If it wants to survive, the NRA needs to change

What is the point of the NRA now? Is it to be one of the thousand partisan outfits in D.C. helping elect Republicans, or is it to make compelling and effective arguments about the virtues and necessity of the Second Amendment? For someone looking in from the outside, it seems the past few years have been mostly about the latter…

Another problem with being aggressively partisan is that the NRA turns off millions of Americans who might be open to its cause but aren’t politically involved themselves. In the past few years, the NRA leadership handed the keys (and a ton of cash) to the PR firm Ackerman McQueen, which in turn, seemed to believe the NRA should be another Fox News rather than a civil rights organization. Now the two are mired in counter suits.

Over the past few years, I appeared on a number of shows on the now-defunct NRATV network — the steaming channel run by Ackerman McQueen. Many personalities on the network were excellent spokespeople for gun rights and for conservative ideas. But should the NRA strive to involve itself in every contemporary debate, creating antagonism on issues that have absolutely nothing to do with gun rights? Though I’m certainly no public relations expert, it seems to me that the mission of any issue-oriented organization should be to proselytize rather than alienate.