The NRA’s ‘No Compromise’ Stance: Not as New or Uncompromising as It Claims

The book “Vote Gun” discusses the politicization of gun rights in the United States. Written by Patrick J. Charles and published by Columbia University Press, the 488-page book addresses the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) stance on gun control and critics’ perceptions of the organization.

The author disputes the widely accepted notion that the NRA once supported tighter gun laws, arguing that the organization has consistently fought against gun control since the 1920s. Charles also aims to debunk the idea that the NRA’s power lies in its ability to mobilize voters against politicians who oppose it. The book examines the historical context of the NRA’s stance and covers the first eight decades of the 20th century.

Despite presenting a wealth of new material to support its main theses, “Vote Gun” has been criticized for its numerous small errors. The book also delves into the NRA’s rhetoric and logic, although it pays little attention to similar weaknesses in the arguments deployed by supporters of gun control. Charles’ portrayal of the NRA’s understanding of the Second Amendment as a modern invention raises questions about the book’s sources.

The book also addresses the firearms policies of several U.S. presidents and details the NRA’s objections to various gun control proposals. Charles argues that some of the policies the NRA opposed or accepted had questionable logic and practicality. Although the book is critical of the NRA, it fails to acknowledge the organization’s role in opposing certain gun control measures.