Del. Ken Plum: The Tactics of Fear

Del. Ken Plum/File photoI recently received a “Dear Mr. Plum” letter from the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).  Had it not been for the obvious marketing design of the envelope, I may have thought that he was writing to me about my monthly appearance outside his office as part of our End Gun Violence Vigil.

No, he was writing to invite me to become a member of the NRA! The mass marketing firm responsible for the mailing may have lost their contract after sending a letter to me.

I get many solicitations for membership and contributions in the mail, but I found this one to be particularly alarming. While it promised me an “NRA rugged duffel bag” for joining, its main pitch was to scare me and the thousands of other persons receiving it into signing a “National Petition to Protect Our Rights to Keep and Bear Arms” and joining the NRA. Signing the petition was important the letter explained because “the Obama-Biden-Bloomberg gun ban machine and their anti-gun media allies are waging all-out war on our gun rights!”

And if that was not enough, the letter went on to explain in bold type with underlining and capitalization that “They’ve vowed to fight on and never surrender…Not until they BAN tens of millions of commonly owned firearms…SHUT DOWN gun shops and shows…Impose crippling TAXES and FEES on firearms and ammunition…REGISTER gun owners…and DESTROY your right to defend yourself, your home and your loved ones.”

The tone of the letter was disturbing with its repeated references to “fight, defend, destroy, war, muscle, defeat.” All the bluster and loud noises are attempts to distract from the efforts on the part of many organizations to have common sense gun safety measures passed that leaves the Second Amendment in place but enhances safety in our homes and community. I continue to introduce a bill to close the gun show loophole as a way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and persons who are violent.

The purpose of the signed petition is explained later in the letter again in bold type: “When NRA is fighting gun control legislation and regulations, we can point to these signed petitions and tell your Virginia politicians that there are thousands of gun owners standing ready to elect the Second Amendment’s allies and defeat her enemies!” Unfortunately this fear tactic works with too many elected officials.

The theme of our monthly vigil at NRA on the 14th of each month is “We will not forget,” and it started after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. We will not forget, for unfortunately we are reminded too often about gun violence — last week it was the pastor and eight members of a church in Charleston, SC, who died from gun violence.

Not to adopt the tactics of others, but I do fear for the future of our free society if violence like this continues.

Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinion does not necessarily reflect that of Reston Now.

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