Gun Control: What Does the NRA’s Open-Carry Article Teach Us?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

The National Rifle Association is dealing with a poorly timed publicity problem after an article published by the NRA’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), drew media attention for calling open-carry demonstrators in Texas “downright foolish.”

The headlines are cause for concern within the NRA because they appear to show a divided and self-critical NRA rather than the staunch pro-gun rights face that gun supporters have come to expect. This is ideal ammo, if you’ll excuse the pun, for gun-control proponents who can use the article as evidence that perhaps even the NRA thinks they’ve gone to far — a clearly problematic and unintended message from the gun lobby.

Yet that is, to an extent, exactly what the article said. The framing of it is also important though; the context within the whole article is worth discussing for the sake of its implications. Basically the article says that open-carry demonstrations en mass, as they were being seen in Texas, are simply bad strategy for the pro-gun community. In reining in the more extreme factions likely to drive away voters and alienate other neutral members of the public, the article was seeking a more moderate approach for the sake of better political results. This is not something you often see from the NRA, which is not known for being a particularly nuanced political organization.