It has been my experience that many of the people who are opposed to firearms are either uneducated about the subject or unfamiliar with guns in a practical sense or both. During my time as the Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, I often met people who were opposed to firearms of any type in private hands. After showing them the museum, talking with them, and helping them understand what firearms are, how they work, and what they are capable of, most changed their minds.
The viewpoint of the non-gun public is not helped by the number of ill-educated gun guys out there who do not aid our cause. Fortunately, the NRA has helped in the education of many hundreds of thousands of the nation's gun owners. Unfortunately, it is also one of the largest rabble-rousing organizations in the country.
An instance from my personal experience -
Just about a year ago, during the run-up to the 2010 elections, I got a phone call. The caller ID said "National Rifle Association." I thought, "OK. Another fund-raising call..." Knowing that our number would stay in the auto-dial rotation until I acknowledged the call, I picked up the phone. Little did I know, this was not a fund-raising call. This was a get-out-the-vote call...
The very nice woman on the line dutifully read from the script in front of her, trying to convince me I should be terrified that President Obama, et al, was going to sign a treaty to restrict our gun rights. I told her to stop right there. I proceeded to tell her several facts:
- I am a life member of the NRA
- I am a gun owner.
- I support the right to own firearms.
- I voted for Barack Obama for President.
- I am a registered Democrat.
- The treaty to which she refers had not been presented to the US Senate, the body of which has to approve said treaty by a 2/3 vote.
Apparently, I'm not the only one...
Since then, I have not heard a WORD from the NRA. Well, the National, that is. The local chapter gives me a call once a year for their banquet. I also have some occasional communications with the National Firearms Museum as I know the Curators.
As I was saying, I have not received a phone call from the NRA in almost a year. They appear to have removed me from their mailing list, as well. I still look forward to my American Rifleman. Granted, I skip past the bits by Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox... and the ads for gold... and the ads for "Commemorative Firearms"...
Amazing. I got through all of this and didn't mention Glenn Beck...
EDIT (1/26/2012): Noticed in my page stats that someone got here by searching for the term "national rifle association stop the calls". #winning