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Old May 17, 2009, 10:41 PM   #1
MartyG
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We need more Blacks in the NRA

My son just got back from the NRA convention in Phoenix. I asked him how many of the 6000 people at the banquet were black? He said, "two speakers, plus about 20 in the audience."
As I think about this, let us not forget the RKBA is a CIVIL right! Where is the NAACP or the ACLU on this?
First my theory, then my suggestion. There were no gun control laws until after the slaves were freed after the Civil War. Early gun control laws were designed to keep the freed slaves from owning firearms. Of course, over time, this approach was considered flawed, so instead, the laws became restrictive for all. ESPECIALLY in the large cities, like Chicago, LA, NYC, or just about any area with a large inner-city population.
While the Democratic Party leans more towards gun control, they assume that since Black people vote Democratic that they somehow concur with that position. That's not why Blacks vote Democratic, they vote that way for social reasons, for benefit programs, or simply because they are told to, by their Aldermen, their preachers, or their contemporaries.
As a result, Black America has gone through various phases of gun laws, all prohibiting them from owning guns. They simply don't know what they are missing! Sure there are rural blacks, and those raised outside the city. But the numbers aren't great. Blacks still have some angst regarding 200 years of slavery, but they haven't realized they've been denied the 2A for 300 years!
I'll bet if they thought about this, the law-abiding, God-fearing members of the minority communities would demand their gun rights. Then perhaps, the gun-toting villians in their communities wouldn't be so prolific.
This board demands suggestions; here's mine. Talk to a black guy or gal at work about gun rights. Ask them where they sit on the issue. Remind them that as a good person, they have a right, one they've never been fully granted.
We're just now making some headway with women. I think we should open our sights, and include Black America into our way of thinking. Doing so would provide a large mandate to every politician that gun control is not going to be opposed only by the rural white guys, but of ALL of law-abiding America.
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Old May 17, 2009, 11:26 PM   #2
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I would like to see more diversification in the NRA, at the range, and here on TFL. It seems odd to me that any group who has experience oppression first hand would not see the value in the right to bear arms. An example I can think of, though my facts may be skewed, is of the Mormons. I've been told, and I'm sure I will be corrected if I'm way off base, that the Mormons experienced persecution during the "Utah War". Because of this, the members of the church have been encouraged to bear arms should the need to protect themselves and their ways ever arise.

Regardless, having diversity among us would only help us shed the elitist, white, extremist, etc. persona that many non-gunners have of us.

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Old May 17, 2009, 11:42 PM   #3
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Unfortunately many see the NRA as a group of rednecks. The Democratic party continues to paint that picture to thier advantage. In the past election the Democrats painted themselves as the only way for an African American to vote. All the Afro Americans in the Republican party are refered to with complete disdain, as individuals who have turned their backs on their people.
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Old May 17, 2009, 11:47 PM   #4
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I believe ATANRA has a very good point, but it's not just the Democrats that try to paint the NRA as a bunch of rednecks. The liberal press does the same thing in the way they ofter portray the NRA and it's members.

I walked around the convention displays on Friday and don't recall seeing more than a handful of blacks and most of them were individuals working at vendors booths.
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Old May 17, 2009, 11:49 PM   #5
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didn't even want to post what I did at first.

Hunting and Angling clubs form the center of most communities firearms culture.
How comfortable would you feel, if you were a minority, hanging a target at a hunting club's range?
What if only one other member was at the range and you did not know them?
I would not.
It only takes one crazy redneck that all the other members have tolerated, or possibly encouraged, and we all know they are out there.

On the plus side the Asian/Indian and Latinos seem to be breaking into the shooting community SLOWLY.

My personal opinion is we need every 2A ally we can muster irrespective of anyone's belief as to their character or race. Even the CSA armed slaves towards the end of the Civil War.
Not a fight I am willing to get out in front on, so maybe I am part of the problem.
If a Vietnam era black Marine Corpsman(extremely legitimate respectable military service), who had gone on to be a doctor(financially sound), had hunted the big 5(extremely respectable hunting experience), one marriage, no drinking problems, Christian, and was known to me wanted to join a hunting club, I would probably sponsor him. It would take that much of a "Jackie Robinson" to get me on board. As of yet I have not met a man of any race that meets all those qualifications though.
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Old May 17, 2009, 11:55 PM   #6
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Let's see... Why would African Americans avoid large concentrations of white people with firearms? Hmmm...

All joking aside, I think it's a socially complex situation. You have a bad stereotype of black people in the media, especially in those tasteful music videos. Guns and drugs have become synonymous with the African American communities in inner city neighborhoods. Many of your, how should I put this, "career oriented" or professional individuals try to distance themselves from that image.

Also, most of the gun stores around here have that "good ol' boy" vibe about them. When you've got a bunch of country boys OCing behind a counter full of guns, it may not be the most inviting of places. African Americans (atleast in Statesboro) tend to go to the pawn shops for firearms. Even in Bass Pro in Savannah, you aren't going to come across too many black people.

De jure segregation...

As for minorities in gun groups... I forget the name, there is a Jewish organization dedicated to promoting the RKBA. It cites current international antisemitism and the Holocaust as reasons all Jewish people should be armed.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:00 AM   #7
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I tried to get a black coworker involved in shooting. He explained to me, as if I were a child, why it was obviously a bad idea for a young black man trying to build a professional career to do something like that. Frankly I had no answer for him. Judging from the amount of racist BS I've heard in gun shops in the last few years, he's right on target.

It's a sad situation.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:41 AM   #8
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Here, I don't see it as an issue. Some of the people that I have mentioned happened to be Black. I found no reason to sort it out as such.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:43 AM   #9
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The Democratic party continues to paint that picture to thier advantage. In the past election the Democrats painted themselves as the only way for an African American to vote. All the Afro Americans in the Republican party are refered to with complete disdain, as individuals who have turned their backs on their people.
This always amazes me. The same Democratic Party that brought us the KKK and Jim Crow laws claims to be the party of civil rights, while the Republicans who brought about the abolition of slavery, spent decades risking their lives in the south protecting freed blacks, and spent over 100 years fighting the KKK and Jim Crow laws is painted as racists. There are even rumors that Martin Luther King was a Republican.

My gun club is fairly typical for this area. It's mainly Hispanics and whites with a sprinkling of Asians, but only a few blacks. I think it has more to do with a lack of a hunting tradition in the inner city and not wanting to look like troublemakers than anything else. The welcome mat is definitely out.
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Old May 18, 2009, 02:08 AM   #10
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This always amazes me. The same Democratic Party that brought us the KKK and Jim Crow laws claims to be the party of civil rights, while the Republicans who brought about the abolition of slavery, spent decades risking their lives in the south protecting freed blacks, and spent over 100 years fighting the KKK and Jim Crow laws is painted as racists. There are even rumors that Martin Luther King was a Republican.
Despite carrying the same names, neither party particularly resembles the party of the same name from more than a few decades ago.


And from what I've seen it's a combination of factors. You've got the lack of [positive] gun culture in urban areas, and then in rural areas you've got the subtle or not-so-subtle racism common among a lot of gun nuts. Whether or not you admit it to yourself, we've all known "that guy," or maybe a few of those guys, and all too often people won't bother to say anything because he's generally an alright dude and it's not like there are any black guys (or even non-white guys) around anyway...right?

And then we wonder why that's the case.

Then you've got the fact that the NRA will endorse a candidate who has been known to use a certain word starting with 'N' over one that has not, despite the fact that the latter seems to be roughly equally supportive of gun rights (but has the pesky "D" next to his name). Kinda sends a message. You can try to explain away the politics of it (and I've heard the arguments already), and maybe convince yourself and those who are like-minded (because to some extent, yeah they make sense), but it sends a message nonetheless.


Note that I'm not saying anybody here is "that guy," though if you were to peruse the old L&P forums you can likely find a few wonderful shining examples of what I'm talking about (and of course many, many more were deleted). And that's a moderated and public (in that it's public indexed and accessible) forum with a staff trying to make sure we keep our best foot forward.

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Old May 18, 2009, 06:08 AM   #11
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I feel awkward enough being young, shaved head and visibly tattooed (including entire right hand) sitting at a club meeting.

When I was a kid I briefly went to a mostly black school and was targeted for being white. It's very intimidating to stand out like that.

On top of becoming an unintended center of attention when you walk in the room, as well as feeling like all conversation stops on your behalf and the tone of the room changes, there are other reasons I think you don't see that many black people at the range.

Because of the extreme rap culture, most black families want their children to reject that image, so even positive gun activities would be looked at with disapproval (by the parents).

I also think that because BMWAG is still an unfortunate stereotype, if a law abiding black man got pulled over and let the officer know, for both of their safety, that there was a legal firearm in the vehicle, the car would be stripped apart on the side of the road, two or three cruisers lights flashing, neighbors watching... it's just really frustrating and kind of depressing even thinking about it.

Obviously not all of that applies to all black families, but its a roll of the dice on who will be judging their intent and character in any given senario.

Look at self defense. We all have the right to protect ourselves, and we all know that if we exercise that right that we very well may have to prove that it was our only option to some form of the judicial system, up to a jury of 12.

I already know that because of how I look, that if I ever have to explain myself to a jury, it's going to be more difficult for me than someone my age who's clean cut and has a family.

Regardless of whether you like anything about him, I hope that if nothing else comes from the Obama presidency, that it helps pull us a little further out of this racial rutt that we're still in. But I fear that really, only time will really do it.

It's like racism has a half-life decay. It's always disappearing but will probably never entirely be gone.
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Old May 18, 2009, 06:15 AM   #12
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The same democratic party that Al Gores father was part of and he voted against most of the civil rights bills

The same democratic party that brought you Robert "KKK" Byrd who admitted in his youth he was a Klansman and lynched people (Tigers don't change there stripes ever)
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Old May 18, 2009, 06:28 AM   #13
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Sadly, black folks are culturally and historically disinclined to exercise their IIA rights, as they've been ardently discouraged from doing so for a long time. The churches angrily scorn the idea of an armed citizenry among their parishioners, even if they live in dangerous areas or live under constant threat of crime. Professing a desire for self-defense is as scandalous as an extramarital affair in inner city communities where typically people are exposed to the most violence. It's all that MLK stuff taken way out of proportion. That and the misunderstanding (or purposeful distortion) of the sixth commandment that omits the word murder and replaces it with kill, thanks to the Vatican. Gun ownership is certainly not framed as being just and as American as baseball or apple pie, which in point of fact it is. There simply isn't any distinction made between people who own guns legally/responsibly and those that would use them to subject others to their will. In most cases, the only representation of gun owners available are the thugs in the neighborhood dealing drugs and kicking in doors and the unsavory characters heavily promoted on the television and movie house screen. So that is the prevailing association.

Then there is the manner in which legal code involving firearms was interpreted and enforced in many parts of the country long ago that is indelibly burned into the minds of people of the baby boom generation, and to some degree, the Gen Xers by their parents/grand parents. Possessing a gun makes you bad and the law will drag you from your residence without restraint and beat your a** senseless if your found out, etc. No judge or jury for you buddy boy. Although thankfully this is no longer true, the salient fear of over-reaction by the establishment for owning a gun is very much alive in the manifestations of unease that older people have when on the subject of self defense.

For these reasons and others, the anti lobby need not target their communities with gun control rhetoric. Their job has already been done but the negative connotation of firearm ownership is constantly reinforced by elected officials such as the former junior senator from Illinois, Shirley Franklin, Ray Nagin, Bennie Thompson, the institutions that form so-called black cultural main stays such as the Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, SCLC, church, etc, and celebrities like Oprah, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson. Together these forces have created a tightly woven victimization mentality. If one's hope of getting through life without being someone's ticket to narcotic intoxication isn't realized, it is better to be the victim than to resist criminal aggression if it means picking up a gun. I can't tell you how many people I know, some of whom I love, that actually live every day of their life in such a blissful state of resignation.

Many inner city communities that have high concentrations of minorities are infected by the accumulation of these and other cultural forces that result in a deep apprehension toward firearms as they're primarily seen to be associated with felons that commit criminal acts. As a result, today's folks "feel" like they're doing something morally reprehensible that may jeopardize their life and wreck their families if they begin to think about defending their life with a gun. The armed citizen is seen as being entirely and completely the prerogative of white middle aged males that have no such worries with which to contend, or of the police. There is no space in this well-established paradigm for the people that probably need a gun the most due to where they live, let alone any discussion of carry permits. Comments of the wild, wild west are sure to abound when in fact our cities are much more wild than the west ever was.

The good news is that shooting sports seems to have no such stigma in the younger generation to undo. OTOH, there is still a LONG way to go before this generation believes in their rights sufficiently to take a stand of conviction with the NRA to preserve them. Especially as it IS perceived as being uninviting to non-whites. We can thank CNN, Michael Moore, and BET for that one.
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Old May 18, 2009, 08:51 AM   #14
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Unfortunately many see the NRA as a group of rednecks.
That could be a part of the problem, also, snobbery, and downright racism could also be a factor. IE;

Quote:
Even the CSA armed slaves towards the end of the Civil War.
Quote:
If a Vietnam era black Marine Corpsman(extremely legitimate respectable military service), who had gone on to be a doctor(financially sound), had hunted the big 5(extremely respectable hunting experience), one marriage, no drinking problems, Christian, and was known to me wanted to join a hunting club, I would probably sponsor him.

Those are pretty high standards, I don't think I would qualify under any of those criteria. Sounds more like a "deaconship" than a gun club.


Quote:
Also, most of the gun stores around here have that "good ol' boy" vibe about them.
Yup, the Good ol' boys don't much care for "outsiders"


After reading these statements, do you really wonder why ?
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Old May 18, 2009, 09:03 AM   #15
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For all I know there is a black member or two kicking around and they just are not very active.

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Those are pretty high standards, I don't think I would qualify under any of those criteria. Sounds more like a "deaconship" than a gun club.
To sponsor a black member at any of the firearms related clubs I belong to or any of the ones I know of you would be looking at one hell of a fight. I would want to be sure that whoever the first black person was, they knew what they were getting into, were able to handle it, would have no legitimate reason for anyone to be against them, and would not give an excuse for any "see that's why we never used to let them in" talk down the road that would make it difficult for others to follow. They would be under a heavier watch with more people looking to criticize them than most deacons.

I also generally agree that at ranges most black people are 'seen as thugs' no matter what they do, what they are shooting, or how closely they follow safety rules. For this reason I am adding shoots clays to my list of requirements, as you can't look like a thug shooting clays.
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Old May 18, 2009, 09:55 AM   #16
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it's not just the Democrats that try to paint the NRA as a bunch of rednecks. The liberal press does the same thing
I'd also add that the NRA members paint that picture also, I've seen a lot of NRA stickers on cars and trucks with dixie flags and nascar stickers.
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:14 AM   #17
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[ed.Well it seems someone deleted/changed the post I originally quoted here concerning affirmative action. Maybe the mods decided they were not going to tolerate it. Only took 12 hours.]
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:25 AM   #18
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Sadly, black folks are culturally and historically disinclined to exercise their IIA rights, as they've been ardently discouraged from doing so for a long time.
I believe this but I don't accept it !! Minorities need to swallow hard and step up to the plate. As a Hunter Safety Instructor I have participated in teaching literally thousand of young folks and adults of which only a handfull of minorities were present. I personally find it refreshing when I do but cannot openly express such. The number of minority instructors, I have taught with ?? .. "Zero". Next time you go to a Gun Show, count the number of minorities you see walking about. I don't really know what the problem is or what solutions there might be but in part, I believe that minorities are holding back mostly by their choice. The door is open but they have to reach for it.

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Old May 18, 2009, 10:35 AM   #19
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Then you've got the fact that the NRA will endorse a candidate who has been known to use a certain word starting with 'N' over one that has not, despite the fact that the latter seems to be roughly equally supportive of gun rights (but has the pesky "D" next to his name).
Citation please?
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:41 AM   #20
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Actually, because of where I live, the gun shows and ranges are regularly teeming with minorities, especially black Americans. But I doubt that very many of them are NRA members for reasons previously stated.

The other influence that I didn't address earlier is government schooling. Young people have been taught for decades in public schooling that II-A was a collective right, intended for agents of the state to exercise in defense of the public by proxy. Don't underestimate how this teaching has had an affect on the outlook of generations of people, of any color, on gun ownership and use, especially in the vacuum that's devoid of any family shooting heritage.
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:59 AM   #21
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The NRA is a confounding variable in this debate, in my opinion. The focus shouldn't be on getting blacks in the NRA, it should be getting ALL people to shoot, whether for sporting purposes, self defense or hunting. If a guy hasn't got the inclination or opportunity to do that, then the NRA doesn't mean diddly to him.

Here in the UK I have had reasonable success introducing minorities to shooting at the club. If I consider UK citizens only, then it is a 50/50 split in terms of minority vs white first time shooters I have managed to persuade to come to the range and try shooting for themselves.

BUT...the UK vs foreign citizen split is much larger. It is way easier for me to get a South African or Aussie to go to the range than an English co-worker for example. That has been true even if I consider first time shooters.

The funniest thing I saw was an American lady down at our club, first time shooter. She was in her late forties. I showed her my rifle and she had a go and enjoyed it. I thought to myself: isn't it odd that a lady from a country with decent gun laws gets her first taste of shooting from a South African in a country with really restrictive gun laws?

Seems to me there is always a way to get people shooting, but it has to be 'sold' to them in a very subtle manner. It is easier to get two first timers to the range together, than one on his/her own. They don't have to start with guns: I have found that nobody turns down an opportunity to use my crossbow: they love it! After a few sessions with that, I offer them a go with my .22 rifle. I tell them it has less 'of a kick' and is more accurate, and many times they will try it. Afterwards they wonder why they haven't tried it before!

I think there is much more merit in that kind of persuasion than asking some dude to join the NRA.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:07 PM   #22
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The NRA is a confounding variable in this debate, in my opinion. The focus shouldn't be on getting blacks in the NRA, it should be getting ALL people to shoot, whether for sporting purposes, self defense or hunting. If a guy hasn't got the inclination or opportunity to do that, then the NRA doesn't mean diddly to him.
The point here is that the NRA is damaged by it's WASP image. IF the NRA is going to be at the forefront of the 2A fight it needs to have a diverse image to be politically effective.
The Jewish organization is Jews for the Protection of Firearms Ownership(JPFO). As soon as I get my GOA membership I am going to get one from them. They are pretty much the most effective 2A tool for Democrats, but they are pretty small. You also don't have to be Jewish to join(I am not). The NRA-ILA gets a little money from me, but the NRA in general gets none.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:41 PM   #23
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Luckily for me - the clubs I shoot at in San Antonio are very diverse and supportive to all. The one time someone started to be touch rude on race (not a member) he was quickly shut down.

About the views of African-americans on guns. I've talked to some communithy members on this. Quite a few folks are quite ok with gun ownership. They do worry about illegal guns in their communities and probably would support stricter licensing requirements on the surface view that these would cut down crime.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:59 PM   #24
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If I had the patients I would write out the crap I have to put up with everywhere I go to be a blind gun owner with pride.

pawn shops, gun stores I get it even at the range I pay money to.

Remember the gun I bought on friday, they weren't going to sale it to me at first, because I didn't bring some one with me to help me fill out papers, it took me calling The NRA Disabled shooting Services, and the Manager before the gun salesman would help me fill out the paper work, cause he was woried about a liability.

oh, and I have been laughed out of countless Pawn shops even in front of my daugher, I have been in a gun store, a store where I just bought another gun from and heard a partner behind the counter say "I guess everyone needs protection, no matter what's wrong with them huh?"

This is why, the NRA and all the Gun nuts out there have a bad name, and its frustrating as hell!

I can't find shooting partners out here in PHX why cause I have to convince who ever first that I am blind and I won't some how shoot them or myself, or pull the hammer instead of the trigger when firing the gun, or put the bullet in the wrong way or what ever the hell!

I am just pist off that it means nothing that I was the only I mean the only blind guy at the NRA convention on friday!

Ok, off my soap box.

and I am a proud NRA member but I just wish I got more respect and people stop being so damn leetest because I am freken blind.
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Old May 18, 2009, 02:05 PM   #25
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No offense blindman but how does your post relate to the thread on blacks in the nra?
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