BEWARE AHSA! Its use to Attack/Attempt Weaken NRA & Divide 'Hunters' from 'Gunners'


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Connecticut Yankee
July 22, 2006, 07:36 AM
This article is an example of how AHSA is and will continue to be used to drive a wedge between the 'hunters' and 'conservationists' and the 'gun people'. Some of the points made by the writer and some of the issues discussed have merit but that is not the focus of this post. Please focus on how the AHSA is used as an introduction to 1. an attack on the NRA and 2. the setting up the interests of 'hunters' vs. 'gun people'. As we enter another political season the last thing we need is guys like this trying to peel off membership (he resigned) or support (money or Grassroots activities) from the NRA.

http://www.newwest.net/index.php/topic/article/10050/C41/L41/ (from "New West Travel and Outdoors"; in the article scroll to the bottom for comments from readers)

NRA Doesn't Represent Both Hunters and Gun Owners -Bill Schneider, 7-20-06

In June while at the annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, I went to a press conference held by an upstart conservation group called the American Hunters and Shooters Association, which has a pipedream goal of taking over representation of hunters and gun owners from the most powerful lobby in America, the National Rifle Association.

When I posted a report, Saving Hunters from the NRA, on what AHSA had to say at the press briefing, several devoted NRA members made some uncomplimentary comments about me and my article. They said I'd been duped by AHSA and should not give the group any creditability.

For the record, I really don't know if the AHSA truly represents the rights of gun owners, but that wasn't the point of the article. The point was: Imagine a little group like this trying to take on the goliath of politics. To this, I say dream on!

But all this made me think about the role of the NRA plays in preserving the future of hunting. In looking at today's political landscape, it seems like we might need another group to step up and save hunting before the NRA destroys it.

NRA worrying about AHSA is about like Google worrying about Lycos. But for some reason, the NRA, or at least factions within, views AHSA as a threat and employs its patented bullying style to comes after anybody who writes about it. Could it be that the NRA is worried that the gig is up and hunters will start to figure out they have been the ones who have been duped?

Again, for the record, I own lots of guns; I've hunted all my life (which is a long time); and I believe the Second Amendment is one of our basic freedoms we enjoy here in America, but I don't fret about the federal government breaking down my door to confiscate my battle worn 870 or my late grandfather's octagon-barrel 30-30, nor do I think all gun control laws, such as the ban on automatic assault rifles, are bad. Given that, here are a few thoughts on the NRA.

First (surprise to some of you who sent in comments), I was a NRA member for many years, but I left the flock when the gun rights group began to regularly support politicians making the Dirty Dozen lists for their views and votes on conservation issues such as protection of wildlife habitat. The politicians NRA supports are probably the worst enemies hunters have, which makes the NRA, regardless of its claims to the contrary, a contributor to the demise of hunting.

It doesn't take too much research to see the giant conflict among the NRA's mission. It's trying to represent both gun owners and hunters, but it can't do both because politicians the NRA puts into office and keeps in office do not represent both. They only represent gun owners.

One would have a hard time arguing the NRA has not done a good job of protecting the rights of gun owners, but in the process, the NRA is sacrificing the future of hunting. Bow hunters aside, all hunters are, of course, gun owners, and I have no problem with hunters belonging to the NRA to support the right to bear arms, but they shouldn't be naïve enough to believe the current management of the NRA represents the best interests of hunting. This may have been true thirty years ago, but not today.

By putting and keeping the enemies of hunters in high political places, the NRA supports unbridled development and reduction of access to prime hunting lands. Hunters need guns to hunt, of course, but they also need game animals and accessible hunting land.

ASHA, incidentally, has no qualms about stepping up to the podium and saying, without weasel words, that it supports keeping roadless lands roadless and designating prime hunting lands as Wilderness. I'll go out on a limb and say you'll never hear such straight talk from the NRA.

Many hunters who belong to the NRA tend to believe the endless barrage of political messages coming out of NRA lobbying efforts. When the NRA says vote for somebody, hunters often do it, incorrectly believing NRA supports the best interests of hunting when, in fact, the preferred politicos only support the best interests of gun owners and manufacturers.

It's a shame, actually, that politicians can't represent both hunters and gun owners. That's another long story for another time, but today, it rarely works that way.

This isn't breaking news. The NRA has been taking some lumps for months on this issue. Fellow outdoor writer Pat Wray of Corvallis, Oregon, sort of blew the lid off the issue of the NRA's conflicting mission last January with two articles on the subject, What’s the NRA’s beef with roadless areas? and NRA No Friend of Hunters.

Here's how Wray put it: "I know a man who raises snakes. His snakes are important to him, so he raises mice to feed to the snakes. He takes good care of the mice, because he needs lots of them to support his snakes. We hunters are the NRA’s mice. They want lots of us, too, but they worry because there’s always the outside chance we might start thinking for ourselves. So they keep us scared of enemies, or people they want us to think are enemies. Then we dutifully cough up money to help fight those enemies. Think about it: When was the last time you heard of a snake actually helping a mouse? We’re being tricked."

In response to Wray's original articles, the Gun Guys website where "everybody is a straight shooter," agreed: "One of the reasons we exist is simply to set the record straight on gun issues. For years the NRA has fed lies to the American people because it advances their agenda. And they’ve claimed to be the protectors of the American tradition of hunting. The problem is that they mislead hunters into thinking their actions will benefit hunting. All too often, hunters are foolish enough to believe them. In effect, the NRA is running one of the most effective scams in the country. They are promoting activities sure to decrease future hunting opportunities and convincing hunters to help pay for their efforts."

Last May, another outdoor writer Robert Chappell followed Wray's lead with a well-researched article, Missing the Mark, in the Milwaukee Shepard Express, which was published on the eve of the NRA annual convention in Milwaukee.

In his article, Chappell pointed out that "the NRA has supported conservative legislators intent on opening up wilderness areas, probably the most pristine hunting lands we have, to mining and drilling and the building of roads. In an attempt to justify the contradictory positions, NRA leaders have repeatedly asserted that building roads into natural, pristine habitat is actually good for hunters."

In support of this statement, Chappel quotes NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam as saying “Our dues-paying members are hard-working people who are unable to take large amounts of time off to enjoy the time-honored tradition of hunting.”

Arulanadam also claimed, according to Chappel, that modern-day hunters simply don’t have time to hike; they need to drive right up to the tree stand. The NRA spokesman also repeated, again according to Chappel, the "NRA dogma" that more motorized access benefits the elderly, young and disabled hunters unable to trek through the Wilderness. This is, of course, the same old line used thousands of times by industry groups fighting Wilderness designation.

"This would seem to go against the wishes of NRA members who hunt within those areas and fear the continued loss of habitat," concludes Chapel, "and many of those hunters aren’t buying it."

Chappel quotes John See, a lifelong gun owner and hunter in northern Wisconsin--and one of those hunters no longer buys the NRA line, “They (the NRA hierarchy) are concerned about guns, but I don’t know where they’re going to use those guns,”

See lives in Menominee, Wis., which he calls “NRA country,” but says he has no use for the NRA, nor does he worry about losing his guns. “I think that’s the biggest hoax the NRA perpetrates. I don’t think there’s any chance our guns will be taken away.”

Finally, Chappel goes back to talk to Wray, who originally blew the lid off the NRA scam of blurring the lines between interests of gun owners and hunters. “Right now, the NRA is actively working against the best interests of hunters,” Wray blasted. “It’s never been quite so obvious, quite so insidious, quite so dangerous as it is now. The NRA is using hunters, misleading hunters, and using their money in ways that will work against their best interests.”

After Wray's articles came out, he had to suffer the wrath of NRA criticism, but his point went unrefuted. I suppose this could happen to me, too, but as a hunter concerned about the future of hunting, it's impossible to avoid the same conclusion. The NRA does a great job protecting the best interests of gun owners, but it should come clean with its members and admit that it does not represent the best interests of hunters.

If you enjoyed reading about "BEWARE AHSA! Its use to Attack/Attempt Weaken NRA & Divide 'Hunters' from 'Gunners'" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Connecticut Yankee
July 22, 2006, 07:37 AM
Sorry, please note well keepandbeararms.com is the source through which I found this article to give credit where it is due.

bg
July 22, 2006, 12:31 PM
Please delete.

C. Rabbit
July 22, 2006, 02:35 PM
Again, for the record, I own lots of guns; I've hunted all my life (which is a long time); and I believe the Second Amendment is one of our basic freedoms we enjoy here in America, but I don't fret about the federal government breaking down my door to confiscate my battle worn 870 or my late grandfather's octagon-barrel 30-30, nor do I think all gun control laws, such as the ban on automatic assault rifles, are bad. Given that, here are a few thoughts on the NRA.

He seems to have proved himself a liar and fool rather quick.

They are trying to divide and conquer. To beat the darkness, we must shine a light onto it, and remove ignorance about the AHSA. I would remind hunters who might be swayed by this of what has happened in Britain.

CR

orangelo
July 22, 2006, 02:56 PM
Yeah, and John Kerry is a 'hunter' and 'sportsman' too.

The gun grabbers must think we are as stupid as they are to fall for such a ruse.

but I don't fret about the federal government breaking down my door to confiscate my battle worn 870 or my late grandfather's octagon-barrel 30-30,

Oh yeah? You mean Ted 'Swimmer' Kennedy's 30-30 ammo ban would have been fine with you? Jean Francois Kerry would have gone along with his drunken mentor's plans, and he's a 'hunter' too.

Hypnogator
July 22, 2006, 03:41 PM
Schneider does have a point -- gun rights and hunting rights overlap to a great extent, but are not the same. Suppose your congresscritter is staunchly for expanding wilderness areas and maximizing hunting opportunities, but is also staunchly for an "assault weapons" ban. Do you vote for him, or for another candidate who wants to urbanize hunting land, yet totally opposes gun control legislation?

To my thinking the NRA is on the right side of the fence, and efforts such as this one to draw away support for the NRA do a disservice to the hunters they claim to be protecting. It's like those GOA members who deride the NRA for not putting all their resources into fighting battles that they can't win. Like it or not, the NRA is the only 800-lb gorilla in the fight.;)

Baba Louie
July 22, 2006, 03:52 PM
As long as we all know and agree that the 2nd Amendment is all about hunting... :rolleyes: That's why Madison included words like "A well regulated militia" (I do so much hunting with my militia buddies donchaknow)... "free state" (well, there's always the pesky little hunting license fee of course, but other than that, it's free)... "shall not be infringed" (only a few limitations on qty of rounds allowed while hunting... but that's to give the ducks and deer a 'sporting chance') :uhoh:

Divide and Conquer. Sounds like they need (or want) a good quantity of members so Dems/Repubs/Whoever can say they have the "American Hunters" on their gun-grabbing (or at least gun-limiting) side. A wise ploy. Probably get a few takers as well. Wonder if they'll have firearms safety training classes, sponsor shooting/hunting competitions, publish a pretty good magazine or three, beg for money like there's no tomorrow and pack a clout in Congress that can turn the tide of a few elections and have a few million members? ;)

Kim
July 22, 2006, 04:04 PM
Well the NRA has worked to get laws passed to protect gun ranges. To be able to carry in State Parks and to protect hunting land with laws requiring States to provide more hunting land when they take some away. Plus you can not hunt without guns. And anyone who says they support the 2nd amendment then says he sees nothing wrong with banning automatic assault rifles shows he is either ignorrant and a liar. The so called ban had nothing to do with Automatic anything. And even if it did he most know automatic weapons are legal to own in all but 12 STATES. He is way out of line.

One of Many
July 22, 2006, 04:38 PM
Do these people think that preserving large wilderness areas for hunting, and limiting access to those areas to a handful of rich people, is good for hunting? The King of England owned all of the wild game in that country, and prohibited the common people from killing his animals, even if it meant starvation for the common people. I see little difference between the old King of England, and this new group of elite and rich "hunters" that are trying to prevent the common hunter from gaining access to the 'hunting preserves' the elite want the government to maintain.

The common hunter has to work for a living, and gets very little time off from work to enjoy hunting. That means it is not possible for the common hunter to afford to take several weeks off from work, hire a guide, and pack in by horseback for several days to get to the prime hunting habitat. Roads and fueling stations allow the common man access to those otherwise inaccessible areas, and increase the number of people that can enjoy hunting as a recreational activity and source of food.



To claim that hunting is the reason for firearms ownership, and then to take positions that limit the number of hunters (by making it a sport only the rich can indulge in) will eventually destroy the right to own firearms, for all but the rich and famous.

This group of rich people is trying to fool the common hunter into giving away their right to hunt, and trying to take away support for the NRA, which supports the right of the common man to hunt.



Wilderness is useless unless it can profit the human race in a non-destructive way; by that I mean the wilderness is not destroyed, but utilized wisely, and in a way that takes advantage of renewable resources, without changing the characteristics of the wilderness. That means minimal development in a wilderness; no housing developments, clearcut logging, mining operations that scar the land, etc. Wliderness access along restricted rights of way, with minimal service facilities, so that common people can access the wilderness for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, photography, etc should be allowed. Allow off road vehicles and horseback riding on limited trails only, to minimize the destructive effect on the bulk of the wilderness.

benEzra
July 23, 2006, 12:14 AM
I posted the following reply to Mr. Schneider (I hope he at least reads it):

By benEzra, 7-22-06
The fastest way to destroy sport hunting in the United States would be to do what Mr. Schneider advocates--namely, to get hunters (who comprise approximately 1 in 5 gun owners in the U.S.) to throw the majority of gun owners under the bus. And the fastest means to that end would be to get hunters to support the AHSA, an organization that was founded by members of the gun-ban lobby, and that advocates essentially the same positions as the rest of the gun-ban lobby.

Mr. Schneider, my wife and I are both gun-owning nonhunters who vigorously support YOUR right to hunt, who defend hunting against critics, and who FUND hunting and the purchase of game lands via the excise taxes we pay on our nonhunting firearms. But the day hunters at large endorse banning our nonhunting guns will be the day that this gun owner stops defending hunting. Period.

Part of the problem here is that Mr. Schneider is badly misinformed about Federal firearms law. The "assault weapon" bait-and-switch has nothing to do with automatic weapons, which are covered by the Title 2/Class III provisions of the National Firearms Act; rather, it is about banning civilian rifles and shotguns--ordinary, non-automatic, NFA Title 1 guns--with handgrips that stick out. As a nonhunter, I don't particularly care if Mr. Schneider is allowed to keep his .30-30, if he succeeds in stripping me of my (less powerful) Ruger mini-14 Ranch Rifle and my SAR-1, or my wife's Glock 26 and collectible SKS.

Sure, the NRA leaves a lot to be desired on the land management issue, and we non-republicans (i'm a center-left independent) get tired of their singing the praises of the current administration on non-gun-related issues. So address that, definitely. But throwing the majority of lawful gun owners under the bus, joining the ban-more-guns lobby, and alienating most of your support among nonhunting Americans--isn't the solution, and would be an absolute disaster for hunters at large.

gunsmith
July 23, 2006, 02:10 AM
I bet he couldn't care less.
He is just a pawn & can't tell the difference between semi-auto and class three.

They probably paid him to write it, when they come for his cop killing 30-30 sniper rifle he will be glad to get rid of it.:barf:

I keep on having to delete everything I wanna say...so I'll leave it to your imagination how I feel about him.

Connecticut Yankee
July 23, 2006, 07:41 AM
I don't understand your message please clarify with detail thanks.

Diamondback6
July 23, 2006, 08:01 AM
Connecticut Yankee, he's referring to this thread as a whole. AHSA is a very old story, but I think a locked sticky should be put at the top of this forum with reminders about it and the other wedges the Grabbers try to drive between us in the firearms community.

Deanimator
July 23, 2006, 11:36 AM
AHSA is ALREADY a dead letter, well on its way to the well deserved obscurity of the NFA. Who's the NFA? It's almost more work to find out than it's worth. They weren't the Canadian National Firearms Association (NFA), the week sister to our NRA. Nor were they the Class III related NFA. They were the National Firearms Association (NFA), HCI's tame "gunrights" organization of the late '80s and early '90s. They collapsed like a house of cards when people demanded to know the composition of its board of directors. Now, in order to find ANYTHING about them, you have to know which specific usenet messages to search in Google Groups.

That's AHSA's future...

Kim
July 23, 2006, 03:04 PM
And if I remember wasn't there a big stink under Clinton where it was found out the excise tax on firearms and fishing stuff and goodies was being misused. Not going to support hunting and fishing. Did not the NRA put up a fuss and that all got changed.

Bartholomew Roberts
July 23, 2006, 03:44 PM
I've got to say that if the Democrats really want the firearms vote, the first they can do is stop pulling stupid stunts like this. Things like this harms the Democratic party immeasurably in my view.

It signals to me that they are not serious about wanting my vote and still see this as being about "How do we pull the wool over the eyes of gun owners without changing any of our policies?"

The price for that is that even if they did run a pro-RKBA Democrat like a Howard Dean, Mark Warner or the Montana governor, I would never trust that candidate in a million years because I would just assume he plans to tell me what I want to hear and then carry out the same agenda they have tried to implement in the past.

Deanimator
July 23, 2006, 05:13 PM
The price for that is that even if they did run a pro-RKBA Democrat like a Howard Dean, Mark Warner or the Montana governor, I would never trust that candidate in a million years because I would just assume he plans to tell me what I want to hear and then carry out the same agenda they have tried to implement in the past.
This is precisely the point. Democrat Ted Strickland is running for governor, here in Ohio. His statements are pro-gun. Who's he running with? Lee Fisher, an HCI BOARD MEMBER. It's like expecting Jews to vote for a Joe Lieberman/David Duke ticket. Who do they think they're kidding?

Byron Quick
July 23, 2006, 06:16 PM
One problem I see with his argument is that it appears that most of the people who want to keep wilderness areas pristine are more likely to be allies or fellow travelers of PETA and their ilk.

xd9fan
July 23, 2006, 10:49 PM
Quote:
Again, for the record, I own lots of guns; I've hunted all my life (which is a long time); and I believe the Second Amendment is one of our basic freedoms we enjoy here in America, but I don't fret about the federal government breaking down my door to confiscate my battle worn 870 or my late grandfather's octagon-barrel 30-30, nor do I think all gun control laws, such as the ban on automatic assault rifles, are bad. Given that, here are a few thoughts on the NRA.

He seems to have proved himself a liar and fool rather quick.

They are trying to divide and conquer. To beat the darkness, we must shine a light onto it, and remove ignorance about the AHSA. I would remind hunters who might be swayed by this of what has happened in Britain.


+1......biggest problem I have with my fellow hunters is their complete naivetee on this issue. I have meet more non-nra,goa hunters that are against a law-abidding american from owning a semiauto ak47 then I care to believe. They feel it is just fine having the Govt stamp out certain types,styles and classes of weapons thinking 'why would anybody NEED that thing!' Never realizing that some day the govt will turn around look at them and start regulating their guns, because 'hunting is so sub-level and unnessecary in today's world'. Hate to say it but hunters need more education on the 2A. The 2A means you dont have to meet ANYBODY's (even fellow hunters) reasons for keeping and bearing arms, IMHO no matter what type or class. To many hunters, with the push of emotional liberals have sold out to "common sense" gun regulations.

and bowhunters...if you think your 300fps arrows wont be deemed 'unsafe and primative' by the two party ruling class.....think again........and I'm not thinkin your even "protected" by the 2A. (hope I'm wrong on that, Its not a firearm but it is a "arm".)

Nothin makes me more mad than fellow hunters that drive around in their bad a$$ trucks, lookin tough.......and come election time.......vote for RINO's that help the Govt further regulate our sport/tradition......and when it comes to guns....our Rights....and they cant even see it.

benEzra
July 23, 2006, 11:30 PM
Mr. Schneider has posted a response to some of the comments on the article web site, and seems to be backpedaling a bit. I think he realizes that he may have been feed a line by the AHSA types. Here's his latest post:

By Bill Schneider, 7-23-06
I've been reading the comments all weekend, and I suppose I should chime in with a few responses.

First of all, thank you everybody for taking the time to read the articles and make comments.

I could have implied to the contrary, but I do not endorse the AHSA. I went to their press conference and gave a report on what was said there. I admit that I like some of the things the group's leaders said, but time will tell if this is real or fake. Some people commenting seem to have done more research on the group and they may be right, but the ASHA is not the point of this column. It is curious, though, why the mere mention of this group really sets some people off. It is also curious that, even though I sent both articles to the ASHA, there has been no response.

I support what the NRA does to protect gun rights, and I thought I made that clear in the articles. I'm not a gun expert, which is obvious to you who are, but I support the Second Amendment as much as you do and I think the NRA does an excellent job protecting our rights granted under it.

The point I was trying to make is that the NRA's excellent record of protecting the rights of gun owners conflicts with its attempts to protect the rights of hunters. And there is a difference.

And CRaig, I agree completely with you, many other organizations such as the RMEF, TRCP, Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Whitetail Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, and at least a dozen others do an excellent job--and I probably should have mentioned them in the column. In fact, unless something changes in the NRA political strategy, it should get out of this business and stick to protecting the rights of gun owners--and leave the preservation of hutning to these groups. Sadly, though, this sets up the liklihood that the NRA and TRCP, RMEF, et all will have to take opposing positions on much future legislation.

Bill

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