The forefathers of The United States of America have been hailed for the creation of the framework of our government. In 1887, The Constitution of the United States was created. More specifically, Americans of all political followings and backgrounds would likely recognize the first ten amendments of our Constitution, being the Bill of Rights, to be the foundation of the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed to us as Americans. The first amendment of our Constitution states the freedom of speech and religion without fear of persecution. In modern America, one of the ways we’ve used the first amendment was to speak out against or in support of the second amendment, which states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (US Constitution). Many still argue that it remains relevant, being created with the implication of a revolution in the event of a tyrannical uprising, while the opposing would view this to be an outdated amendment that has aged badly with the far more advanced firearms that have been made since the 1700s.
Firearms have been a centerpiece of American culture, albeit a controversial one as of the last few decades. There are many reasons people would claim ownership of firearms: hunting, home defense, sport, hobby, and for many, to essentially have collateral over potential tyranny. As of recent, the fear of compromise for our second amendment has been growing just as much as the growing fear of firearms. One side calls for stricter legislation of firearms, be it acquisition, sale, and production. Many citizens speak their concern, stating that only certain firearms should be outlawed, and fewer state that firearms should be removed from the civilian population in general, leaving only military personnel and law enforcement to be the only part of the population that would be armed. While many pro-gun groups exist, one that stands out, having a strong influence on the people and government is the National Rifle Association. The NRA has received a lot of mixed feelings as a whole, especially towards the turn of the 20th century and into. When any sort of violent acts occur that involve firearms, they tend to hold a defensive stance with the general ownership of them.
In 2016, the NRA’s YouTube channel posted a short, one-minute video, expressing a descriptive and anger-driven message to the public, stating that individuals who inhabit the media regurgitate their message that only insults the credibility of the current presidency, as well as the followers. The speaker continues, stating that the violence and backlash we see so commonly on mainstream media, as well as the implication of open and righteous inequality our current presidency, is all a facade, drawn up by those who only wish to further a divide, in order to create chaos. With such chaos, would usher in action to make a hasty change that would result in the call for government intervention; to remove our freedom to bear arms. In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, he and his followers were hailed as bullies and a hateful group of followers, which drew a heavy divide between voters, many times resulting in violence between the opposing-minded. She states that even the previous president, who was Barack Obama, has continued to show a distaste and has spread resentment of the phobias the current administration had been accused of harboring. Within the video, showed footage of protest, violence, and symbols of the people who strive for the disarming of the people with the continual division of Americans. For Conservative Americans, it is implied that the right to bear arms is our collateral, in the case of a tyrannical uprising, giving Americans the chance to fight to ensure the integrity of the Constitution for the people. This sentiment has been criticized by Liberal voters, who Conservatives believe are being persuaded to respond with resistance.
“…until the only option left, is for the police to do their jobs, and stop the madness… they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage” (NRATV, 00:32 – 00:42). This quote I’ve taken from this video has undoubtedly given me the seemingly inarguable belief that this is a video that is meant to play on fear, using conspiracies or unlikely circumstances to get the people riled up, and to stand up against those who speak about firearms legislations that would be seemingly built on false pretenses. It also openly shuns those who have expressed issues and figures that left-leaning Americans tend to follow, such as the radicalization of the left being endorsed by Obama and Hollywood and the seemingly taunting message to Liberal followers, that the police would simply be doing their jobs by quelling such a divide, blatantly and almost tauntingly humanizing the position of law enforcement, despite law enforcement being the potential agency to an implied confiscation of firearms, even though they have been the center of attention for increased awareness of police brutality and unjust killing in the eyes of many Democrat voters. This seems to have also given the impression that even those who are left-leaning firearms owners, are not welcome to accepting them as representatives for American gun owners, taking favor to only one side who holds only the same beliefs as them, and that they also seem to be for a division, despite speaking against those groups who they believe are causing this same division.
While the NRA to a large portion of American gun owners have been a symbol of representation, the political climate since the previous election has brought about such toxicity on both ends, that the NRA has began to willingly disregard any other owners of firearms who do not share the same beliefs, with this video appealing to conservative gun owners by stating that the implied Liberal media is in control, and that gun owners need to buckle down, as though a revolution would soon occur. Though the video seems to place blame on the left, and especially Barack Obama, the previous presidency has actually yielded little restriction towards lawful gun owners. In a town hall meeting on a PBS Newshour special, Obama was asked a question regarding the restriction of firearms, and why him and other leftist leaders have push for furthered gun control. While it is common for many to believe that Democrats consistently push for gun control legislation, he states in this PBS special that his intent was never to force Americans to relinquish their rights, or to take away from citizens, further stating that more firearms have actually been sold during his leadership than any other presidency.
Throughout the eight-year span of Obama’s two-term presidency, much of the criticism he received was from the NRA and many of its followers. Many of the videos within the NRA’s YouTube channel sends similar messages, stating that we as Americans should stand in solidarity, to stop voting in those who speak for any sort of legislation regarding firearms. Myself being an owner, trained, and with understanding of firearms, I personally find a lot of the rhetoric and over-exaggeration to be counterproductive in their stance as being representatives for gun owners across the country. As someone who owns firearms, I stand by the statement also that the very thing we as Americans should worry about, are not the weapons themselves, but the people wielding them. Although the NRA seems to convey safety to being a priority in ownership, I believe that we as gun owners have a responsibility to being behind legislation that would limit the sale of firearms to those who are ailed by certain mental health problems, those who do not have any sort of knowledge on firearms or weapons safety, and those who are unfit to handle the responsibility of ownership in general. I believe that there is a middle ground between gun owners and those who are against it, but the NRA seems to use a high position to speak against opposed-believing leaders in such a seemingly conspiracy-driven manner, which takes away from their credibility, making it less productive than it would be if they were to instead use their position to educate us on issues regarding safety and potential reasons for ownership that would instead utilize reasoning instead of inciting fear and the very division they speak against.
The Violence of Lies. NRATV, YouTube. 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=169zQ1g-Ul0.
Hofstadter, R. America As a Gun Culture. American Heritage. Volume 21, Issue 6. 1970. https://www.americanheritage.com/america-gun-culture
Marcus, S. House Passes First Major Gun Control Law in Decades. Reuters. The New York Times. 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/us/politics/gun-control-bill.html
Why restrict ‘good’ gun owners, resident asks President Obama at town hall. YouTube. PBS NewsHour. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6imFvSua3Kg
Murse, T. List of Obama Gun Control Measures. ThoughtCo. 2019. https://www.thoughtco.com/obama-gun-laws-passed-by-congress-3367595