By Chris Cox, Executive Director, NRA-ILA
Too many Americans, for one reason or another, have chosen to sit on the sidelines by not registering to vote. Unfortunately, this includes too many American gun owners. It's part of my job to do something about that.
That's why the NRA Freedom Action Foundation is wasting no time this year to launch our massive "Trigger the Vote" voter registration drive.
The reality is that any major grassroots organization will inevitably have to deal with aging and attrition among its supporters. The pundits are already predicting a major downturn in voter turnout between 2008 and 2012.
That predicted drop in participation is not due entirely to attrition, to be sure. But to those of us who believe that participation in the process is as much a duty as it is a right, new voter recruitment is our civic responsibility.
Our voter registration drive is completely non-partisan, because the Second Amendment has friends across the political spectrum. Our Constitution doesn't care what party you belong to, if any at all, but protecting our freedoms does require an informed electorate that's motivated to go to the polls. We know that when gun owners vote, freedom wins!
Registering new voters isn't easy. You have to speak the language of a new generation and convey the importance of their participation in our democratic process. That's why our Trigger the Vote campaign uses humor as a central theme of our award-winning ads.
The launch of NRA's 2012 voter registration campaign features TV and film legend R. Lee "Gunny" Ermey. Gunny is a retired, real-life Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant (and famous to many as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from "Full Metal Jacket"). He's also a member of the NRA Board of Directors, and we are grateful he's leading the charge.
You can get a sneak preview of Gunny's ad here, and soon, this ad will air coast-to-coast in select states, propelled by a six-figure media buy that is only the beginning of our multimillion-dollar campaign. Every vote does count, and we're bound and committed to make sure that every eligible supporter of the Second Amendment is registered to cast a ballot.
Please forward Gunny's ad to anyone you know who doubts the importance of their vote. Our Trigger the Vote website has all the information and forms needed to submit a voter registration application from the comfort of your own home.
Gunny's film career is based in his real-life experience as a Marine Corps drill instructor. It reminds us that our men and women in uniform sacrifice life and limb overseas to protect our freedom and way of life. We owe it to them to register to vote and protect the freedoms they fight for.
We've heard all the excuses for not registering, and in the end they all boil down to a misguided belief that a single vote won't make a difference.
But history teaches us otherwise. And as Gunny reminds us, it is our patriotic duty as Americans to do all we can to protect our constitutional freedoms.
For more information, visit www.TriggerTheVote.org.
This article first appeared in The Daily Caller.