Thursday, December 30, 2004

The National Rifle Association (NRA)

Bill and I are members in good standing with the famous or notorious NRA depending on who one talks to.

In previous posts I mentioned that I am a recovering liberal and still have some leanings to the left. Nothing dramatic mind you. I think that black people have rights, that gays should not face discrimination, that there are some people who need society’s help. It is all a matter of degree.

Most people view gunnies with a jaundiced eye. If we like to shoot guns, we must want to shoot black people, gay people, or people who need a hand. Nothing is further from the truth.

I grew up with that message and with guns at the same time. I internalized both messages--don’t take my guns away, but also that gun people were redneck crackers with bad attitudes. So there I was young and na├»ve with a love of guns and thinking that the NRA and the KKK shared the same bedsheets. If you have seen Michael (shave for God’s sake) Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” you might remember a little cartoon featuring bullets as characters that made just that comparison.

I started doing some research and I found that the NRA is fanatical in its support of guns, but tends to avoid other political issues. I learned that the NRA has some members one might call rednecks, but has gay members, black members, and members in wheelchairs.

At the same time, I found that the anti-gun people were the biggest liars. They were the ones that made the NRA seem like Klan Korner. They were the ones who demonized it. They were the ones that made wild claims and funded studies that had about as much truth in them as, well, Michael Moore. With that conclusion in mind, I joined the NRA and Bill soon followed. The NRA can thank the Brady Campaign for bringing two members to them.

Before some of the absolutists who think the NRA has compromised our gun rights jump on me with both feet, I am a dyed-in-the-wool gun nut and proud of it. The NRA has made compromises and political deals that I don’t always agree with. I know this, but I also know that they are the 800 pound gorilla in American gun politics. Anti-gun people demonize the NRA but ignore fine no-compromise groups like Gun Owners of America and may never have heard of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Because of this, Bill and I do our part to make sure that the NRA remains strong and firmly under the control of its members.

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