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View Full Version : Gun clubs and the NRA (or, my dilemma)


madoc
12-20-2005, 09:41 PM
A little bit of a rant. Feel free to set me straight, give me sage advice, or call me a monkey :MM

I have a little bit of a dilemma. So you can get the full context, some background. I am an avid shootist, gun collector, and weapon nut in general. I also happen to be a pacifist (a wonderful paradox of its own), a "Liberal" dirty hippy treehugger (okay not so much the dirty or tree hugger, but probably in most people's "hippy" category if they don't know or don't care to know how to differentiate between a dirty hippy and a relatively well groomed, very Liberal med student).

Being a "Liberal" (I technically prefer "liberal progressive with anarchic tendencies that believes in social liberalism and fiscal conservatism" when I label myself, but that is rather long, and not a simple stereotype :) ), I do not hold a very high view of the state of world affairs today, and tend to reject or at least disagree with most of the political beliefs of the other side. This extends to the NRA (or at least the NRA leadership and tactics).

Now, please don't get me wrong (or do, your choice) - I have nothing against most NRA members, or the idea of the NRA as an organization. I agree with many of the things that the NRA does (specifically related to firearms safety, and to some extent reigning in some of the super leftists that I unfortunately have to share my political weight with.) What I do have an problem with is the leadership of the NRA and the approach that they take towards politics and marketing. Their agenda is not one that I am comfortable supporting - and their political rhetoric is a little silly to me (I have a degree in ethics, philosophy and constitutional law, which means I recognize B.S. when I hear it. Of course, the adage that you know a politictian is lying when his/her mouth is moving seems to fit a great many politicians, who ever they are). I don't think you have to be a vociferous fear monger ("cold, dead hands" comes to mind) in order to be an effective representative, and so my biggest problem with the NRA is that the leadership that represents the majority of the NRA members casts their nets a little too widely when they are focussing on potential opponents (I could go so far as to say that the leadership is trying to encourage a bigotry). Thus the negative connotations associated with the whole of the left side of the political spectrum with NRA members, and vice versa. (IMHO)The general feel of political society today is no longer one of respect that differing opinions may be valid, and that everyone who associates themself with any particular stance automatically is pigeonholed into a wide ranging stereotype. In this case, every person with liberal views is automatically in league with HCI and the Brady campaign ( I could make the argument from the Left side that every person who voted for the current president is, rather surprisingly, in favor of torture and extrajudicial invasion of personal privacy). Nobody likes being pigeonholed.

Now, being an avid shootist, I would like to join a gun club and hang out with my fellow gun owners, blow off steam on the range and talk firearms (I can talk firearms all day with gun shop owners, but it always feels a little weird to me to be discussing how cool something is with the person who is trying to sell it to me). The problem is, every gun club in my area requires membership to the NRA in order to join. Now, I can use the local county run public saftey range, and the indoor range that I have a membership to, but they are indoor ranges with limited facility (the county range requires lead free ammo, which, being a 5.7 shooter, is a little hard to come by, and the small indoor range doesn't allow carbines like the PS90, as it is only a 50ft pistol range).

I understand that, since the gun clubs are private, they can require pretty much anything they want from their members - and that those requirements are generally approved by a majority of their members.

So the dilemma - maintain my intergrity towards my politics, and remain happy knowing that I am not supporting an organization that does not represent me, and is in fact openly hostile towards most of my expressed beliefs; or join up and be happy with access to good facilities (i.e. ranges out to 1000 yards, safe backstops, relatively expert range staff) and interesting people with markedly different approaches to life than mine.

Those of you who have read this far - what is $35 to you? If you were interested in joining some sort of organization that represented and catered to a specific interest of yours, and in order to join you would have to support in some way an organization that ran counter to your beliefs (say you wanted to join the best mountaineering/hiking/climbing club in town, and they required that you make an annual donation to Green Peace) - would you be wililng to do it in order to gain access to facilities otherwise unavailable to you?

WWYD?

btown02
12-20-2005, 10:29 PM
Everything in life requires a little give and take. I don't agree with everything the NRA has done. That being said, I've been a life member for over 25 years and as a life member I get to vote. Some body doesn't fit the profile of what you think should be running the NRA then vote for some one else. They may not be the best but they do fight for our rights to be able to play with our toys and $35 to be able to shoot isn't all that bad.

The Deviant
12-20-2005, 10:32 PM
If I were in your case, I wouldn't join the NRA (thus disallowing you from the local ranges). I am personally an Endowment Life Member of the NRA, and a Libertarian. I know they have supported at least two Democrats in my area in the last few years (I've personally received the postcards endorsing them). I do have my problems with them, such as their sometimes-compromising nature (Which is why I became a GOA life member later), but overall, I think it is worth our while to support the NRA in some way.

That said, I would support (for what that is worth :) ) your decision to not support them. Locally, we have a chain of supermarkets that has supported anti-gun (HCI) groups, and paid said groups to help defeat our right to carry a few years ago (luckily, we have it now, however). I will not support them. Even if I *had* to get something, and it was cheaper there, and it was New Years day or something, I still wouldn't go in there. I have written their management with my concerns, and that me and my family will never shop there, until they change their policy (oh yeah, they also have "NO FIREARMS" signage as well - legally useless against CCW, but still, the point that counts). If they ever change their tune, I'll gladly shop there. I draw a parallel to your situation here. Maybe you should join another pro-gun group, like the GOA, or SAF, who may more agree with your views (maybe not, just examples). Although this will not allow you range access at the ranges you mention that require NRA membership, at least you will hold true to yourself.

$0.01

201
12-20-2005, 10:38 PM
Yes

No NRA = No Gun Owners = No Ammo = No Gun Clubs = Unhappy Shooters! :(

Strong NRA = Gun Owners = Ammo = Gun Clubs = Happy Shooters! :p

panzermk2
12-21-2005, 12:28 AM
Well I'm NRA a life member.
Whatís more important? Your politics or your guns?
Politics=Compromise Always thatís what politicians do
GUN=No Compromise for me no matter what and yes I would meet the door kickers head-on

John Hicks
12-21-2005, 08:53 AM
There are alternatives to the NRA.

GOA does more on the political front, despite being smaller. They are a lot more aggressive and don't concede as much for politics (which can be good and bad).

In Virginia, we have the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), which has been very instrumental in getting stupid gun laws repealed in the last few years. Maybe your state has something similar.

I am a minor NRA member, but it's good just to keep me "on the rolls" as it were. It's good to have a large headcount even if everyone's not giving $100+ a year.

But more important than any membership is actually calling and writing all levels of governement to make sure they know what you think.

Just my 2 cents.

JH

madoc
12-21-2005, 12:28 PM
Great thoughts guys, I wasn't aware that there are other firearms organizations beside the NRA (poor research on my part). I'll look into it.

I'm not so sure being a member of the NRA is a negative to me, except for the whole leadership thing, which can and will eventually change. One of the things that I have been considering is joining just so that I can be a voice within the organization, and not just complain about it from the outside.

Cheers

btown02
12-21-2005, 12:30 PM
There you go. Get in it and change it from the inside. :D

Medula Oblongata
12-21-2005, 02:07 PM
I am a life (endowment) member of the NRA and I can honestly say that I disagree with 50% or more of their positions. I don't believe in comprimise, no matter the situation, and the NRA has capitulated on many forms of "gun control" since its conception. Call me stubborn, but either a liberty is a liberty (meaning that God granted it and it therefore cannot be taken away by man) or it is a right, which by definition can be dictated. I wholehartedly disagree with the NFA, "Brady" instant background checks, and having to get "permission" from anyone to excercise my constitutionally innumeriated liberties i.e. permits for purchasing or carrying firearms.

That being said, I also do not want violent criminals or the mentally ill (or those without the mental capacity to understand) to have firearms. The problem that I have, philisophically, with my own personal beliefs is that nowhere in the constitution is the authority granted to government to bar the posession of firearms to anyone. I am at a point in my life where I have to question not only my own personal beliefs, but what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the most sacred of docements.

I believe that the NRA can do better. I also believe that the only way to change things is from the inside. Therefore, not only do I vote in NRA elections, but I take the time to become informed as to whom I am voting for. I intend to throw my hat into the ring in the next few years and seek election to the NRA board. I know that I will never be elected because I refuse to comprimise and am not afraid to call a spade a spade, but sometimes the best we can do as the body politic is to raise debate and cause others to question the status quo. For this very reason I maintain my membership with the NRA and donate annually. To ensure that I have a voice in the future, even if it is diluted in the interest of having more ears hear the message.

If you have a philisphical difference with the NRA, I would do as other suggest. become a member (and wait 5 years for voting priveleges, or become a life member and be granted them immediately) and go to NRA meetings and speak out on your beliefs. I think you will find that most NRA members are very willing to listen to other views and are rarely hostile towards them. Maybe you will change a few minds and hearts. Maybe not. There is only one sure way to find out though, by trying. Where would this country be if all our Founding Fathers did was to sit around and complain about others views, instead of personally involving themselves in the debate and changing others opinions.

As for ranges requiring NRA membership just to be allowed to shoot there, I find it shameful. To me that is the same thing as saying "only those that kiss the Pope's ring (no insult or inference intended) can get to heaven." You would think they would be more interested in safety, instruction, and introducing more people to responsible gun ownership than furthering a political goal. But such is America today. To most people the only way to live is to conform. I personally reject such blatant laziness. I do and always will think for myself and rely on no-one else to tell me what to do or what to think.

kamo
12-21-2005, 02:16 PM
^ i agree. i havent joined any group but plan on soon.

libertyman
12-24-2005, 03:41 PM
I think it is important to do something -- even if it is to write a letter to your Senator or Representative. Letters mean a lot to politicians -- it means you have taken the time to act. Write when your rep votes the way you want to let them know you appreciate it. A brief letter, and to the point , is very valuable.
I am a life member of the NRA and also belong to GOAL in Massachusetts, though I don't live there. There is strength in numbers. We can never give up, and our inaction is the ally of the anti gunners.

Paratrooper117
12-25-2005, 03:31 AM
I, like alot of the people on this site, am an NRA Life member and I have to say Madoc, that you have to decide which is more important to YOU. I once had a teacher who required membership in GreenPeace to get an A. I took a B even though my grades were straight A's. I stood on my personal beliefs then as I do now. I may not agree with someones beliefs, but if they believe them enough to make sacrifices for them I will at least respect them.

TravisM.1
01-05-2006, 03:07 AM
Hi. First post, New user.

Do your research, and join the organization that best suits your tastes.
Maybe see if the clubs will allow you in with a GOA or equivilent membership.

Hombre
01-14-2006, 10:39 PM
madoc,

To an extent, I feel your pain. I am a member of the NRA. While I enjoy the priveledges that the NRA helps to ensure that we all maintain, I don't often agree with the leadership's rhetoric. Sometimes, I actually cringe.

But I understand that, in order for lobbyists to "fight the good fight" on Capitol Hill, they often have to swing like a pendullum in the other direction of their opposition. More often than not, as I am sure you are well aware, political decisions fall somewhere in the middle.

I too enjoy shooting at a range. For me, it's theraputic. Plus, I am a soldier by trade, a Military Intelligence officer by craft; it behoves me to maintain marksmanship skills. I enjoy this freedom (on my own private time) as a result of lobbyists who argue in favor of my (and our) ability to do so.

Chin up. We often have to take the good with the bad. I wouldn't try to convince you to become a member of the NRA, but I would ask that you attempt to understand the positions that they feel they must take and give the leadership a little credit for "fighting the good fight" when they feel they need to do so.

gundoc
01-16-2006, 01:29 PM
madoc ever hear of Newtons third law? for every action you have an equal and opposite reaction ...you have the Brady bunch on the left , and the NRA on the right...sitting in the middle will get you nowhere in modern politics. The NRA evolved.. it had to . like it or not they really are the only organization with enough political muscle to fight for our firearms rights...back in 80's they were very conservative , and looked what happened. we are all very lucky that the AW ban did expire thanks to the efforts of the NRA ...in all honesty do you think that those who support the "other side" believe all of the Brady bunch rhetoric? i say pay the 35 dollars ...enjoy the use of the range , and foremost enjoy your shooting ...or sell all your guns and give the proceeds to the Brady campaign...there is no longer any middle ground...........NRA life member since 1992

btown02
01-16-2006, 03:35 PM
madoc ever hear of Newtons third law? for every action you have an equal and opposite reaction ...you have the Brady bunch on the left , and the NRA on the right...sitting in the middle will get you nowhere in modern politics. The NRA evolved.. it had to . like it or not they really are the only organization with enough political muscle to fight for our firearms rights...back in 80's they were very conservative , and looked what happened. we are all very lucky that the AW ban did expire thanks to the efforts of the NRA ...in all honesty do you think that those who support the "other side" believe all of the Brady bunch rhetoric? i say pay the 35 dollars ...enjoy the use of the range , and foremost enjoy your shooting ...or sell all your guns and give the proceeds to the Brady campaign...there is no longer any middle ground...........NRA life member since 1992
gundoc, you're right 100%. Staying in the middle is like people not voting then complaining about who won the election. Everyone needs to jump in and make their opinion count, at the polls and in the NRA.