Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I've been a member of the NRA for quite a long time, probably more than 20 years. In that time, I've seen a lot of both good and bad happen to gun owners. Clinton's gun ban, as well as the town of Kennesaw GA passing an ordinance that every home must have a gun in it. We all know that nothing happened to the crime rate while my AR was illegal. Care to take a guess at what the crime rate in Kennesaw has been since that ordinance was passed?

In that time, and in light of current pending legislation where the NRA and the Dumbocrats have agreed in principle, I wonder if the NRA is the best choice to invest in the defense of our gun rights. The Assault Weapon Ban was passed on their watch. Lots of other minor things have happened in the past 20+ years as well, and that fact has many gun owners, especially the ones who take the purpose of the 2nd Amendmentseriously, wondering if the NRA has their best interests at heart. They wonder if the NRA is worth the investment in defense of own rights. They wonder if the NRA is looking out for them, since they don't shoot an expensive side by side shotgun or a blued steel and walnut Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 or .270. It has appeared in the past that the shooters of military-style weapons, which are what the 2nd Amendment was meant specifically for, are sacrificial lambs in terms of legislative politics. I'm not sure that's true.

Let's face it: up until gun owners got out and voted the bums out, and really made the Dumbocrats bleed about a dozen years ago, the NRA was fighting a defensive fight. They took the offensive from time to time, but most of their time and money got spent fighting the restrictions that the legislature that the Dumbocrats controlled for about 30 years came up with. It was rare that there was pro gun legislation to get behind, and by the time it got through the process, there were so many other riders attached that most of the time they couldn't continue to back the law.

The NRA is the big dog of the gun lobby. There are over 3 million members, which gives the NRA quite a lot of political clout. Now that some of the most anti-gun legislators have been voted out, primarily by gun owners, the rest of congress and the senate are listening to what the NRA lobbyists have to say. They may not do what gun owners want all the time, but they may refrain from doing what we don't want them to do. Out of respect or fear...who cares. Get 'em doing what we want.

So the question now is, does the NRA have all gun owner's rights equally in mind? I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the NRA being the standard bearer for all weapons equally. I can't point to anything off the top of my head that makes me say that, but its a gun feeling that I can't shake. Perhaps its because the hunting arms are easier to defend, or at least they were. Now that the hunting groups are coming under increased fire as well, things may be evening out. That said, now that the NRA can go on the offensive on occasion, so they should have the chance to try to get some good black rifle legislation passed. I'll back 'em all the way and back if they make that happen.

Are they the best choice for defending your rights with your hard earned ducats? I'd like to examine that a little bit. The implied question here is "are there better choices to give your money to?". Wow...I finally get to use something I learned in College: opportunity cost. Since you do not have unlimited funds to spread evenly amongst all the possible choices, you as the individual donator (donateist?) must choose where your funds are going to be spent. That's opportunity cost: doing one thing with your money means the opportunity cost of that action is that you can't use that same money somewhere else. There are lots of other gun groups to join, in national, state, and local forms. Here's the thing, though: none of them come close to rivaling the NRA in membership. There may be a couple of them that have a few million members, but the NRA is the beast. They're also one of the oldest, if not the oldest, which means they have their lobbying efforts down to a science.

If you have the funds to join several groups, then by all means, do so. If you're a gun owner and you're not doing something to defend your rights, then you're being a tick on the rest of the gun owners that are. I'm not saying you must be a member, but with membership fees at a paltry $35 a year, there's not much reason not to join up. As long as the NRA is the big dog on the porch, I see little reason to avoid being a member. While other groups will surely be working hard to preserve your rights, being a member of the biggest organization going really makes the most sense and puts the most effort out.

I have worked for a couple companies that have made a similar mistake: they have a disagreement with a vendor, and decide to drop them. The question that doesn't get answered is "Great. Now what? What are we going to replace the hole you just put in the inventory with?" Ya gotta bring something in, because you just caused a headache for yourself. If you haven't, you probably didn't need to carry that line in the first place. That's not the case here: ya gotta replace the nothing with something. I suppose the bottom line is, if you're a gun owner, join the NRA. If you can't do that for whatever reason, give your support to another group. Now is the time for gun owners to stand tall. Things are not likely to get better without a lot of work, but they can get worse in a heart beat. Do something.

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