Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Get Involved and Make a Difference

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

 

The NRA Is regularly identified as one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the country. That means the NRA is a potent force fighting in Congress and the state legislatures to protect our right to keep and bear arms.

Particularly in recent years, NRA has also earned a reputation for being a very effective political organization, working to elect pro Second Amendment candidates at the federal and state level.

The success NRA has in both these areas is dependent on the same resource: NRA members.

Without the hard work of tens of thousands of NRA members, NRA would not be as effective. In fact, without our dedicated members, our rights would likely have been eliminated years ago. Because of that, I salute our members and their determination to win each and every battle.

This year we are going to need that support and hard work more than ever.
We face the opportunity to set back our opponents’ agenda for years, or see anti-gun politicians advance that agenda significantly. It all depends on the outcome of the election this November. That is why I regularly call on our members to become activists so that we can prevail.

But sometimes I am asked, “How do I get involved beyond just voting?” That’s a good question, so this is the first of two articles on political activism that aim to equip every NRA member with the basic information they need to become a more effective activist, and how to work with NRA to win.

Get Informed

The first step is to get armed with information. Without it, none of us can be effective advocates for the Second Amendment.

There are two types of information every NRA member should have. First is an understanding of the issues we face. We all know the basics, but better knowledge of the details makes a huge difference. The NRA-ILA website should be your first stop (www.NRAILA.org). There is information on the site about legislative and political efforts in every state as well as at the federal level. That information is invaluable to understand the legislation we oppose and that which we support.

The next kind of knowledge we all need is the stance of the candidates. We must know who supports our rights, and who does not. Sometimes this information is clear and easy to find. Incumbents have records, and their votes show where they really stand. Those votes can almost always be found online, and NRA-ILA can help you locate where to look. [Call 1-800-392-vote (8683) for help locating voting records.] Many candidates, incumbents and challengers put issue information on their campaign web sites. A quick search online will turn up a lot of information.

And of course, use your local media. Local newspapers often cover issues and local politicians that the national media ignore.

Finally, look for opportunities to attend events where politicians are speaking. Whether they are called “Town Hall” meetings, or something else, it is a chance to hear from your representatives and to ask questions. Even if you do not get a chance to ask the candidate directly, take the initiative to talk to his or her staff, they can often answer your questions and hear your concerns.

And if you have not signed up for NRA-ILA’s email alerts, do that now at
www.NRAILA.org/get-involved-locally/secure/stay-informed.aspx.

Start Close To Home

Once you are armed with the right information, the first thing every member should do is make sure their family, friends and neighbors who share the desire to save our rights are registered to vote. If you’re not signed up, you can’t make a difference. The good news is that registering to vote has never been easier. You can register at any DMV office, many other government offices and by mail. You can also go to the NRA-ILA website and get the process started. (www.NRAILA.org/get-involved-locally/grassroots/register-to-vote.aspx)

This may seem like an obvious thing, but far too many potential voters
are not registered. Plus the act of registering makes it more likely that on
(or before) Election Day a person will cast their ballot.

And remember, voting is no longer limited to Election Day. Early voting has never been easier and as a result is becoming more and more popular with a significant portion of the vote being cast weeks before the first Tuesday in November. So we each need to know what the laws are locally so that we can give friends and family the right information. Just as most campaigns have done, we also need to begin our efforts early in the election cycle. Gone are the days when we could wait until October before paying attention to the coming election.

Volunteer

NRA is not a partisan organization. Gun owners have allies on both sides of the aisle. Once you know where the candidates stand, you have a number of choices. The parties have organizations at the national, state and local levels. They sign up volunteers at each level, so look for the level that best represents your interests in protecting the Second Amendment. State and local party organizations will also be able to help you get in contact with specific candidates.

You can also look for advocacy groups that are working in your area. These groups are usually national, but often have state or even local operations in key areas. In this space next month, I will tell you about what NRA has planned, and how you can get directly involved with our efforts. But don’t wait to get involved. Call NRA-ILA with questions about other groups. We can let you know if they stand with us.

Working for the parties can involve many things. Walking precincts and manning phone banks are traditional efforts. But we are in a new age. The parties are also using electronic and social media to magnify the impact of the effort, and volunteers can help in those areas as well. For those of you who are comfortable working in the party structure, this is a very effective way to advance our cause.

Get Active

As important as the parties are to the operation of our elections, we do not need to rely on them to be active.

As individuals we have a great opportunity to make a huge difference. To start with, we can impact the debate by writing letters to the editor. Use the local media to get the word out about the importance of protecting our rights, and to let others know who our allies and opponents are. Encourage your friends to do the same. The more letters the media get on our issues, the better. And don’t ignore the online resources. Just about every newspaper has an online version and most have provisions for comments or even guest writers. Use this resource. But please remember it is always important to keep the debate civil and respectful.

It used to be said that freedom of the press was really only for those who owned one, but that no longer applies. The cyber world has changed how we debate and communicate, and gun owners need to use this resource to its maximum. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are tools that every person can use to advance our cause and help inform others about the issues and about the candidates. Online groups are an important way to learn and pass along information, and to increase our numbers. And individual email lists can be used to communicate directly with allies about campaign events and opportunities to get involved.

You do not need a political party or a campaign to host a political event. Having friends and neighbors to your home for a political party is a great way to share information. Often, if you contact local candidates and work with their schedules, the candidate will make time to attend these events. This level of personal commitment to an issue and a candidate can have a big impact on attendees. Don’t hesitate to invite those who are undecided on the candidates. Those are the people we most need to influence.

Next month, I will discuss the importance of volunteering and working for the individual candidates as well as getting involved with NRA-ILA’s campaign operations.

This is a vital election, but with your active support this can be the year that we fortify our right to keep and bear arms for years to come.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Chris W. Cox 2014 Elections
Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
“Death by a Thousand Cuts” – Latest Ninth Circuit decision proclaims “selling firearms is not part or parcel of the right to keep and bear arms”

Second Amendment  

Friday, October 13, 2017

“Death by a Thousand Cuts” – Latest Ninth Circuit decision proclaims “selling firearms is not part or parcel of the right to keep and bear arms”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, lower courts across the country have expressed their disagreement with – or downright hostility to ...

Alleged Sexual Predator and Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein Threatens NRA (Again)

News  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Alleged Sexual Predator and Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein Threatens NRA (Again)

On October 5, the New York Times published an article titled, “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The piece detailed allegations that the mogul used his position of influence to make unwanted ...

Gun Banners Unmasked: The Vengeful Face of the Anti-gun Agenda Emerges Once Again

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Gun Banners Unmasked: The Vengeful Face of the Anti-gun Agenda Emerges Once Again

What happens to the 400 million or so firearms already in private hands? How does society actually benefit from his plan? Stephens doesn’t say. He apparently just trusts that things would eventually work themselves out ...

California: Governor Brown Signs Remaining Anti-Gun Bill

Sunday, October 15, 2017

California: Governor Brown Signs Remaining Anti-Gun Bill

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 424, the remaining anti-gun bill on his desk. 

Shall-Issue Concealed Carry Coming Soon to the Nation’s Capital!

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shall-Issue Concealed Carry Coming Soon to the Nation’s Capital!

It’s important to celebrate that law-abiding Americans are now closer than they have been in nearly half a century to being able to exercise their firearms freedom in our nation’s capital. That is real progress.

California: Governor Vetoes Dealer Storage Bill and Signs Open Carry Ban

Saturday, October 14, 2017

California: Governor Vetoes Dealer Storage Bill and Signs Open Carry Ban

Yesterday, Governor Brown took action on two of the remaining three anti-gun bills by vetoing Senate Bill 464 and signing Assembly Bill 7. 

Media Consumers Beware: Watchdogs Warn of Bias, Politics, and Influence Tainting the “News”

News  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Media Consumers Beware: Watchdogs Warn of Bias, Politics, and Influence Tainting the “News”

Project Veritas’s “American Pravda” series has focused on the media itself, with prior releases including segments on CNN producers and personalities casting doubt on the network’s own narrative about Russian influence in the U.S. presidential ...

Spokane Police To Use Suppressors To Protect Hearing

News  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Spokane Police To Use Suppressors To Protect Hearing

The Spokane PD has 181 service rifles in its inventory; using suppressors on them has the potential to reduce workers compensation claims and lawsuits from bystanders.

California: San Jose City Council to Consider Mandatory Locked Storage Ordinance

Monday, October 16, 2017

California: San Jose City Council to Consider Mandatory Locked Storage Ordinance

On Tuesday, October 17, the San Jose City Council will be discussing a proposed firearms ordinance that will require any person who possesses a firearm in their residence to store the firearm in a locked ...

Massachusetts: Gun Control Bill on the Move

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Massachusetts: Gun Control Bill on the Move

Today, without considering the unintended effects of such poorly thought out legislation, the Massachusetts state House of Representatives passed Amendment 1 attached to House Bill 3951 with overreaching language that would ban modifications commonly made ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.