The NRA isn’t just under attack in the opening salvo of this political season because it stands steadfastly in defense of our right to keep and bear arms. The NRA also is under an unprecedented assault right now because, by stubbornly refusing to give up this most fundamental of rights, the NRA is taking a stand upon a cornerstone of individual liberty that, by default, also protects the very nature of American freedom.

Activists or politicians who want to reverse the American experiment in individual freedom know that to accomplish this, they must dislodge the cornerstone of American freedom that is the Second Amendment. To do that, they must take out the NRA, because no other organization stands taller and stronger for the Second Amendment than the NRA’s more than 5 million members.

This is why so many in the elite media, and anti-Second Amendment politicians who want to control you, are now vociferously targeting the NRA. They want to make fundamental changes to America. To do that, they don’t simply need political victories; they need to irrevocably destroy the NRA so they can then effectively blot the Second Amendment from the U.S. Bill of Rights.

This is the reason why they won’t stand for any real solutions that might bring Americans together. Doing that wouldn’t destroy the NRA-it wouldn’t give them a clear playing field to politically do what they want to do with your body of rights.

Working toward real solutions would mean working with and even agreeing with the NRA. They can’t have that. To their way of thinking, that would legitimize the NRA, an association they see as a political enemy.

This is why they don’t really want to target the actual problem — in sum, violent criminals — as that would take the emphasis off of guns. Doing that would leave the cornerstone of freedom that is the Second Amendment intact. If this most basic of individual rights is left in place, they know they’ll effectively be blocked from making other radical changes to America.

This is the fundamental reason why knowing where a politician stands on the Second Amendment can also tell you a lot more about that politician’s convictions. It’s also why voting on this one issue alone protects much more than the Second Amendment.

This, in fact, exposes the underlying reality that the gun-control movement has never really been interested in making America into an even safer nation. It’s why the mainstream media is loathed to even report that homicide rates have largely been falling for decades as gun sales have skyrocketed and the number of people who carry concealed has grown almost exponentially.

These gun-control groups must be aware that the most dangerous places in America today are consistently those with the most stringent gun-control laws. Yet, instead of trying to understand why some areas in America are safer than others, they’ve opted to blame law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals in the areas that gun prohibitionists largely control.

For them, it’s all about their political agenda. They aren’t that interested in stopping sociopaths or reducing gang violence. They are first and foremost interested in disarming America. They don’t care if “gun-free” zones are victim zones that a shocking number of mass murderers have targeted.

They are focused on control-not what they like to call “gun safety.”

So no, this isn’t just willful ignorance on their part. It is callous and malicious calculation.

To put it bluntly, the politicians and the heads of the organizations that want guns severely restricted, banned and even confiscated realize that you and the other 5 million members of this organization are standing in the way of their power. They are willing to try to defeat you at any cost.

In times of tragedy, it is more important than ever to remember that your NRA stands steadfastly upon a cornerstone of American liberty. And it stands stronger with your help.

Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, NRA