The Second Amendment is hipster. Millennials simply don't realize how hipster.
Happily, there are simple steps that the National Rifle Association can take to open the eyes of young people.
According to a 2014 Pew Research study, Millennials are no more liberal on guns than their parents or grandparents. So, the NRA has an opportunity to reach young people—with a message that resonates.
I'm a young woman who had the fortune of growing up in a gun family with a long history of hunting and appreciation for the great outdoors. I also spent the past year researching the Second Amendment and the Millennial generation for a new book. I have plenty of ideas for how the NRA can attract more young people, particularly young women.
By being transparent, the NRA could attract more youth and women to their ranks. Image source: NRA News
Here are three easy ways:
The Millennial generation places a high value on transparency. (This is one reason why Millennials voted for Barack Obama twice. They thought he would be transparent.) So, young people need to hear that gun owners have the Constitution and the truth on their side.
Most Millennials were not raised in a gun family as I was--watching my father clean and safely stow his firearms, or helping my mother prepare venison for dinner. Most young people, through no fault of their own, lack experience with law-abiding gun owners. Unfortunately, the mass media portrays gun owners as mad criminals. Millennials are led to believe that all gun owners are angry kooks.
The NRA can make inroads with Millennials by continuing to befriend and mentor them so that they have decent, law-abiding gun owners as role models. And, from there, show young people that the do-gooders who push gun control are actually hypocrites.
In this Monday, April 28, 2014 photo, police stand outside a residence in Chicago after 14-year-old girl was fatally shot and another girl wounded in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago. Politicians in favor of gun control do not live in the dangerous neighborhoods and rarely go anywhere without armed guards. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Richard A. Chapman)
Millennials who live in high-crime cities like Chicago would be very angry if they understood that the elites who want to ban guns do not live in the dangerous areas. They live in gated communities, fly in private jets and surround themselves with an entourage of armed guards.
Millennials would be outraged if they realized that gun snobs like Michael Bloomberg won't walk across the street without an entourage of armed men, while seeking to deprive young people of their God-given right to defend themselves with a firearm.
To attract young people, the NRA needs to show that it is the organization of transparency in the face of covert, power-hungry and hypocritical elites.
Promote Concealed Carry on College Campuses
Young women are aware that they are increasingly vulnerable to sexual assault on college campuses. Now more than ever, young women are open to hearing the NRA's ideas about concealed carry for self-defense.
The men who commit sexual assault often take more than one victim. The latest report cited by the White House showed that among the male college students who admitted to attempted rape, 63 percent confessed to an average of six rapes. While only 7 percent of college males admitted to attempted rape, the majority were serial offenders.
This subset of serially violent men is clearly bereft of morals or respect for the law. Thus, they will only be stopped by a threat stronger than a law scrolled on a piece of paper.
Kate Whitney, left, clutches the hand of Amanda Collins, right, in tears after the Colorado Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee passed a bill that would ban concealed-carry weapons on college campuses. (Image: Daniel Petty/The Denver Post)
Serial sex offenders will only be deterred by the threat of lethal force.
At the gym, I often see advertisements for women’s self-defense courses. A firearm is a far more effective means of self-defense than a fancy Judo move.
The Friends of NRA could attract more women into the movement with a dedicated, national campaign to eliminate gun free zones on college campuses and allow concealed carry on campus to reduce sexual assault.
Underscore Wild Game as Affordable, Organic
Emphasize hunting as a source of organic and economical food. Last month’s issue of American Hunter magazine cited surveys showing that the number one reason why women have been taking up turkey hunting in record numbers is because they want “to provide food for their families.”
Many Millennials are struggling in this anemic economic "recovery" as they face 16.2 percent unemployment and historic levels of student loan debt. At the same time, Millennials love clean and organic foods.
The economics of hunting as well as the natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free organic meat are very attractive to young people, espescially young women. The NRA should emphasize the health and economic benefits of hunting when communicating with Millennials.
Here's my parting shot:
Freedom is the glue that connects all generations. Senior NRA members should continue to collaborate with young people like myself who have been raised around guns. The Friends of the NRA is already making phenomenal inroads on this front.
Be persistent and don’t get discouraged. We’re embarking on an effort to change our culture and influence the hearts and minds of a generation of 95 million young people. It will take time.
On behalf of my generation, the Millennial generation, I want to thank all gun owners who volunteer within the Friends of the NRA to mentor and educate young people about the Second Amendment. Thank you for sharing your love for the great outdoors and shooting sports with young people like me and thank you for leaving my generation a legacy of liberty.
Learn more about how we can revitalize the Second Amendment. Check out Katie's new book, "Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama's War on Millennials and One Woman's Case for Hope." Preorder for an early bird discount at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and everywhere books are sold. Like on Facebook.
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