I got back from GRPC last night and just fell over. The combination of early mornings, long days, and late, late nights really takes its toll, but it is definitely worth it. Nowhere else do I have the opportunity to meet and talk with so many committed activists and leaders of the movement. At the SHOT Show every year I am focused on meeting with members of the industry and some of the "gun media." At the NRA Convention I get to see some of the rights leaders, but there is always so much going on and there are so many demands on all of our time that it is difficult to find a moment to really sit down and discuss the important issues of the day and work out strategies for cooperative efforts. At GRPC though, I get to hear ideas from dozens of the best and the brightest minds in the gun rights movement and am able to follow up on those ideas during breaks and at the evening receptions. Each night there are small groups of people scattered about the conference area quietly scheming, jovially sharing stories, and boisterously arguing into the wee hours. This networking and idea sharing is absolutely invaluable and the discussions, arguments and friendships often continue via the internet and telephone long after the conference ends.
I was a little disappointed with my presentation this year. I served on a panel focused on the expansion of carry rights and chose to discuss the importance of taking the high ground in the language we use to promote our rights. Those who have followed my writing know that I have long advocated that we, as a movement, must be more aware of the words we choose to use in arguing our cause, avoiding saying things like "we should be allowed to carry guns" in this place or that. We need to talk about repealing laws which disarm us in these places rather than conceding the authority and giving our opponents the upper hand with the word allow. Similarly we need to avoid phrases like "arming teachers," and "guns on campus." These are important issues and need to be couched in terms of "disarming" the law-abiding and creating safe working environments for criminals. We have the moral authority and must argue from the position of demanding the recognition of our rights. We should never allow our words to paint us as supplicants begging for permission to exercise our natural rights. The point I is that if we wish to win the fight for recognition of our right to carry arms when we choose, we must argue from our strength, not beg from our knees, and the words we choose are what determines that position.
Chris gave a presentation about the threats to our rights being generated by the drug violence in Mexico and now crossing the border into border states. This was Chris’ first time presenting at GRPC and I think he did a good job.
Now we need to do the follow-up work from the conference; adding all of those who requested it to our email list and mailing list, and making sure that the ideas and discussions started there continue and are turned into productive actions. No time to rest. The ’09 elections are just weeks away and the 2010 campaigns are already starting.