Adam Kraut, a gun rights lawyer, fell about 4,000 votes short of the 71,000 needed for election, but earned 5,000 more than the previous year, a sign of the growth of the Second Amendment purists within the NRA known to many as “gundamentalists.”
With opinion polls showing U.S. public support for more gun control growing in the wake of mass shootings in recent years, the NRA is facing internal pressure from this little-known force that is demanding that the leadership concede zero ground to gun-control advocates.
Its rise has rattled the NRA leadership and threatens the association’s ability to hold on to moderate supporters and to make compromises that might help fend off tougher gun control measures, according to some of the two dozen gun-rights activists, policy experts and gun-control advocates interviewed for this story.The article adds:
The NRA leadership has put up obstacles to Kraut’s election, both with bylaws that make it harder for candidates not put forward by the nominating committee to get elected to the board, and by enlisting a senior member to campaign against him.The opposition to Kraut is because "[h]e has campaigned for the NRA to push for even more expansive gun-rights laws," and "[h]e wants to change NRA bylaws, such as imposing term limits for board members and mandatory meeting attendance, to renew its leadership."
I consider myself fairly well read as to gun issues, but I had never heard of the term "gundamentalists" prior to this article. According to the Urban Dictionary, its definition is "[t]he worship of guns; a modern religion based on buying, owning, carrying and shooting large numbers of firearms in situations where they are not really necessary." Apparently the word is taken from the title of a 2017 book by James E. Atwood entitled Gundamentalism and Where It Is Taking America. According to one review of the book, "[i]t is a moral and theological critique of a society that seems out of touch with reality on this matter and is politically deaf to the will of the great majority of Americans – including most gun owners – for reasonable laws that respect responsible gun use while limiting the human damage of today’s powerful weapons." As is generally the case for the modern anti-gunner, Atwood claims to be an avid hunter. But his additional "qualification" is that he is a retired Presbyterian preacher. So, after the usual anti-gun polemics, the book apparently takes a theological bent. According to the review cited earlier:
[The book] looks at the powerful psychology for many people in gun ownership; they come to regard a gun as an instrument of control and destiny. It thus becomes a form of idolatry. Indeed, the word “gundamentalism” is appropriated by the author to describe the ideology of “the divine right of guns in America.” He ponders how the gun industry and those acting on its behalf have made the Second Amendment of the Constitution an instrument to paralyze government action to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of the mentally incompetent, the criminally inclined and those motivated by bigotry and racism who would challenge American governance and institutions.Yeah, its not like there are federal and state laws prohibiting felons and those declared incompetent from possessing firearms ... except there are. And Atwood must not have bought a firearm in quite a while if he is not aware of the NICS back ground checks required for purchasing a firearm. Or maybe he is being intentionally dishonest. There is a thought.
The reviewer goes on to describe that "Atwood argues that this ideology has produced a 'gun empire' that fosters fear and insecurity in the American public to justify the logic and profit of 'arming everyone.' Such a commercial goal has fed the increase of violence and division across the nation – much of it based on racial animosity – that greatly complicates effective policing and crime fighting." It isn't racial animosity that results in the high number of young black men killing other young black men. It's called gang violence, and it is primarily limited to those cities with the greatest concentrations of minority groups living under Democratic party bosses.
While Atwood's book appears, from the review, to be just another in a long line of anti-self-defense obfuscations, there is a particular point of which you should take note because, I suspect, we will be seeing it raised more frequently. That is, Atwood argues that gun ownership has become "a form of idolatry." In fact, we saw this just the other day in Jana Reiss's article condemning gun ownership among Mormons. She quotes from an article by Spencer W. Kimball on the topic of "The False Gods We Worship." After a lengthy discussion of past and present types of idolatry, Kimball wrote:
We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance.Obviously Kimball was talking about the vast sums devoted to "national security" each year, and makes no reference to individual firearms or defending our families. But the implication that Reiss makes is that the homeowner that purchases a firearm for self-defense, or the citizen that carries concealed, is engaging in a form of idolatry, placing his or her faith in an object rather than the Lord.
While it is true that Christ stated “[t]hinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”, (Matt. 26:53.), he also told his disciples but a few hours earlier, "he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36). The difference is that in case of legions of angels, he was explaining why his disciples shouldn't try to prevent his arrest; while the purchase of the swords was for the disciples to be able to defend themselves.
While there are some examples of God or his angels striking down an enemy, most of the examples are more prosaic, with the Lord strengthening those fighting with earthly weapons to overcome an enemy. I wonder if the victims of the Haun's Mill massacre thought angels would intervene after they gave up their weapons to their attackers? And I fail to find examples in the scriptures where the Lord has directly intervened to stop a common mugging or burglary. "God helps those who help themselves," goes the saying, and that is the circumstance under which most of us live.
Getting back to the subject at hand, I suspect that we will see this theme--gun ownership as a form of idolatry--increasingly asserted by those in our congregations who are opposed to self-defense, and mayhap even preached from our pulpits. Be prepared to counter it. As for the LDS Church, and others, one response may well be to point out the use of locks or other physical security, including armed security or guards and the quick question of whether these are also idol worship. Christ constantly pointed out how his critics were hypocrites, and it is an effective rhetorical tool even today.
And, as one reader commented the other day, we are commanded that we should protected our families:
The Book of Mormon, Alma 43:47, states: "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion."
The Doctrine and Covenants, 134:11, states: "We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded."Forewarned is forearmed, so be prepared to counter this argument.