One of the nation’s most prominent Second Amendment organizations revealed Monday that it has seen an unprecedented surge in memberships and donations from young adults in the 18-to-20-year age group, possibly a reaction to suddenly finding themselves on the direct receiving end of a gun control push.
The Second Amendment Foundation just reported an eyebrow-raising 1,200 percent increase in traffic from young adults that has occurred over the past three weeks. It apparently has been spurred by moves to restrict their gun rights in the wake of the tragic mass murder at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That attack left 17 students and adults dead and others injured, and it has been followed by a surge in gun control efforts that include barring people in the 18-20 year age group from buying guns or ammunition at two national chain stores.
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The final straw may have been the signing of legislation in Florida last week that raises the minimum age for buying guns to 21.
The announcement came from SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. He issued a statement that acknowledged the foundation does not normally see that much interest from young adults.
But now, he posited, people in that age group have suddenly realized they are being specifically targeted and the reality of gun control has hit home, and hard. The suspect in the Parkland massacre, according to published reports, had sent all kinds of “warning signs” that he posed a danger, and law enforcement essentially did nothing.
“We normally don’t get that many members or donors in that age group,” Gottlieb acknowledged, “since the gun rights movement typically trends toward older Americans. But the 18- to 20-year-olds have never been specifically targeted before, and they are obviously alarmed.”
He said the sudden influx of young Americans into the gun rights movement is important, “not just to respond to the current gun control threat, but as the movement has gotten older, it is encouraging to see so many young adults getting involved in support of Second Amendment rights.”
Gottlieb told Conservative Firing Line that SAF’s sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has also seen a membership spike in that age group, though not as significant. He said CCRKBA’s interest increase is closer to 500 percent.
There is no way to overestimate what is happening. While the dominant media has focused on the high schoolers who are planning this Wednesday’s school walk out across the country to demand more gun control laws, young adults and their rights have been given little, if any attention. They can serve in the military, enter into contracts, get married and vote, but now their Second Amendment rights are essentially being rescinded in Florida, where the National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit, and by two store chains.
“While the media has paraded high school students to push a gun control agenda,” Gottlieb said, “the age group that is now being targeted by that effort is energizing, and showing that there is another side to this controversy.”
Two large store chains, Dick’s Sporting Goods and its subsidiary, Field & Stream, and Walmart decided unilaterally to not sell guns or ammunition to anyone under 21. They have been sued in two states, Oregon and Michigan, and it is likely young adults in other states will follow.
“It’s important to note,” Gottlieb observed, “that this interest surge has been ‘organic’ on the Internet. SAF did nothing special to make it happen. They have really done this on their own, finding us on the Internet and following up.”
He intends to personally reach out to young adults in the affected age group, so that they “know they are welcome in the gun rights movement.”
“SAF has always conducted leadership training conferences,” Gottlieb stated, “but now we’ll increase our emphasis on a younger audience, to integrate them into leadership roles.”