2A Leadership Matters by Tom Reynolds
February 13, 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 16th Amendment. Remember the parades, fireworks and celebrations? No? Perhaps because 16A made legal the Federal Income Tax and even the Left did not dare to celebrate it?
In a similar vein, January 15th of this year was the 10th anniversary of the SAFE Act. No celebrations there either.
In the first ten years after the SAFE Act was passed, there were few victories (if any) for 2A organizations - until 2022.
2A’s first ‘22 victory was indirect due to the legislature’s redistricting plan being overturned and replaced. Had the legislature’s plan prevailed, Republicans and Conservatives would have had a greatly reduced presence (almost invisible) at the state level. At the federal level, in the following November’s elections the new plan allowed NYS to gain enough Republican (pro 2A) seats in Congress to shift the majority power away from Pelosi and the anti-2A Democrats.
A second victory was directly related to 2A efforts. Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs had announced he was running for the newly drawn NY 23rd Congressional District - and it was his to lose. But he lost it on Memorial Day weekend when he announced that he was voting for some anti-2A bills in the House. SCOPE immediately swung into action. There are seven counties in the 23rd and SCOPE has chapters in all seven of them. The message from those SCOPE chapters to the Republican and Conservative Committee Chairs in those seven counties was to not endorse Jacobs. About a week later Jacobs withdrew, citing the loss of Republican endorsements.
After Jacobs’ withdrawal, it’s interesting to note the increased attention SCOPE got from political candidates from the governor on down to the county level. Politicians (Republicans anyway) learned that 2A supporters must be respected.
Then came the third victory in June; the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision by the United States Supreme Court. This changed the entire playing field along with the Heller and McDonald decisions.
It was a good Spring after ten years ‘in the wilderness.’ Unfortunately, it did not last long.
In response to Bruen, Governor Hochul and the Democrat majority in the legislature ignored the Supreme Court’s decision and passed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA). SCOPE explained the impact of these state infringements while vocally opposing them. The stage was set for a series of court decisions and appeals as the State utilized taxpayer funds while gun owners had to rely, financially, on large organizations.
This has led to a variety of lawsuits to which SCOPE continues to make financial contributions, both as an organization and SCOPE members as individuals. The extreme cost of a lawsuit is hundreds of thousands of dollars and SCOPE is only in a financial position to assist but not bring these suits. We must rely upon the NRA, GOA, NYSRPA and others with large memberships and “deep pockets”.
Gun owners’ activism rises and falls, but SCOPE still has a broad presence in the state, which left us in a position to oppose Jacobs and Hochul’s new laws.
Grassroots groups are important and SCOPE is one of the few that operates at both the local and state levels. Our chapters increase the possibility of a greater voice in the selection of our local and state elected officials. Many candidates appreciate the opportunity to speak to SCOPE members and look forward to high ratings by the county chapters. State and local level politicians are eager to meet with and hear from SCOPE; but this only happens because of the strong chapter network consisting of grassroots connections with these officials and their staff.
Key to strong chapters is the leadership at the chapter level. It’s vital to have volunteers step up and take leadership positions in order to allow SCOPE to continue its important work of defending the Constitution and in particular the 2nd Amendment, but also the 4th; 5th; 6th and 14th Amendments. These include: protection of our liberties against unreasonable searches and seizures; rights to a speedy trial with representation (consider many “January 6” defendants); and confronting witnesses; due process; and “equal protection of the laws”.
Taking a leadership position of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary or Treasurer takes some time commitment but is not an overwhelming responsibility. Other positions at chapter level are important but even less demanding. What may stop people from doing this is making the time commitment. But Americans have always been willing to make commitments to righteous causes and preserving the 2nd Amendment should be no different. And knowing you are contributing to the defense of our Constitution is a reward beyond estimation.
A year from now, we will be in the midst of a presidential election that will determine if our country continues veering to the left or it regains the direction on which our founding fathers set America. We need people to volunteer locally and at the state SCOPE level to begin preparing for us for this crucial battle.
When you don’t participate, you are saying to Biden, Schumer and A O-C, “here- take America and do with it what you will.” Because they will! And be happy to do so! Can you really accept their goals for our country? If not then join a local team of SCOPE volunteers.
If there is not a SCOPE chapter in your county, consider starting one. Ready to help you are the state officers and, in particular:
Don Smith, SCOPE Membership Chair
Feel free to email or call him.
If there is a SCOPE chapter near you, please get involved. More hands lighten the workload and give us the opportunity to make a greater impact. The county chairperson is listed in every Firing Lines.
We hope you will join us in our fight, not just to preserve our 2nd Amendment but to preserve our entire United States Constitution.