Skip to comments.Why I Joined Gun Owners of America
Posted on 07/13/2014 1:10:24 PM PDT by Q-ManRN
I was raised in a liberal family where owning a gun was taboo. People who owned a gun were criminals. Even seemingly decent folks who owned guns were recklessly endangering their children and their families, not to mention endangering the rest of us. After all, we lived in a nation of laws with police to protect us and hunters were just quaint throwbacks.
Then, one night my long held beliefs about guns and gun owners were turned on their head. A gun battle erupted near my home. I do not know to this day if the gun battle was gang-related or drug-related or both. One man was killed. The police were summoned via 9-1-1, but the first police officer took 40 minutes to arrive and the battle had long since subsided by then.
I was forced to ask myself what I could have done to protect myself and my family against those armed thugs in the absence of the police. The answer was nothing! From that time forward, I determined that I was not going to be defenseless in the face of armed thugs. After I overcame my fear of using a gun based upon my upbringing, I thought that I might join the NRA. I had heard about the NRA in the news; so, that seemed like a good starting point and I purchased a one year membership online.
Before I go any further with my story, I need to say that I have nothing personally against the NRA or against any of their members. I am writing about my personal journey and how that lead me to join the Gun Owners of America.
Now back to my story: I had purchased a one year membership with the NRA. Within a few weeks of purchasing my membership, I began receiving a lot of mail from the NRA and their affiliates asking me to purchase various items. These items included a credit card, insurance policies, and DVDs about proper shooting. One DVD was sent to me unsolicited with a letter telling me that I should accept or decline the offer to purchase the set of DVDs by a certain date. I was busy with other matters and I did not respond to that offer. Nevertheless, I kept periodically getting pesky letters reminding me about that offer.
My email inbox was also filled with emails from the NRA about discounted products and services. I understood that the NRA was facing well-funded political opponents in Washington, D.C. However, I did not like the high pressure marketing and sales tactics and I was not interested in hearing from the NRAs business partners. I eventually let my membership lapse.
Around that time, the national debate about universal background checks was heating up again. The NRA was taking what I felt then was a moderate position that I agreed with in that debate. They were willing to consider certain gun control proposals that did not seem to me to limit lawful gun owners too much. I liked that moderate approach because it seemed like a good way to accommodate my new-found support of private gun ownership with my liberal upbringing. In studying the politics of the debate on universal background checks, I came across another Second Amendment organization called the Gun Owners of America or GOA. I heard the Executive Director of GOA Larry Pratt say that he did not believe in background checks at all. I reacted to that statement with horror! I thought to myself, who would support a position like that? That would mean criminals could walk into any store that sold guns and buy a gun.
Despite my initial reaction of horror to Mr. Pratts statement, I was also intrigued about how he could defend that position. As I continued listening to his defense, I began to understand the historical danger of letting government decide who could keep guns and how these proposed background check expansions could easily lead to firearm registration. As I studied GOAs position further, I began to understand that our national background check system is used by citizens that choose to obey the law. Criminals were easily defeating the national background check system by using straw purchasers and false IDs.
And that was only true if criminals even used a legitimate gun dealer for their purchases. I realized that many criminals steal firearms or get them from black market sources. Our own federal government had supplied the Mexican drug cartels with firearms in Operation Fast & Furious thereby fueling the black market in firearms. Those drug cartels killed at least 300 Mexican citizens and one of our own border patrol agents using those guns shortly thereafter. Yet, no government officials even faced criminal charges as a result. I asked myself are these government officials really trustworthy to determine who can have firearms? as Mr. Pratt had suggested.
I joined Gun Owners of America. I received very little mail from them other than an occasional legislative update or a newsletter. I did not receive commercial offers in the mail or by email as the result of joining GOA. GOAs email alert system is completely voluntary and it is one of the most user-friendly ways to contact your congressperson about legislative bills pertaining to our Second Amendment.
In addition, I was learning through GOA about what our Founding Fathers really intended when they wrote our Second Amendment. I began to grasp that our Founding Fathers wanted to put guns in peoples hands, rather than keeping guns out of peoples hands, so that free people would always be able to fulfill their personal responsibility to protect themselves and their community. They understood that criminals would always be able to get guns because criminals are willing to break the law to get guns; therefore, decent free people must also be afforded that means of protection as I had already learned from the violent incident near my home.
I am grateful to GOA for opening my eyes to the truth and I want to thank them for their courageous moral stance against advocates of gun control. I am a proud member of Gun Owners of America and I sincerely hope that you will consider joining GOA as well.
These days, under this regime, I don’t know if its a very good idea to associate yourself with any group that might in any manner indicate that you own a firearm.
Editorial by me about the Gun Owners of America.
Commonly told story about the NRA. If they stopped being jerks, they would easily have 10x the membership.
Skeeter, I see your point. However, this administration can obtain that information if they really want to do so. Do you think the NSA cannot tell them that I belong to GOA based upon emails? Do you think the ATF cannot find that information out if they really wanted to do an investigation?
We are not supposed to fear our government.
Skeeter wrote: “These days, under this regime, I dont know if its a very good idea to associate yourself with any group that might in any manner indicate that you own a firearm.”
Nice essay. Thanks for sharing your experience!
I have to admit that I was surprised with the blatant commercialism.
Kirkwood wrote: “Commonly told story about the NRA. If they stopped being jerks, they would easily have 10x the membership.”
You are very welcome and thank you for the compliment.
Still Thinking wrote: “Nice essay. Thanks for sharing your experience!”
Thanks & nice to hear from you. I hope that you are well.
I agree about all the junk mail from NRA, but they are still far more effective than GOA. GOA seems to spend as much time attacking NRA as supporting gun rights. Larry Pratt has a big problem with NRA, which doesn’t help anybody.
BTTT. Good essay.
I see your point as well. However, I do not believe in making what the totalitarians clearly want to do any easier. Such lists are the first place they will look.
Run and hide coward.
Thanks for the ping !
Then one evening I accompanied a friend to a NRA members council meeting and began to learn that they do a lot behind the scenes lobbying and provide a lot of support at many levels. The plain truth of the matter is that no other organization has the depth of resources to bring to fight. As one of the more influential players in the 2A fight in CA says, "Never choose not be a member of the NRA." So I took out a new membership.
Then my mail box filled up with crap and I became angry with NRA again.
When I whined about it at the members council I was told that all I had to do was email the NRA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 800-672-3888 and ask them to put me on the "Do Not Promote" list and the tide of crap receded.
So now I am an NRA member in good standing again even though I dare not put the decals on my automobiles in my neighborhood. I am also a member of the state affiliate CA Rifle and Pistol Association which, even if good for nothing else, meets the requirements to make purchases at the CMP. I am also a member of SAF - Second Amendment Foundation since it is these guys, often with financial assistance from the NRA, that brings the hurt to the anti-gunners in court. These are the organizations fighting in the trenches day and night to take back my gun rights from my masters in Sacramento. No other organization can do so effectively and some such a NAGR are pretty much scams that exist solely to separate the clueless for their cash.
... said the anonymous poster under a nonsensical screen name.
I would not join anything that would have Me as a member.
FReepin’ is as committed as I can get!
From what I have seen of Larry Pratt these days, he spends his time contending with opponents of gun rights, not the NRA.
For me, it is about which organization has the stronger position on defending our Second Amendment protections. The differing approach to universal background check legislation was pivotal in my decision to join GOA. These Democrat politicians love compromise because they demand more and more compromise over time until they get what they originally wanted.
Larry Pratt points out that the right of free people to keep and bear arms is God-given; therefore, compromising that right is unacceptable. So, effectiveness depends on your point of view since compromising my right to keep and bear arms is not effective to me.
ozzymandus wrote: “I agree about all the junk mail from NRA, but they are still far more effective than GOA. GOA seems to spend as much time attacking NRA as supporting gun rights. Larry Pratt has a big problem with NRA, which doesnt help anybody.”
I am glad that you liked my essay. Thank you.
I agree about all the junk mail from NRA
I have been a member of NRA off and on for years. I can take the junk mail as it’s easy enough to simply discard. The non stop phone solicitation is what irritated me to no end. While I realise money is needed to counter the anti-gun crowd, some of us have limited incomes and don’t appreciate being shamed into giving for this campaign and that one. I haven’t been a member now for 2 years this time and probably will not join again.
So did You get a semiautomatic revolver with extended mags and a Lazer?
Or a Double Barrel with nite vision?
I don't get a whole lot of unsolicited mail from NRA, so I don't get upset about it.
You are right about there being “lots of good pro-gun organizations” and I like your view of JPFO. :)
I appreciate your experiences. California is a “tough nut to crack” as far as gun rights because it is controlled by liberal Democrats. The important thing is to be in the fight to protect our Second Amendment right as you said. I might also add that here is a Gun Owners of California organization which is associated with GOA, I believe that GOA was started in California.
“Commonly told story about the NRA. If they stopped being jerks, they would easily have 10x the membership.”
And if they quit supporting RATS who claim to support the Second Amendment. As far as I am concerned, to the extent that the NRA supports non-conservartives, they are suspect. I’ve let my NRA membership lapse because of these actions on their part. The WHOLE Constitution should be considered by the NRA when making an endorsement, but it isn’t.
the NRA lost me when they didn’t endorse Sharon Angle against the “rat” Harry Reid
I do not fear my government, I am angered by it. Run and hide is not a strategy unless you want to guarantee that your opponents are victorious.
Ditto. I remember reading that the House would still be Democrat held if the 2010 NRA endorsements had all retained their seats.
Not comparing my way of thinking to anyone in particular, but the run and hide strategy works just fine when the other side has all the cards. See the American Revolution
What do I like best about GOA?
During jury selection for a crime involving a shooting, the attorney asked if anyone was a member of a gun group. I said I was a member of GOA. What is that, the attorney asked. I replied, “They’re a group that formed because they were tired of the namby-pamy, limp-wristed liberals at the NRA!”
The liberal woman next to me, who said she got all her news from the NY Times, let out a shriek. The attorney looked at me like I had 12 heads, all drooling. They decided they didn’t want me on the jury...
I was most impressed by the immediate and emphatic reaction by the Second Amendment Sisters to the post-Katrina gun grab in the big easy. The NRA took days to issue a statement. Consider giving them your support as well, male or female.
I am not happy with the NRA, the GOA is unquestionably the better organization. The NRA gives “A” ratings to plenty of people that get Ds from the GOA, and they helped re-elect rat Joe Manchin, who quickly betrayed them.
A little late to the party, but welcome nevertheless.
Don’t worry your name is already on several govt lists. If you are worried about being a member of the NRA don’t be if the government wants to rendition you they won’t give a c##p about your membership they will just want to put you into a American version of Buchenwald concentration camp as they view as an enemy of the “state”.
I let my membership lapse a couple years ago when I found myself in a bewildering array of memberships in this and that and decided to pare down considerably.
I received a lot of advertising from the NRA but it didn't bother me as I believe in "anything for the cause" and I didn't let it offend me in any way.
Ever since, we get tons and tons and tons of junk mail in her name....so that's how RD makes their money; selling names and addresses.