The Importance of Advocacy

If you’re in the Second Amendment community, something that should not be ignored is advocacy. We are all involved in shooting sports, firearm ownership, etc., for our own individual purposes. Some people are casual gun owners with that old thing just tucked away in a lockbox to take to the range once in a while. Some people get the bug, and before you know, they have a mini museum of guns. There are even gun owners out there that are pretty much “anti-gun,” yeah, I know some, crazy as it sounds, given all that, we must recognize that our Second Amendment right is perishable.

Without getting overly political, let’s discuss a few things. First and foremost, gun owners, if you are not aware by now, there are groups of people and politicians that want to see the Second Amendment abolished. What has been enumerated in the Bill of Rights as a sovereign, God-given, natural right is under attack. That sounds overdramatic to some people, but it is. The culprits and persons trying to remove this civil right from the American landscape will simply be referred to as “they” and “them” in this piece.

Ways that the Second Amendment is under attack vary.

The big one that everyone hears about is legislation. By creating rights limiting laws, they are trying to do things like dictating how many rounds of ammunition you’re allowed to have in your magazines. They are trying to dictate whether you may loan your firearm to your sister who is experiencing harassment from a former domestic partner. They are trying to tell you how you shall store your gun. These amount to “infringement” and in no way equate to “common sense” as they would lead you to believe. The pro and con arguments on these subjects individually can go on forever. However, remember the word “infringe”. Which means to encroach.

Our gun rights are also vulnerable to attacks from executive overreach and regulation through agencies. Presidents can try to enforce their will upon the citizens, but without the backing of the entire legislature, they don’t have much power on this topic. What they can do is appoint anti-freedom heads to three-letter agencies as well as regulate imports. Executive actions may not hold a lot of weight but are still an attack on your rights. Keep an eye on those three-letter agencies for the years to come.

They are changing the narrative. This attack is a big one. The media, educators, schools, you name it, have all been involved in a campaign to change how the public looks at firearms and the Second Amendment. Wordplay like “gun violence” and other descriptions are used to impart emotions to the citizens of this country. Any way possible, some institutions will equate firearms with bad. The court of public opinion is one of the most challenging battles that we face as gun owners.

What can we do about it? Advocacy. I’m not suggesting that you make up your sandwich board signs and stand on the corner of a busy intersection every day to send out your own messaging “Shall Not be Infringed.” Or “All Gun Control is Racist.” You get the picture. You can if you want to, but there are a few ways you can engage the world on this topic, and you don’t have to go all-in with every bit of your energy.

  • The easiest thing you can do is join an organization. Pick one. Read about the Second Amendment related groups that are out there on a national and local level, join and make a donation. There is strength in numbers, and your membership counts.
  • Contact your legislators—local, state, and federal. Make sure your position is known and that you’ll be happy to vote for their opponent in the next election, as well as donate your money to those that try to primary them. Be respectful. But let your position be known. It is not a bad idea to contact those in the executive branch to let them know your thoughts.
  • Write to editors. In certain jurisdictions, you may not gain any traction. However, it is crucial to have your voice heard. If you read something in the paper or on a news page online that does not quite tell the truth or are outright lies, let the editors know. Let them know the facts and your opinion. Call them out if they use misleading buzz words like “gun safety” or “common sense”. Even if your letter does not go to print, they will at least know where you stand.
  • Volunteer. There are plenty of groups out there, and you can get involved as much as you like. Maybe the local organization you joined has a booth at the county fair. Volunteer to man it for a few hours. Volunteerism is one of those things that the sky’s the limit.
  • Take a friend shooting. If you have that apprehensive friend on the fence about firearms, take them to the range. Let them have a chance to see how fun shooting is. Teach them about safety. Get those fence-sitters on our side or at least agnostic about the subject of firearms.

These are just a few thoughts and ideas on how you can help expand and protect our Second Amendment rights. Together, we can make a difference. If you’re not engaging, now is a perfect time.

Stay safe out there and think before you do!

John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of “Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use” and USCCA certified instructor, NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on Twitter at @johnpetrolino, and on Instagram @jpetrolinoiii