The REAL Strength of the NRA

The NRA’s 2020 Annual Meeting begins today in Tucson, Arizona. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, attendance has been strictly limited. That is unfortunate as this is the time members should be present to make sure their voices are heard. There is good, bad & ugly going on with the NRA right now and the timing is far from coincidental. Not only are our Second Amendment rights being threatened in every corner of the country, but our ability to organize and fight for our natural rights is as well. But guess what, the real power isn’t the NRA, it’s us. 

To the gun control extremist, the National Rifle Association is the 800-pound gorilla everyone wants to take down. In order to be taken seriously within the anti-gun rights community, you have to say you’ve taken on the NRA and won, true or not. To them the NRA is the gun industry spokesman, stands for violence and against “gun safety”, each point of which is untrue. 

The gun control zealots see the NRA as something that once eliminated, “common sense gun safety laws” will prevail. It’s a similar logic to always being one more gun control law away from everyone being safe from “gun violence” in our communities. Of course, that one more gun control law never works, so they have to make just one more gun control law. 

Sadly, the NRA has been battling its own internal demons lately as well as trying to defend itself from well-timed and coordinated attacks from left wing prosecutors. Allegations of out of control spending, self-enrichment and cronyism have been plaguing the leadership and Board of Directors. Add to this the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Attorney General for Washington, DC have both filed suits to dissolve the NRA completely over its mismanagement of funds.  

The Attorneys General from New York and Washington DC are of course politically motivated and have timed their legal actions to coincide with the run up to the Presidential elections. The NRA is a major contributor to Second Amendment supporting candidates around the country. By embroiling the NRA in lawsuits they need to defend themselves from, the NRA will have less funds to spend around the country. 

Above and beyond the internal issues that have come to light recently, many complain the NRA has lost its way. Some say the NRA has been too rigid and aggressive when it comes to gun control issues. Others claim the exact opposite, that the NRA has been too lax and not done more to fight gun control measures at the local, state and national level. I’m more on the later side, but then I just recently moved from California where the Second Amendment is fast becoming nothing more than a memory. 

The NRA continues to be the largest provider of firearms safety and firearms training in the world. It provides specific training programs for new and experienced shooters, women, law enforcement as well as safety programs for children. It even provides non-firearm safety training. The NRA provides expertise, grants and education for clubs and ranges helping them be safer, better parts of their communities. 

For me, I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken classes to further my instructor skills in non-firearms safety, range safety, civilian and law enforcement firearms use. I’ve taken club leadership and range development programs to make the club I helped run, run better. The range services program helped us identify potential issues with our range and, through NRA grant programs, helped us update our range to keep our members and community safe well into the future. I later joined this program and with NRA supplied training, have helped other ranges improve their own facilities and operations. 

My Mrs. started a program for new women shooters in our area, something I and many other volunteers in the community were very happy to assist with. The NRA program itself was extremely generous, but my Mrs. was able to get a grant from the local chapter for firearms and supplies after the State of California made it illegal for us to borrow firearms for use in our program. 

Through all of this, I’ve found the real strength of the NRA isn’t the lobbying, the legal efforts or the money, it’s the members. It is members coming together for a purpose, coming together for their community and coming together for each other. 

The NRA has some of the finest, most dedicated and conscientious people I’ve ever met, both paid and volunteers. There are also a few jerks who are there for themselves. But guess what? That’s the same in every organization everywhere, government, private sector or charity. We need to not judge the entire organization by the actions of a few, a lesson important to remind ourselves of lately. 

I know many have had enough and are leaving the NRA. That’s okay, there are many other solid, reputable organizations to join such as the Gun Owners of America, the National Association for Gun Rights, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition and more along with special interest groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International and the Pink Pistols. 

Note: Beware the imposters such as Gun Owners for Safety, a group initiated the biggest anti-gun rights organization to recruit firearm owners to push their gun control agenda. 

For me, a NRA Life Member, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to advocate for change internally and getting the Board and leadership to resolve the issues, make the necessary changes, and get back to work. 

Our Second Amendment protected natural rights are in serious jeopardy this election year. We, the law-abiding firearm owners of the United States, are the real strength behind the NRA and every other Second Amendment rights organization. It’s time to stand together for our rights. 

Vote wisely.

Bob

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Safe Storage Laws – Punishing Crime Victims

One of moldy oldies of the gun control movement is experiencing resurgence these days. Safe storage laws are once again being pushed in communities and states around the country. And as always, it has nothing to do with safety, only control. It is just another way for gun control zealot politicians to intimidate, harass and punish law-abiding firearm owners and minimize their Second Amendment rights, at the expense of the very people who they claim they are trying to keep safer. 

Firearm storage inside the home is a very personal subject. Most people who own firearms for self-defense choose to have them ready in case they are needed. In those situations, seconds really do count. Unlocking a safe, removing a cable lock and then loading your firearm essentially renders it useless as a self-defense tool. 

That of course is the idea behind safe storage laws. Anti-gun politicians don’t want you to be able to defend yourself in an emergency. They want you to be 100% reliant on the government for your safety. Also keep in mind that your local law enforcement agency has no legal responsibility for keeping you safe.  Many lawsuits against law enforcement from victims of violent crimes due to government inaction or negligence have been dismissed, as the police have no duty to protect you, even if they could have and simply decided not to. 

So even though the government knows they can not adequately protect you in public or in your home, they want to make sure you are not able to protect yourself either. By passing so-called safe storage laws, you are required to keep your self-defense firearm unloaded and disabled in your own home. AND… if you do leave your firearm unlocked in your locked home and it is stolen, you have committed a crime. 

Consider the following scenario. You leave your house in the morning for work, give your dog a new chew toy, lock the doors and set the alarm. While you are gone someone breaks into your house. They do this because they know the chances of being caught are low and the chances of any real penalty coming out of it if they are caught are practically non-existent. 

In the quick ransack of your house, burglars find your non-government approved firearm storage spot in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable crisper drawer.* They take this firearm and commit yet another crime and injure or kill someone with it. What happens to you? You are arrested for improper storage of a firearm. 

Now let’s change this scenario a little. Upon breaking into your home, the burglars find your new 10” Wustoff cook’s knife. They take this knife and commit yet another crime and injure or kill someone with it. What happens to you? You are NOT arrested since you were the victim of the crime of burglary and had no involvement in the commission of the crime using your stolen property. 

Let’s change that scenario one more time. Upon breaking into your home, the burglars find your car keys. On the way out the door they go by the liquor cabinet and grab a bottle of Jack Daniels. They take your car and liquor, get drunk and drive the wrong way down the interstate and injure or kill someone. What happens to you? You are NOT arrested since you were the victim of the crime of burglary and had no involvement in the commission of the crime using your stolen property.

I’m not aware of any other situation where the victim of a crime can be criminally charged as a result of being a victim of someone else’s crime. By creating these feel-good but useless public safety laws that criminalize legal behavior inside of your own home, you become both the victim and the criminal with no action necessary on your own part. 

The other side of so-called safe storage laws concerns children gaining access to unsecured firearms. As someone who has been involved in firearm safety for decades, I can honestly tell you there is no excuse for this. There is also no excuse for the bad parenting that lead to it. 

My story: As a child growing up, my family owned firearms, as did most of our relatives. Some were stored unsecured and loaded for home self-defense. I knew where these firearms were in our house and those of our relatives. Did I ever touch them without permission? HELL NO!! Why? Because I was taught the difference between right and wrong, as well as a respect for firearms. 

In my home as an adult, I also kept loaded firearms for self-defense. Did my son ever touch them? HELL NO!! Why? Because he too was taught the difference between right and wrong, as well as respect for firearms. To this day, I wouldn’t even question if my now adult son walked into my house and found a loaded firearm sitting on the dining room table, he would ask before he handled it.  

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has an excellent – and free – program called Project ChildSafe. It combines information, education and gunlocks distributed for free by law enforcement agencies around the country. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a child firearm safety program available – also free – called the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. It teaches children what do if they find an unsecured firearm. Both have been successfully educating children and youth about real firearm safety for years. 

Firearm safety and storage is a very personal subject. What works for me in my home may not be appropriate for a home with young children living or visiting in the home. There are solutions for everyone that does not sacrifice safety or security. What doesn’t work for either is a one-size-fits-none government mandate that firearms shouldn’t be available for self-defense. How does being a helpless victim keep anyone except the criminals safe? 

Bob

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*Note to self: Move firearm out of vegetable crisper drawer.