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April 19, 2007, 09:26 AM
First and foremost, the NRA. They are the "800 pound gorilla" in the fight for RKBA.
GOA is also good, as is JPFO, but membership in the NRA should be the first.
April 19, 2007, 09:27 AM
agreed...the NRA should be the first. Why not join millions of other gun owners?
Everyone's doing it. :D
April 19, 2007, 09:30 AM
All politics is local. I agree with Massod Ayoob, your first priority should be a state or local (if available) group. Your money and time will count more there.
After this join the NRA. Yes, there are problems, but it is our biggest weapon.
I like GOA and JPFO very much, smart and aggressive.
April 19, 2007, 10:18 AM
I think you should join the NRA, and whatever local group seems to be the most active. You don't say where you are located so I can't give any more detailed suggestions.
April 19, 2007, 10:21 AM
If the NRA is the slow 800lb gorilla......the GOA and JPFO are the 80lb hyperactive chimps:D
Join them all, each has different advantages
April 19, 2007, 10:44 AM
Join them all if you can afford it. They all serve a different niche and are worth supporting. The more support we can garner the better. Remember, the anti-gunners make up organizations just to give themselves credit. At least ours actually do something for us.
April 19, 2007, 10:46 AM
Rosie O'Donnel says we will never have gun control because of the NRA.
That'd make me sign up - but I'm already a Life Member.
April 19, 2007, 10:47 AM
I am not a member yet but I have also thought about joining the NRA. What are the prices now anyway (shoot I guess I can go look it up :what: )
April 19, 2007, 10:58 AM
The NRA-ILA is also fairly active in local politics, they are our sledgehammer of freedom to smash the brady's lies upon the anvil of truth:D and it doesn't hurt that Magnum PI is the director
April 19, 2007, 11:05 AM
I belong to the NRA, GOA and the JPFO. I have to also agree that if your planning on joining just one then it should be the NRA first. They are the biggest and most likely carry the most wieght.
April 19, 2007, 11:18 AM
April 19, 2007, 12:05 PM
NRA hands down. Join your State chapter of the NRA as well as something like VCDL (VA Citizens Defense League). The State chapters are ok about addressing local issues, but the grass roots groups like VCDL are the most effective on local issues. The NRA simply b/c there is nothing better and you tend to get a lot for your money. They are also the 1800 pound gorilla that crosses ALL sections of the shooting sports and industry.
The NSSF isn't a bad one to look at either, though they are more attuned to the industry side of things.
April 19, 2007, 12:09 PM
NRA, thats where the muscle is. Not to mention the liberals seem to despise it, which is always a plus.
April 19, 2007, 12:12 PM
How the heck do you find out your local gun rights group? I'm having a heck of a time finding one in King County, WA. Maybe one doesn't exist...
April 19, 2007, 12:14 PM
I'll offer a counter-opinion here. Note up front that I'm not a "joiner," and am more likely to send a money order (checks get you on lists for more donations) rather than be a member anywhere. having said that, and I'm not going to get into a debate as these comments always piss people off:
NRA: 2 out of 3 times I see them engage I disagree with their approach. They do good, but they also do harm, often undermining local efforts in the name of "the big picture," or some indefinable backroom deal that's going down. They're also the kind of organization that pens some of the gun control crap we need to deal with now -- I don't buy into the argument that appeasement is a good strategy. Again, you can flame this opinion if you want, but I won't reply to it.
GOA: I used to be a big fan, then Larry Pratt put pro-life in front of pro-gun for some rankings of politicians. I thought it was still a good organization, but after the "sudden jihad syndrome" crap lately they'll never see another dollar from me.
JPFO: They might be a bit shrill sometimes, but they do good work. Good folks.
SAS: Another good organization. Don't know a lot about them, but like everything I've heard.
Pink Pistols: As with SAS, I haven't seen anything I haven't liked. It's a good idea -- targeting a traditionally liberal segment of the population and selling "CCW and gun ownership are good" by relating to issues they take personally, like gay-bashing.
That's all that strikes me off the top of my head.
April 19, 2007, 12:36 PM
If you have a state organization, join it first.
VCDL showed us how it's done.
April 19, 2007, 12:54 PM
As many as you can possibly afford. Please join AT LEAST the GOA AND NRA.
Don't forget RKBA and the others, there are several.
I like GOA best because we don't compromise our rights away. For example, the NRA is currently sponsoring a bill to grant reciprocity among the states - if you have a permit carry concealed in a state that you'd be permitted to do so in all the other states. The problem is that here in Vermont we're not required to get a permint to exercise our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Thus, this bill won't help me any if I travel to another state.
There is another organization known for taking a hard line. I apologize I can't remember it's exact name but it's something like Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Liberties (JPFL ?). No, you don't have to be Jewish to join and I hope to someday when I can afford it.
I just paid my yearly dues to NRA and GOA will be next. Usually it's the other way around but NRA offered me a $10 off special.
April 19, 2007, 01:05 PM
I also avoid joining groups, but I'm extremely active in pro-2A politics. It kills me when I see politicians and celebrities blaming the NRA for actions that I have helped bring about as a private citizen. I do join groups on occasion, when we are working towards a common cause. I haven't joined the NRA because the group always seems to be behind the curve, something I blame for the passage of the AWB, but I think with all the anti-2A forces railing against the NRA as if the organization is responsible for the tragedy in VA, I believe it is finally time I got off the fence and joined the organization. Perhaps I can work to help make it a bit more effectual.
April 19, 2007, 01:06 PM
April 19, 2007, 01:35 PM
I have been a member of the NRA for a while, I am also a member of a few maryland gun rights organizations, but most of my efforts have been personal, I use the NRA alerts and THR to locate bills that I want to put some effort into fighting, occasionally I also lurk on the brady site to keep an eye on what the enemy is up to. I write my own letters to officials, I appear in Annapolis and Washington to voice my opinions, I mostly use the organizations to, well organize with other like minded folks, and the NRA has a few nice competitions that are fun to participate in, afterall all work and no play gets dull after a while
April 19, 2007, 01:49 PM
try joining the Washington Arms Collectors (WAC). They're the most active gun rights group in Washington, as well as putting on nearly half of the gun shows in the state (Puyallup & Monroe).
http://www.washingtonarmscollectors.org or call (425) 255-8410
Or try the Washington State Rifle & Pistol Association, the state's NRA affiliate.
Both of those organizations are represented in Olympia by GOAL, the Gun Owenrs Action League of WA (not a membership organization but a PAC). E-mail me for additional details.
Interesting that no one to date has mentioned SAF and/or CCRKBA (they're sister organizations). SAF funded the successful lawsuit against the FIRST San Francisco handgun ban in 1982 and has partnered with the NRA fighting the current ban. Although the NRA conveniently forgets to mention it, SAF is also the other partner in the New Orleans lawsuit. SAF also funded the gun carry lawsuit in Ohio that made it all the way (successfully) to the state Supreme Court, credited by many with forcing the concealed carry bill through Ohio's legislature in 2003.
The bottom line is, join as many groups as you can afford, then make additional donations to whichever groups or on whatever issues float your boat. SAF and CCRKBA membership is $15/year, GOA $20, NRA $35 (frequently discounted, and currently free to active duty military). As you can see by my sig line, I spread my dues money around.
April 19, 2007, 05:53 PM
Join the NRA.pay quarterly and you become a life member ask for the program.
SAS: I don't belong but I subscribe to their paper (3 times month) and talk to the editor Joe Tataro.lot of news there.more members more scared of NRA the antis become also the media and polititions under stand numbers.:fire: :banghead:
April 19, 2007, 11:46 PM
Every freakn' one you can afford, but the NRA first.
And write e-mails and letters to the editors, and state and federal office holders.
April 20, 2007, 12:02 AM
I think that Derek means SAF ("Second Amendment Foundation"), not "SAS."
I'm not a joiner either. All I want is to keep my guns and enjoy them.
That's why I belong to and support the NRA and our local grassroots organization. The NRA is the most influential and effective national gun rights organization. It's the organization that Senators and Representatives pay attention to, and it's the organization that The Brady Campaign treats as the only enemy worth attacking. The NRA also is the most active and most effective source of firearms education in the country.
Grassroots organizations work more effectively on the state and local level. It's inevitable that they will disagree with the NRA on some matters because the viewpoints are different. It doesn't bother me. I live in an imperfect world.
Everything I've seen about SAF feels right to me too. What attracts me to it most is that it works well with the NRA on many vital issues.
I won't support any group that fights with or against the NRA. They waste time, energy, and money. I'd prefer that they waste other people's money instead of mine. I also think such tactics undercut us.
April 20, 2007, 12:03 AM
I think that Derek means SAF ("Second Amendment Foundation"), not "SAS." Yep. Mistype. Thanks.
April 20, 2007, 12:19 AM
I'm wearing nomex underwear... forget the NRA. Go Gunowners of America. Why?
Record Shows the NRA is Not a Staunch Supporter of Gun Rights
The media and the politicians long ago discovered that the NRA is a paper tiger. They have not talked much about this because they know that by continually accusing the NRA of being an unreasonable, intransigent ogre, the NRA will continue to bend over backwards prove that it is not so. It is not in the Establishment’s interest to let this cat out of the bag.
This situation has resulted in the NRA actually becoming an anti-gun lobby, a fact not very many of it’s members understand. With it’s reputation of a rootin’ tootin’ pro-gun warrior largely intact, the membership, not to mention the public, still view the NRA as the voice of the Second Amendment.
Charlton Heston’s elevation to the presidency of the NRA was a masterstroke for the incumbent management of the organization. His election was viewed by members who were beginning to wonder about the NRA as a return to the robust defense of their rights. In reality, Heston’s ascension represents a consolidation of power by the compromisers running the NRA. Their strategy is to survive by losing.
The NRA’s strategy of surviving by losing translates to support for anti-gun measures as well as never asking for rollback of anti-gun legislation, because, after all, they do not see how a pro-gun position can win.
NRA Support for Gun Control Is Not New
The March 1968 issue of NRA’s American Rifleman (page 22) gave examples of how the NRA had always been for “workable gun control laws.”
Starting with the Uniform Firearms Act of 1930, the NRA supported obtaining a government permit before carrying a concealed firearm. In 1934 the NRA agreed with Congress that gun owners did not need machine guns and agreed with the then confiscatory tax of $200 plus submission to a full background check and fingerprinting before an American citizen would be “allowed” to carry a firearm that the founders intended for every militia-eligible male to carry. This requirement can be found in the Militia Act of 1792 in which private ownership of military firearms and suitable ammunition was required by the Congress that sat in the months following the ratification of the Second Amendment.
Following the pattern of gun control Nazi Germany, the Congress passed legislation in 1938 requiring firearms dealers to be federally licensed. Rather than contest the lack of constitutional authority for this regulation of firearms commerce, the NRA acquiesced. Until the terms of the 1968 Gun Control Act became too onerous, the NRA supported that, too. They would have gone for the background check at that time.
The same issue of the American Rifleman reported that the NRA had supported the 1968 Gun Control Act as long as it would limit expansion of gun control to handguns.
Charlton Heston was mentioned in the October 1968 issue of American Rifleman (page 10) as one of the actors who worked with then President Lyndon Johnson to end in supporting passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act. Even wanted more gun control than did the NRA – he supported including rifles and shotguns in the 1968 Gun Control Act.
Under new leadership, the NRA worked for years to try to undo some of the damage of the 1968 Gun Control Act, and in 1986 the McClure-Volkmer Bill [named after the Senator James McClure (R-ID) and Representative Harold Volkmer (D-MO)] became law. The bill had originally contained sweeping reforms, but Senator Orrin Hatch sliced off many of the positive provisions of the bill, and the NRA went along with it. The NRA did nothing to stop the bill when it had a last minute poison pill added to it by then Representative Bill Hughes (D-NJ) to ban the private ownership of fully automatic firearms manufactured after May of 1986. Incredible as it was, the NRA’s great reform bill was enacted with a weapons ban!
1986 was a bad year. The NRA actually wrote the “plastic” gun ban (a firearm which, incidentally, still does not exist) and the armor piercing bullet ban (the so-called “cop killer” bullets that never killed an officer wearing a bullet-resistant vest). These laws received NRA support because “it would have been worse” if they had not participated in the writing of the bills.
Never, in all of these battles, did the NRA ever develop a counter strategy. They never tried to put the legislators on the defensive by exposing them as acting without constitutional authority. The NRA frequently endorses politicians for re-election and they vote anti-gun The NRA continually covers up anti-gun behavior rather than making politicians explain why the voters should not throw them out.
In the name of keeping a place at the table, the NRA has agreed to accept starvation rations. They are reaching the point of such weakness from this diet that they have become nearly powerless – in spite of a membership in the neighborhood of 2 ½ million and an annual budget of tens of millions of dollars.
NRA Founded as an Auxiliary to the Government
Union officers who were disappointed with the poor marksmanship of the northern soldiers founded the NRA after the Civil War. The NRA was, therefore, set up to make the government work better. Over the years, this relationship deepened as the Defense Department created a Division of Civilian Marksmanship to hand out low-cost firearms and ammunition – but to get those goodies, one had to belong to the NRA.
The cooperative role that developed over the years has made it difficult for the NRA to see government in an adversarial role. Forgotten were the admonitions of the founders, such as George Washington, who said, “Government is like fire. It is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
NRA Support for Gun Control in the 105th Congress
IN 1997, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S.10, which he dubbed the Juvenile Justice Bill. One of the public relations advantages for the Republicans was “doing something” about drive-by shootings. Unhappily, there was a no debate about the lack of constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in juvenile justice.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) found provisions in the bill that would have treated both firearm owners and firearm dealers who make more than one paperwork violation as though they were mafioso. These provisions could easily have threatened the livelihood of every firearm dealer and the very existence of the firearm industry itself.
Senator Hatch wanted to put firearm dealers under the racketeering law or RICO, as it’s euphemistically called. Two or more paperwork violations and the dealer would lose all of his property and face twenty (20) years in a federal prison. How many dealers would want to stay in business with the loss of their business and freedom hanging over their heads? No firearm dealers, no firearms. No wonder Gun Owners of America called S.10 Juvenile Justice Bill “Hatch’s Horror Bill”.
What came without rhyme or reason was that the NRA supported Hatch’s S.10 Juvenile Justice Bill. The NRA not only lobbied for it on Capitol Hill, they sent out a mailing to many of their members asking them to send a postcard to their senators urging them to vote for S.10. The NRA seldom tries to involve it’s members in lobbying – something that is the hallmark of GOA – so this was all the more surprising.
This turned out to be a shootout between the NRA and the GOA. GOA, an organization of about 150,000 members, emerged the victor over the much larger NRA. IN a David versus Goliath match-up, GOA defeated the NRA.
GOA pounded away, month after month. They informed their members of the dangers of S.10. GOA’s members in turn sent in postcards, faxes, e-mail and phone calls and personal visits to lobby their Senators. In early 1998, GOA’s efforts began to bear fruit. Senators who had co-sponsored S.10 began to remove their names, sometimes rather publicly, form the list of co-sponsors. GOA’s efforts got seven senators to remove their names from sponsoring Senator Hatch’s bill.
Added to this was the leadership demonstrated by Senator Bob Smith (R-NH). Smith used various senatorial rules to block Hatch from attempting some end runs around the legislative process. At one point, Hatch was reported to have exploded in fury over Smith’s steadfast refusal to budge. The right man was at the right place at the right time. The bill finally died, but the issue went to the very last days of the session with Hatch trying to get unanimous consent to slip his bill onto some other piece of legislation. When he tried, Smith objected. Hatch was angry, but firearm owners were spared a truly horrifying bill.
Chickens Coming Home to Roost
In what many Second Amendment activists consider has been the NRA’s most serious single error – they supported the Brady Bill because it contained the Instant Background Check (IBC). The NRA should have smelled a rat when the only criticism of it made by Handgun Control Incorporated (HCI) was the IBC could not be installed quickly enough to suit them. For the NRA all that mattered was that the background check be instantaneous with purchase. A note about Handgun Control Incorporated: HCI is a rabidly anti-gun organization lead by Sarah Brady, who’s documented goal is to eliminate all private ownership of firearms in the United States of America.
GOA argued that, yes, the waiting period is as unconstitutional for firearms as it would be for speech, but waiting periods give governments an opportunity to register the names and addresses of firearm purchasers, which is inherent in any background check. Furthermore, the background check converts a right into a privilege, empowering the government to grant permission to purchase a firearm.
As a crime-fighting tool, the IBC has proven a total failure. Only three (3) criminals were incarcerated as a result of the first year of the operation of Brady, and the results have been similar for each succeeding year.
GOA told anyone who would listen what would happen when the IBC was in place. No amount of prohibitions would prevent the IBC from turning into a registration engine for every firearm purchaser making a purchase from a firearm dealer or gun store.
In spite of federal laws against making a registration list of gun owners, the FBI has announced that when it assumes operation of the IBC, it will keep the names and addresses of firearm buyers. The NRA looks at the FBI’s lawlessness as a quirk in the system that needs to be addressed. In contrast, GOA has supported Representative Ron Paul’s (R-TX) bill to repeal the Brady Bill altogether. Paul plans to pursue that legislation in the 106th Congress.
The word “immediately” in the requirement to “immediately destroy records” was removed. That left the registration prohibition with the words of the existing federal prohibition which the FBI argued permitted their retention of the records for eighteen months. After all, they seem to be saying, if they destroy the records in 100 years, they will be in compliance with the requirements to destroy the records.
Moses Comes Down on the Wrong Side of the Mountain
NRA’s new president, Charlton Heston, well known for his movie depiction of Moses, is still having trouble reading his lines as a pro-Second Amendment spokesman years after his hard-line support of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Days after becoming the NRA Vice President in 1997, Heston told a San Francisco talk show host that “no one needed an AK47.” Heston repeated that statement three (3) times on the same talk show.
Heston was still having confusion on where he stood as the NRA’s most visible spokesman during the 1998 elections. Heston, in 1996, had supported pro-gun activist Brent Winters in his campaign to capture the 19th congressional district seat in southern Illinois He appeared in media spots on Winters’ behalf. In 1998, Heston appeared AGAINST Winters, even though Winters was the only candidate in the race who was willing to introduce legislation rolling back unconstitutional (therefore non-positive) federal gun legislation.
The NRA has a long history of opposing pro-gun candidates. Among them have been Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Joe Scarborough (R-FL).
Several pro-gun legislators in Alabama who had opposed a state version of Instant Background Check were defeated in their re-election bids by the NRA in 1998. Earlier, Oklahoma and Colorado legislators were threatened with defeat if they persisted in promoting legislation modeled after Vermont’s concealed carry law. Vermont views concealed carry as a matter of right, and therefore there are no permits or licenses involved in carrying a concealed firearm anywhere in the state of Vermont. Vermont’s murder rate is the lowest of any state in the nation, by the way.
NRA Steadfastly Marching Towards Gun Control
The recent ouster of NRA’s chief lobbyist, Tanya Metaska, represents a further consolidation of control by the compromisers and their pursuit of gun control in order to appease the political establishment and the national media. James Baker, the architect of the NRA’s IBC, is now back in the saddle in his old job following the ouster of Metaska.
The NRA has made support for, and enactment of, the Instant Background Check (which is de facto Gun Registration) a litmus test for politicians it supports at the state and federal level. They also continue to fight against relaxing the restrictions in the concealed carry legislation of states with permission to carry statutes (contrasted with Vermont’s right to carry law).
Gun Rights Activists Turning to Gun Owners of America
GOA has been gaining membership as gun rights activists have given up trying to reform the NRA. GOA can be contacted at their toll free number 1-888-GUNS, or on their website http://www.gunowners.org. Readers are encouraged to join GOA. They are the only real pro-gun lobby in Washington, DC. They support the Constitution and they pursue it with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Over the next few years, GOA will be the only major national organization in America standing between firearm owning defenders of the Second Amendment and the total firearm registration – and eventual firearm confiscation – pushed by the political Left.
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