You’ve heard this before: Your rights are one election away from being lost forever, and the election in question could actually be just over 10 months away, in the first week of November 2020.

For the past half-year, we’ve been listening to candidates running to unseat Donald Trump, each trying to out-gun-control one another with some of the most outrageous, anti-rights rhetoric in the history of the gun prohibition movement. To hear this crowd, one might presume they all slept through high school civics where the Bill of Rights was discussed.

One candidate thinks gun owner licensing and registration is fine because we license drivers and register their cars. He can’t tell the difference between a right and a privilege. Another has suggested adopting gun control policies by executive order. She forgets there are three branches of government and none of them is a monarchy. A third, long since gone from the race to run for reelection to Congress, even advocated prosecuting and jailing people for resisting a national ban on certain popular firearms.

The disturbing thing is none of these people have been rebuked by any of their peers for their extreme proposals. Well, 2020 has arrived and it’s time to bring some much-needed adult supervision to this nonsense. But there’s a little catch — it’s up to all of you to do it. There is no room for slackers.

Anyone who thinks someone else is going to step in and make things right, while you don’t even know the name of your local representatives, is his/her own worst enemy.

Last month, we talked about this year’s national primary schedule and provided an “activist’s checklist.” You saved it, right?

Over the next 10 months, here are five mistakes gun owners cannot afford to make:

1. Instigate rather than lead — Some people are very good at getting others energized and angry, but then walk away before showing them how to channel the energy into action. This column endeavors to provide action items. Igniting anger without direction is wasted effort.

2. Let the “perfect” be the enemy of the “good” — Most of us know someone who rejects a political candidate because they’re not — in his/her opinion, anyway — 100 percent in alignment with everything Mr./Ms. Know-it-all believes or wants. Maybe the plan or candidate is only 75 or 80 percent and it’s never “good enough.” Social media is full of such people. Don’t be this person because you’ll never accomplish anything.

Someone who agrees with your worldview most of the time is someone who can be educated. The person’s opponent, who disagrees with your views 100 percent and hates everything you believe in, will not be educated and will only be happy to slam a door in your face. Let it sink in.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, at some point over the past seven months you’ve heard what the contenders think of your Second Amendment rights. Only you and like-minded people can stop them. It’s a big job and it requires full engagement. As the late Bill Jordan made perfectly clear in his book about gunfighting, there is No Second-Place Winner.

Here’s an idea. If you don’t think anybody measures up to your ideal, run for office. Study the issues. Assemble a platform. You may be smarter than you think you are. Short of this, be available to offer guidance to the candidate you’re backing.

3. Make excuses for dropping the ball — Don’t be the person who calls a major gun rights organization on the Monday before Election Day and asks for whom they should vote. The “I don’t have the time to read a newspaper” excuse is pretty hollow, since these days people read newspapers on their cell phones.

Likewise, saying “I don’t want my name on a list” is the least credulous argument of them all for not voting. Take this column’s word for it, if you own a car, a firearm, a house, pay your taxes, have a credit card … your name is on a list. Several of them, in fact, and “they” already know who you are.

4. Be a “Keyboard Commando” — Social media is filled with chest-thumpers; people who vow to “go down fighting” when all they really need to do is get active and vote. Sometimes, these people actually discourage others from voting because they are consistently negative about everything. (See #2!)

5. Think George will do it — We’ll put this another way. Would you miss your son’s graduation? How about your daughter’s wedding?

Defending your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is essentially the same thing. You need to “be there.” You need to do what it takes to make sure your friends and family “are there” as well.

Anti-gunners win by mobilizing people, and don’t kid yourself, they are good at it. If you belong to a local gun club, start working right now to make sure you get people to the polls this fall, and learn from your opponents.

Organize a “ride to the polls” effort involving your fellow activists to provide transportation to pro-rights seniors or disabled people — especially disabled veterans — in November. Use social media to publicize this and start a fund-raising effort to pay for gas.

Make sure people get absentee ballots if they cannot travel, or may be away on Election Day. November, after all, is in the middle of hunting season. This takes advance planning. Contact your county elections official for details you can then share on social media, so everything is done properly and in compliance with the election laws.

This year’s national elections really could be for all the marbles. Defending the Second Amendment means taking nothing for granted. Let the other side make the mistakes.

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