you can make will be invaluable in this fight.

“The best thing is seeing a volunteer realize that their efforts do make a difference. When they help that first person over to our side of the fence, you can see it in their face that they realize our efforts do make a difference. It’s an awesome feeling,” said Ramsey.

After all, the efforts of the NRA and its members were crucial to electing President Donald Trump four short years ago. Now, with the prospect of a President Joe Biden on the horizon, who has stated in no uncertain terms what he’d do if elected, these efforts are even more important than before.

Earlier that day in North Carolina, Ramsey told one couple: “We’re doing everything we can. This election cycle, they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at us. We’re going to get those voters out just like we have before.”

This fall, freedom is clearly on the ballot, and the NRA’s Grassroots army will play a pivotal role for the future of the Second Amendment in our great country. It’s up to freedom-loving Americans like you to make sure that this country remains free. To volunteer go to: nraila.org/grassroots.

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