2019 GRPC Presentation

Thanks to Paul Lathrop of the Polite Society Podcast, I have a YouTube of my GRPC presentation. I posted the text of it earlier but this lets you hear it warts and all.

I am not a public speaker. I do much better one on one. However, at the risk of tooting my own horn, I think I did OK.

My GRPC Presentation

Another Gun Rights Policy Conference is done and in the books. This year’s conference attendance set a record with over 1,100 attendees. Over 100,000 watched it live on Facebook where it was livestreamed. GRPC set another record with 91 speakers. I was one of the 91 and spoke on the panel that covered using new media to advance gun rights.

Below is my presentation as delivered. In a few days, there will be video up on YouTube of this and the rest of the presentations.

Good Afternoon!

I’m John Richardson of the blog No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money. I’m also a co-host of the Polite Society Podcast.

I had a rude awakening a month and a half ago. I woke to find that Google’s Blogger had taken my blog down and was threatening to delete it. I could not even access it to backup my nine and a half years of work. My blood ran cold at the thought of losing all that work.

I was erroneously accused of violating the terms of service for selling or facilitating the sale of a regulated item. I was put in the same category as drug dealers and other purveyors of prohibited or regulated items.

I immediately appealed and I got tremendous support from the gun rights community. Dave Workman wrote an article for Liberty Park Press. Tom Knighton covered it on Bearingarms.com. People aimed tweets at Google and Blogger. There were posts about it on Facebook. Two days later, I got a email from Blogger saying, in essence, “Ooops. We made a mistake. You didn’t violate anything. So sorry.”

I tell you this story not to gain your sympathy. I tell it to show how we are at the mercy of big tech oligopolies. There have been plenty of stories about gun rights supporters being suspended or banned from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You know, like SAF. We have seen the demonetization of firearms-oriented YouTube videos. Thanks to leaks, we know that through the use of algorithms and key word lists there is a conscious effort to suppress our voices in advocacy of the Second Amendment, self-defense, and gun rights.

I got complacent and we as a community have gotten complacent. The social media giants made it so easy to be involved in social media that we forgot something. That something was that if you don’t control the means of getting the message out, it can be turned off at a whim and you are suppressed.

I decided never again. I bought my own domain name and thanks to my friend Bill Chachkes of Firearms Chat Podcast, I was hooked up with a 2A friendly host – Patriot Hosting.

We need to do three things if we want to continue getting the message out. First, we need to control our hosting and not be dependent upon companies that will sell us out in a heartbeat. Second, we need to explore going back to older technology that is beyond the control of the tech oligarchs. By this I mean firearms forums and perhaps even old fashioned bulletin board systems. I should clarify that I’m not advocating going back to 2400 baud modems to dial long distance to a favorite gun board. Finally, seek out and use newer alternatives like MeWe, Full 30, and Declan McCullagh’s “Talki. Ng”.

The late Professor Brian Patrick who spoke at GRPC a number of times called how we communicate the anti-media. He spoke and wrote about this extensively. Professor Patrick credited horizontal interpretive communities and how they communicated for the passage of shall issue carry laws in Florida and elsewhere. In non-social science speak, this means gun rights supporters and potential allies talked to one another, planned their strategies, and organized through the use of newsletters, forums and bulletin board systems outside the notice of the mass media. The key phrase here is that they talked to one another. Moreover, they talked to one another as equals. It was not top-down like our opponents.

You may never want to be a blogger, a podcaster, a YouTuber, or any other type of content creator. Nonetheless, you can help out those of us who are by providing us with leads, tips, and other information. Some of my best blog posts have come due to this. We are all in this together, we are a community, and we all can help one another protect, preserve, and enhance our Second Amendment rights.

Agenda Released For 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference

The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms have released the tentative agenda for the 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference. The conference is being held starting this Friday evening in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency – O’Hare Airport. While pre-registration is now closed you can register at the door.

You can find the agenda here.

There will be plenty of gun rights leaders from around the country with whom you can mix and mingle. There will also be these guys.

11:15 a.m. Using New Media to Advance Gun Rights
Charlie Cook, YouTube host, Riding Shotgun with Charlie
Don Irvine, chair, Accuracy in Media
Paul Lathrop, Polite Society Podcast
John Richardson, blogger, Only Guns and Money Blog

If you can’t make it, the Polite Society Podcast will again be livestreaming the entire conference. That can be found on the Second Amendment Foundation’s Facebook page and will be broadcast in 2 hour segments.

“Be Like Kim Kardashian” – My Presentation At 2017 Gun Rights Policy Conference

I teased people before my presentation on the Using New Media To Advance Gun Rights panel at the 2017 GRPC that I would be talking about Kim Kardashian.

And I did.

You can read and see my whole presentation below. I do think it is important that we adopt all forms of social media to inform and persuade the Millennials and iGeneration about freedom and the Second Amendment.

Hi. I’m John Richardson.

I have the gun blog No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money and I’m a co-host of the Polite Society Podcast.

In past years I’ve spoken about how bloggers have worked to advance gun rights, how they’ve exposed gun walking in the Obama Administration, and also how we can use new media as a tool to fight the enemies of freedom ranging from the Mainstream Media to the well-funded gun control lobby.

This year when I was putting together my notes for this talk I thought about things like fake news, the bias of the mainstream media, how balanced in their lexicon means always quoting a gun banner in reference to crime, and how ridiculous it is that the media takes anything Gabby Giffords says seriously.

However, last Saturday morning while I was sitting in bed drinking my coffee I watched a report on CBS Saturday which encapsulated what we in the gun rights community need to do: we need to become Social Media Influencers.

Put another way, we need to become like Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian. I know you are probably saying right now that you can maybe understand Trump but a Kardashian? Really?

Think about this – you have a young woman with virtually no discernible talents, with no education past high school, and no employment history to speak of who got upwards of $1 million for merely attending a party due to the attention she draws.

That is social media influence. We may think it is absurd but it is the new reality.

Big business understands this. They have made it a $1 billion annual industry because it conveys authenticity and because it goes around the gatekeepers to put their message directly into the pockets of Millennials and Gen. Z aka the iGeneration.

The reason I care and you should care about reaching the Millennials and the iGeneration is that we are in the long war. If we don’t reach them with the message that gun rights are important, that the shooting sports are fun, and that our opponents are the enemies of freedom, then the Second Amendment will be effectively dead within our lifetimes.

The Millennials and the iGeneration don’t read newspapers. They don’t watch network news. Half the time they’ve replaced cable with Netflix and Amazon Prime. They don’t have landlines and their cell phones are more often used to text than to talk to friends. More importantly, they don’t trust traditional media and they value authenticity. This means they give greater weight to user-generated social media than virtually anything else.

The other thing to understand is that there is New Social Media and Old Social Media. The latter would include things like blogs, podcasts, Facebook, and, to some extent, Twitter. New Social Media is centered on things like Instagram, SnapChat, and Periscope with YouTube somewhere in between the two. To give you an idea of the reach of Instagram as a means of social influence, the Kardashian-Jenner daughters have 410 MILLION followers combined.

So how do you use it?

Number one – download the app to your smart phone and register an account.

Number two – start posting pictures when you take a new shooter to the range. Or alternatively, post pictures from GRPC. Just make sure to put hashtags with them. You know – those little cross-hatched number signs with a word or two after them. Stuff like “#newshooter” or “#grpc2017”.

Number three – if you feel this is beyond what you can do, enlist your kids and grandkids. Take them shooting and have THEM post the pictures to their accounts.

Finally, keep it fun and keep it light. If we need serious, we have people like Alan Gura for the legal stuff, Dr. John Lott to challenge the anti’s statistics, and my friend sociologist David Yamane for studies on GunCulture 2.0.

We can win at this because we are the real grassroots. Social media influence comes from below and not from above. But we need to start doing it NOW.

I will be posting my notes and associated video from the 2017 Gun Rights Policy Conference throughout the week.

GRPC 2015: Using Media To Advance Gun Rights

I was honored to be asked to be on a panel at the 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference. The topic of our panel was “Using Media to Advance Gun Rights.” Also on the panel were Charles Heller of Liberty Watch Radio, Don Irvine of Accuracy in Media, Herb Stupp of New York who had been part of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s cabinet, Cheryl Todd of GunTalk AZ, and Dave Workman.

Below is the text of my speech. I would welcome comments and criticism.

Hi. I’m John Richardson.

This morning I plan to tell you how I as a citizen journalist use the Internet to advance gun rights and how you can use it too. As the representative of New Media on this stage this morning, first let me tell you how I got started.

I had been a longtime reader of blogs. I finally decided in May 2010 that I could do just as well as anyone else and started my blog, “No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money.” The name was a play on the Warren Zevon song, “Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money”. I’m a – not a lawyer – hence the name.

I didn’t have many readers at first but I just kept plugging along. Then something happened that gave my blog a big boost: Alan Gura won the McDonald case and then using this ruling, the SAF and Grass Roots North Carolina sued North Carolina to overturn the ban on firearms during declared states of emergency.

I saw it as my mission to report on the details of this and the other McDonald follow-on cases. I worked hard to provide background information so that readers would have a really good understanding of the issues. I felt that if people who supported gun rights had better knowledge than that provided by the mainstream media then they could argue our side more persuasively.

Fast forward to today, 4200+ blog posts, 1.7 million visitors later, and there have been many more cases and a good number of wins. Somewhere along the way I added the role of podcaster to my efforts on behalf of the Second Amendment. I am now a co-host on The Polite Society Podcast which is livestreaming this conference.

My blog as well as the podcast does four things: it educates, it informs, it advocates, and it entertains. The first three help advance the cause of gun rights while the fourth is just because we all need to laugh a bit especially if it is at the expense of the gun prohibitionists!

Let me give you some examples.

Our podcast The Polite Society Podcast has a regular feature called Defensive Gun Uses. We compile instances of how a lawful gun owner has used a firearm to defend him or herself and their family. The examples we have often involve robbery or a home invasion. We look at what the person did right and what they did wrong. We don’t sugarcoat it as this is essential education on the rights and responsibilities of gun owners.

The best example of the blogosphere informing people that helped advance the cause of gun rights was the work that David Codrea, Mike Vanderboegh, and Dave Workman did in exposing Operation Fast and Furious which started right here in Phoenix. It was bloggers that connected whistleblowers with Congressional investigators. It was bloggers that introduced the whistleblowers to Sharyl Attkisson so that she could air their stories on television. Many other bloggers including myself took the ball put into play by David, Mike, and Dave and ran with it. If the scandal – and it wasn’t some botched sting operation – gained legs, it was due to the efforts of New Media – not Old Media.

We in the New Media are open about our efforts to advocate on behalf of gun rights and the Second Amendment. Back in 2011, ATF was soliciting public comments on whether to implement a reporting requirement that would force border state FFLs to inform them when someone bought more than one semi-auto rifle within a five day period. The gun control lobby had a letter generator, we didn’t. With the assistance of one of my readers, we set up a letter generator with a pre-written letter. Our letter generator sent 3,203 letters to OMB opposing this power grab. ATF still implemented it but by God they couldn’t say there was no opposition!

I don’t think I need to give examples of how blogs entertain. There are just too many.

An old journalist once said, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those that own one.” Well, as a blogger and podcaster I do own one. And thanks to the Internet so does everyone in this room.

When you post pictures of yourself taking a new shooter to the range on Facebook, you are advancing the cause. When you post a picture of a new gun you bought to Instagram, you are normalizing guns. When you tweet a link to an article that is pro-gun, you are spreading the message. Let’s not forget Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube. Posting pictures or videos of successful hunts, reloading benches, etc. help advance the gun culture.

If there is one message I want to leave you with this morning it is this: We are in a cultural war against strong, well-funded, top-down opponents. They have the mainstream media on their side. We have the grassroots. New Media gives us the tools to conduct our cultural guerrilla war, build our grassroots support, and spread our message of self-reliance, freedom, and gun rights.

Thank you for your time today.

The Polite Society Podcast livestreamed both days of the conference. I was able to excerpt my presentation. While the crowd on Sunday was not as large as that on Saturday, it was certainly more people than I had ever spoken to before. Click on the “Watch highlights” to see my portion of the presentation.

Other New Media Efforts

Sometime last year (or maybe the year before), Breda of Breda Fallacy fame made the statement that blogs are dead. While I disagree with this statement, it did get me to thinking of other ways to help influence the gun rights debate through the use of “new media”.

Noticing how much time the Complementary Spouse and her friends were spending on Pinterest, I set up my own Pinterest account. I set up boards for other interests like fountain pens, fly fishing, knives, bushcrafting, prepping, cool watches, and cabins as well as boards for pictures of firearms, gun rights, reloading benches, and camo painted guns. While I haven’t quite quantified it, the most popular boards in terms of follows and repins seem to be the pictures of firearms and the painted guns. This is OK because it still helps get the word out that firearms are OK. You can see my page and all of my various boards here.

Likewise I came across Tumblr and set up a page there. I am also using it to promote gun rights. When I see a story or video that seems appropriate, I’ll post it there. I know others use Tumblr more than I do but I’m still learning it. I’m not as active on Tumblr as on Pinterest but it is still an outlet. You can find my Tumblr page or blog here.

Finally, and most importantly, I am now officially a co-host on the Polite Society Podcast. This is the podcast formerly known as the Politics and Guns Podcast with Paul Lathrop. It records on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. The podcasts are available at the show’s page (above) or on iTunes (look under the old name, Politics and Guns Podcast). They also are available on YouTube on the pocast’s channel. The podcast also has a Facebook page where news reports and examples of defensive gun uses (DGUs) are posted.

Podcasting is new to me. It always feels weird to hear my own voice because it sounds different from the way I hear myself but I’ll get used to it. I am still learning quite a bit on how it all comes together. I know there is a way to listen to the show live but I don’t have the details yet. When I find that out, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, if you have a news item that you think would be appropriate for the podcast, feel free to share it with me or to post it on the podcast’s Facebook page. I know I’ll have an “official” podcast email address but I’m not sure what it will be. When I do, I’ll post it.