WashPost Op-Ed: The NRA Will Fall When Rural, Uneducated White People Die Off

October 22nd, 2015 4:46 PM

Adam Winkler, a liberal law professor writing in The Washington Post, argued that changing demographics in America will doom the National Rifle Association as the white majority shrinks and minorities grow in population. 

In Winkler’s piece, "The NRA will fall.  It’s inevitable," he explained: 

“The core of the NRA’s support comes from white, rural and relatively less educated voters. This demographic is currently influential in politics but clearly on the wane.” Using demographic characteristics to back up his claim, he says that whites who make up 63% of the population today will soon be outnumbered:

The fastest-growing minority group in America is Latinos. Between 2000 and 2010, the nation’s Latino population grew by 43 percent. Gun control is extremely popular among Hispanics, with 75 percent favoring gun safety over gun rights…Asian Americans also represent a growing anti-gun demographic…A recent poll of Asian American registered voters found that 80 percent supported stricter gun laws.

Thanks in part also  to the influence television news and the country becoming more urban and less rural, Winkler believes this will translate into a higher percentage of people supporting gun control:

Urban residents strongly prefer gun control to gun rights (60 percent to 38 percent), for reasons that aren’t hard to understand. When gun violence is on your television news every night and police are commonplace, people may come to view guns more as a threat than a savior.

Here’s something to think about – Winkler never once mentioned the African-American community in his piece, unless we are to believe “urban” is code for “black person.” Perhaps that’s because those statistics don’t help his narrative much.

Indeed, a recent Pew study  found 54 percent of blacks believe gun ownership does more to protect people than harm them, almost double the percentage two years earlier, and "blacks who prioritize gun rights over stricter gun laws had doubled since 1993."

Winkler also noted the main focus for the NRA prior to the 1970s were for the interests of hunters and recreational shooters. As hunting declined over the years, he says the NRA’s justification for gun ownership "shifted toward self-defense."

That’s very interesting, considering Winkler wrote in 2011 that leftist Black Panther Party members were “"he true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement" and that "no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers."

Why? Because in 1964, the Black Panther Party wanted to exercise their right “to use guns in SELF-DEFENSE in constitutional terms.” (emphasis added)  During the time the Black Panthers were fighting for their rights to use guns for self-defense, as Winkler stated earlier, the NRA’s main focus were the interests of hunting licenses and recreational shooters- meaning, they were not the first ones to support the use of guns in self-defense, nor were they the start of the gun rights movement. 

Fast forward about 10 years to the 1980’s. Winkler points out that during the '80s, crime rates were high, but crime has been on a "drastic" decline since.  He argues the self-defense argument doesn’t work:

Given that this drop coincided with a serious economic downturn, which is usually a predictor of an increase in crime, it is not unreasonable to predict that crime rates aren’t likely to climb significantly anytime soon.

Who’s to say the decline in crime isn’t the result of using guns in self-defense to potentially stop a violent crime from happening? A study by the Crime Prevention Center found that "11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, up from 4.5 million in 2007. The 146 percent increase has come even as both murder and violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent." It’s hard to believe this is pure coincidence. 

And if Winkler is so sure support for gun rights will die off with a certain demographic, and gun control laws will then soon pass, why does he bring up the need for the GOP to compromise on guns to appeal to minorities, if most gun rights advocates are going to die off soon anyway?