Saturday, February 16, 2013




            Guns, guns, guns – it’s all the rage by anti-gun advocates, inner city victims of crime, and of course, the media. Of the most vocal and influential of pro-gun advocates, we have the National Rifle Association (NRA), an organization that boasts as its flag a protector of our Second Amendment rights. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, any proclamation should be enclosed in an atmosphere of reason.

            Recently, it was reported by Newsday (Feb 2, 2013) [NRA lists anti-gun groups, celebs]. The fact that the NRA notes the list was posted Sept 17, 2012 raises the question as to why Newsday decided to report it now. Nevertheless, the list is newsworthy. It names a variety of individuals, celebrities, organizations and corporations the NRA has deemed anti-gun, to include a multitude of religious groups. While some of these individuals/celebrities, corporations and religious groups have actively postured as anti-gun; the NRA’s uncompromising litmus test has defaulted by including many avid supporters of pro-gun rights.  

One case in point is the classification of ex-game show host Bob Barker as anti-gun. The fact that the octogenarian sleeps with a .38-caliber pistol next to his bed, shoots skeet and donated to the group’s choice of president, Republican Mitt Romney, evidently didn’t come up on the radar. By its own extension the NRA has positioned itself in opposition to wide segments of American society, to include the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing, the National Association of School Psychologists, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (its first president – Martin Luther King Jr.), the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church, to name a few. Worry not if you are a member of the Democratic Party; you are at the top of the list.

As a member of the NRA for forty years, I can honestly say, “Move over Bob.” The paranoia emanating from the NRA comes from the top, and if you listen carefully, you’ll notice it matches the chorus from the opposition. The atmosphere of reason has vanished. As president of a rifle & pistol club, I am proud to have witnessed a membership with diversified interests, ranging from target shooting, competitive trap & skeet, to hunting. None of our members would ever hunt with a semi-automatic assault weapon. Some of us actually cheat occasionally and go fishing. Some of us vote Democratic. With all its resources, how can the leadership of the NRA fail to recognize its own constituency?
I don’t plan to give up my membership because of misguided leadership. Alienation of a vast segment of American society is not a proper course to secure the Second Amendment. On the contrary, it serves to divide and dilute the true purpose of the amendment. I’ve been good to the great outdoors, and the great outdoors have been good to me. The ghost of Charlton Heston is alive and well.  In these difficult times, I do hope the NRA will be able to recruit what’s left of the Southern Christians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Democrats. By contrast, neither Mayor Michael Bloomberg nor his pro-gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, made the list. Go Figure!