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Old June 10, 2013, 06:16 PM   #1
Method
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NRA Membership Question

This is my first foray into the Law and Civil Rights arena. Having read many of the posts here, I finally feel comfortable that I can ask this group for diverse opinions without being booted from the community or made to feel like less of an American.

Should all gun owners be a member of the NRA? Are any of you supporters of the 2nd Amendment who are not NRA members?

Why am I asking? Well, I'm not yet an NRA member. I support the defense of the 2nd Amendment, but I'm not comfortable with many of the actions the NRA has taken over the years. That part of me says not to join and give the group a larger voice. But the other side of me says that I can't impact the organization if I'm sitting on the outside. I want to contribute to a responsible, fact based, scientific approach to gun control. I didn't see any of that in the recent legislation. Alas, I didn't see it in many NRA actions either.
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Old June 10, 2013, 06:26 PM   #2
Spats McGee
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I am an NRA member, but I do not agree with all of their positions. Obviously, I agree with enough of them that I keep sending them my money, and I guess I've decided that I'm willing to just take my lumps on those positions that I do not support. It is undoubtedly a powerful voice on the 2A front.

That said, if you're uncomfortable with the NRA, you might consider some other 2A groups, such as the Second Amendment Foundation. I'm not a member of that one, but it's doing some good work on the 2A front.
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Old June 10, 2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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Having such a large organization defend a cause is not something to be taken lightly. Expanding their membership will obviously make their weight in the country a little more noticeable, but not everyone agrees with all of their policies. That being said, they are doing good things for law-abiding gun owners, so there is nothing wrong with being a member even if you don't agree with absolutely everything they say.

Keep in mind there are other organizations like NAGR that you may feel more comfortable donating money to. Regardless of who you end up supporting, your support, along with the support of many other responsible gun owners, will help the cause.
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Old June 10, 2013, 06:55 PM   #4
MissPistol
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I joined the NRA.....

....... because it was a requirement for membership at a range. I am also not so impressed with their new friends in the Senate. My primary membership, and where I spend my money, is NAGR. They are very serious about 2A rights, are and are on top of legislative movement at all levels. Currently Oregon has some bills coming up that make us nervous out here, and NAGR is the only organization that keeps us up to date so we know when to act.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:12 PM   #5
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I am not a member of the NRA as of yet. I have been considering joining myself, but like you I don't agree with everything the NRA does. That said I don't agree with everything the ACLU does either, but I find them to be an important cog in the frame work of maintaining freedom. Same with the NRA. There are of course other organizations you could join such as the NAGR.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:19 PM   #6
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I am an NRA member and I recently upgraded to Life Member. Do I agree with everything the NRA says, or with everything they do? Most assuredly not. But, like it or not the politicians look at the NRA as the bellweather for the shooting and gun owning segment of the population. In today's political climate, I think it is absolutely essential that the NRA's membership be as large as we can make it. Just pay your dues, tell them not to send you any solicitations other than your annual renewal, and ignore them for eleven months out of the year if you choose. But please add your name to the list so the enrolled membership will be one digit larger.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:23 PM   #7
Frank Ettin
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I doubt that anyone likes everything the NRA does or says. I sure don't. But the facts of life are:
  • The NRA is the most effective RKBA organization (although the SAF has in recent years been most effective in court). They have the largest membership of any of them, and they do the best that they can with that membership base. Politics is strictly a numbers game. If the NRA had more members, it could be that much more effective. And those folks who complain about the NRA's so called failures need to tell us who did, or could have, actually accomplished more.

  • Politicians care about numbers. One hundred phone calls or letters in support of or against something are better than 10. Ten thousand would be a lot better yet. It doesn't necessarily matter too much what the caller or writer says is the reason to support or oppose the thing (as long as it's polite and rational). What matters most is the number on each side of the question. Politicians are primarily influenced by political and economic power.

  • An NRA with 4 million members gets attention. An NRA with 5 million will get more, and an NRA with 10 million members could get some real serious attention. As annoying as the NRA can be, it's in our interests to see it grow and prosper.

  • Given all that, the NRA does what it reasonably can do in the political climate in which it operates. It can not perform magic. Under the right circumstances, it can, and has, effectively moved affirmative pro-RKBA legislation (like the law protecting gun makers from frivolous law suits and the National Park carry legislation). And sometimes it can block legislation we don't like. But sometimes the political deck is so stacked against our interests, the best we can reasonably expect the NRA to be able to do is help make the best of a bad situation.

  • It's fine to talk about "no compromise." But remember that he who insists on all or nothing gets nothing. If the votes aren't there they aren't there.

  • The NRA is at the forefront of shooter education and safety training. Their program for certifying instructors in a variety of disciplines helps make competent training more readily available to the public. And their "Refuse to be a Victim" program is excellent.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:28 PM   #8
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The NRA is a single issue advocacy group and often aligns with a variety of groups and/or individuals that support the Second Amendment. This is often seen by some as tacit support for that person or groups other positions, but I do not feel that is correct. I believe the NRA Leadership is smart enough to realize that aligning with as many different groups and politically motivated people as possible is to their advantage. At the end of the day the NRA support politicians that support Second Amendment freedoms and oppose those that don’t with little regard for other political issues.

I’ve been a member for several years and feel all gun owners should at least seriously consider membership. As someone once said about the United Nations, “for all their problems if they did not exist we would create them”.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:31 PM   #9
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Because "Most" politicians break their oath !!!

Quote:
I support the defense of the 2nd Amendment, but I'm not comfortable with many of the actions the NRA has taken over the years.
How are you currently doing that? Is there another gun rights group that you support or contribute to? As for me, I am a Endowment member which only means that the NRA got deeper into my pockets. .....

Basically, they are a lobbying group that is playing the Washington game in an effort to protect our 2A rights. If our elected representatives lived up to the oath they took, we probably would not need the NRA. Many years ago, out at FT. Des Moines, I took the same oath, have never broken it and never will. ..

Show your support and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old June 10, 2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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Thank you to all respondents. It's good to hear that I am not alone in my views, but getting a diverse set of responses is fantastic. When the issue has come up in my office or other groups, the argument is simply "because that's what gun owners do." Discussions would then quickly devolve into a variety of accusations and conspiracies.

The responses here so far have provided much more rational, logic based, and convincing arguments. It looks like I have a variety of other organizations that I can and really should get involved in. The NRA will almost certainly be one.

Cheers,
Method
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Old June 10, 2013, 08:23 PM   #11
Tom Servo
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Frank summed it up well. We need the NRA, even if it's not always what we want it to be.

Life members and those with over five years' membership to get a vote, and therefore a say, in the leadership of the organization.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:13 PM   #12
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Ask anyone that knows that sort of thing and they will tell you the NRA is the most influential lobby group on the hill.
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:05 PM   #13
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I'm a NRA member. No one has adequately explained how being a life member accomplishes anything more so I just pay my annual dues every year. I'm also a SAF member and send them semi-regular donations in addition to my membership dues. Thinking seriously about adding NRA-ILA to my list of non-profits, but haven't yet. I have mixed feelings about GOA; I think they are more good than bad, but my money is better spent at NRA and SAF.

I also volunteer and give money to other non-gun-related charities and NPO's, and I'm not a single-issue voter. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:13 PM   #14
David13
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I think you should join the NRA and support other groups also. It's the only way our rights can be protected.
There is strength in numbers. You can do much on your own. But do you? Probably like a lot of us, we wouldn't know where to start.
Here I can recommend Second Amendment Foundation and Cal Guns Foundation.
And also Cal Guns Shooting Sports Ass'n.
Bringing new young shooters into the sport is part of the only hope for the future that we have.
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:02 AM   #15
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Give credit where credit is due !!

Quote:
The NRA is at the forefront of shooter education and safety training. Their program for certifying instructors in a variety of disciplines helps make competent training more readily available to the public. And their "Refuse to be a Victim" program is excellent.
Sadly, too many folks are not aware of this. Our States Hunter Ed programs as well as others, were started by the NRA. Our ranges and instructors programs and insurance, is supported by the NRA. I once asked the NRA rep. why they did not do a better job of informing folks. He simple said that it was mostly up to us and he's right !!

Be Safe !!!
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Old June 11, 2013, 12:28 PM   #16
mayosligo
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NRA Membership Question

I am a member of the NRA. I belong to a lot of groups, none of which I agree 100%. Not sure such a group exists.

The NRA does fight for the Second Amendment so I support them.

I also support the SAF.
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Old June 11, 2013, 12:31 PM   #17
Nathan
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I'm an NRA Life Member. I'm a life member due to their effectiveness.

What don't you like?
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Old June 14, 2013, 06:54 AM   #18
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Definitely Be a Member

Anyone who enjoys shooting and hunting or believes in the concept of self-defense should, in my opinion, be a member of the NRA. They are the oldest and largest RKBA advocacy group in the country and they most definitely have influence in Congress. With 5 million members, they have the ability, or at least the perceived ability, to influence election outcomes.

I don't agree with all their "positions" either, or at least i haven't always. We've heard Wayne's dire warnings about the gun grabbers for years, even while good progress was made on right to carry and in USSC decisions. Unfortunately, the warnings are now coming true but at state, not federal levels. It will take years to undo the recent spate of bans and restrictions, if at all.

While i don't always appreciate the frequent donation requests from the ILA, i usually make a contribution each quarter. They do good work for our cause, and they sponsor others who are working for the same ends. On balance, i believe them worth supporting with my dues and contributions.
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Old June 14, 2013, 08:08 AM   #19
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Life Member of the NRA here. I also support all of the other pro-firearms organizations. Over the last 10 or 15 years, our small club has benefitted from 3 grants from the NRA to the tune of approximately 10 to 12 thousand dollars total. These grants were for range safety and improvement, and included at times building new earth berms around our outdoor rifle, trap & skeet ranges, new ballistic steel backstops for our indoor pistol range, and a grant for equipment (pellet guns, safety equipment, etc.) for our youth marksmanship program. Support every pro-firearms organization that you can. They all deserve your support, and future generations will thank you for it. As for the membership to the NRA, --was it money well spent? -- HELL, YEAH !
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Old June 14, 2013, 09:02 AM   #20
BumbleBug
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Join!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Method
Should all gun owners be a member of the NRA? Are any of you supporters of the 2nd Amendment who are not NRA members?
Sitting on the fence gets you nothing. Who agrees a 100% with any large organization? It's a 1 year $20 commitment. We as Americans gun owners need solidarity in defending our rights - NOW.

JOIN NOW!

...bug
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Old June 14, 2013, 09:05 AM   #21
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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Listen to Frank and Spats.... My sentiment exactly...
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Old June 14, 2013, 10:01 AM   #22
allaroundhunter
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Re: NRA Membership Question

Pretty much everything has been covered.... Well, except for this. An NRA membership gets you into the NRA convention each year!

Now, just as you and others are, I do not 100 percent agree with everything that the NRA says and does. But let's think for a second - Do you agree with 100% of the things that your wife says and does? And you are a life member for her.

Now, I'm not saying that you should become a life member, I'm just saying that even on some big commitments you don't 100% agree with everything. Take baby steps. Maybe just take the NRA out on a date (1 year membership) and then maybe it will progress.

I apologize for the random extended metaphor.... Not really sure where I got that from. (and method, if you aren't married then maybe you can at least catch my drift with that allusion).
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Old June 14, 2013, 10:04 AM   #23
Spats McGee
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A membership also gets you a magazine subscription. I don't know about the other organizations. I get American Rifleman every month.
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Old June 14, 2013, 03:39 PM   #24
44 AMP
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The NRA was founded in 1871, to promote marksmanship, and safety. And that's nearly all they did for nearly 100 years.

The NRA didn't enter the policital area until the realized they had to (there was no one else) in the later 1960s. They created the ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) as a separate organization to comply with the laws and deal with political issues.

I think if you own a gun, for any reason, you ought to belong to the NRA. For the insurance they provide as part of the membership, if for no other reason.

Membership at a certain level gets you a vote for the directors. If you don't like a particular position they take, you can vote them out. Kind of like our govt in that way, in theory, at least.

Won't say that everything they've done in recent decades has been the best possible course, but nobody else has the clout (or is so demonized), so they must be doing something right.
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