There’s a joke that goes around in a number of forms about how the NRA is actually “anti-gun”. Here’s one:
There’s a lot of truth to that, unforunately.
Back before about the mid-80’s, we were generally losing on gun rights. Then Florida became national news with their “Shall-issue” CCW law (they weren’t the first, but theirs made national news) and that started spreading. The “high water mark” federally was mid-90’s with the AWB and “Brady Bill.”
Before that “tide change” it was entirely reasonable to attempt negotiation to slow a decline that many, even among folk who favored gun rights, thought was inevitable–a “put off the end as long as possible” type thing. Give up a little bit in the hope that it will satisfy them for a while longer made sense in those circumstances.
There’s a scene in the late Jerry Pournelle’s book “Jannisaries” where the defenders of a castle are invested by a far larger army. They did not have enough men to mount a sufficient defense so, when the siege train of the attacking army rolls up, the “Eqetassa” (think “Countess”) tells her military commander to “Make a good bargain for our people.” That, for a long time was where we were when it came to gun rights. We were losing and it made sense to make the best bargain we could to retain what we could.
The problem is, the tide has turned. Overall, we’ve been winning on the gun rights side for decades now. There are only a very few holdouts to “shall issue” and “constitutional carry” is spreading. (I’m waiting, Indiana.) More people are being allowed to carry more guns in more places than ever before. And while the very blue states continue to pass more restrictions, the rest of the country has been relaxing them right and left.
And in those places where the new restrictions have been passed? We’re seeing massive non-compliance. Whether it was magazine capacity limits or bump stocks (<sarc>thank you, President Trump, for implementing more gun control than Obama managed in eight years</sarc>), a lot of people are neither turning them in nor destroying them.
The NRA, however, is still in that earlier mindset, the “eventual loss is inevitable so we’re just trying to slow it down” approach. They’re wrong and they can’t seem to wrap their institutional mind around the change.
Kind of sad, really.