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The FIVE-MINUTE HANDBOOK (RKBA)
awbansunset.com ^ | 06-28-03 | JASPAR@aol.com

Posted on 06/28/2003 5:48:02 AM PDT by backhoe

A FIVE-MINUTE HANDBOOK FOR GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

Copyright © 2000 by JASPAR@aol.com All rights reserved. Reproduction or distribution is permitted so long as this copyright notice is attached; the complete Handbook (including the introduction) is reproduced; no word or words are altered in any way whatsoever, and the web site address http://www.jaspar.net is attached. Thank you!

INTRODUCTION

I've been a gun rights activist for nearly 10 years.

I wasted a lot of time for the first 5 years because no one gave me the rule book you are now reading.

Maybe that's because no one had written it. This is the stuff I wish I had known starting on day one.

If you've just arrived at this party, the next 5 minutes you spend reading this might save you 5 years of otherwise wasted time and energy.

If you've been in the gun rights game for a while, this handbook will be the fastest refresher course you've ever taken.

This past year I've received a lot of mail from jittery gun owners who are finally waking up to what's happening to our right to keep and bear arms (RKBA).

This handbook is mostly for them.

If the rules I list below scare off a few folks, so be it. I want to tell it like it really is -- to give a quick snapshot of the tips, tricks and tactics that actually work in RKBA activism.

The bad news is that this is not a complete list of the rules.

The good news is that there will never be a complete list of rules.

The rules listed below are based on my own experience from working thousands of hours with down and dirty RKBA activist pros. I am deeply grateful to all of them. They know who they are.

Some of these rules have been followed for so long by old-time activists that they have forgotten what the original rules were.

It's time to list them again.

And sneak in a couple of new ones.

So read them and weep, or read them and rejoice.

THE HANDBOOK RULES

NO ONE IS AS INTERESTED AS YOU ARE. Nowadays everyone's attention span and time are limited. Be grateful if you get anyone's attention on our issue, even for a few seconds. Some wannabe activists come in like a lion, then disappear faster than sh*t through a short dog. Take whatever you get from any volunteer. Praise and thank them. Don't be disappointed when they drift away. They will. But some come back. Keep the light on for them.

THE NRA STINKS. So does GOA, SAF, JPFO, and any or all of the rest of the gun rights organizations. At the same time, all of these organizations are the best thing since sliced bread. We won't keep our rights without them. It's normal to love them and hate them at the same time. Be sure your complaints about them go to the person who can do something about your problem. Never give up your membership -- it's much easier to fix things from the inside. Avoid griping in public -- our opponents love it when we do. Always handle our dirty laundry behind closed doors. Always.

THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET. There is no single answer, rule, or solution. Never has been, and never will be. None of us will write the single brilliant letter to the editor or internet message that will miraculously turn everything around. Keep steadily busy. Do as much as you can, whenever you can. Anything you do counts, but some things count more than others. Find out what counts. Then do it.

THERE IS NO FINAL VICTORY. Preserving RKBA is an ongoing PROCESS. We are winning and losing battles during this process, but the war will never be over. Becoming active to keep your gun rights is a lot like cleaning your house: it's thankless and boring work, but necessary. Like dirt, the antigun crowd will just keep coming back. Forever. Your activism will keep us winning more than losing. Our opponents count on wearing us down. They love it when one of us (not you, of course) gets discouraged and drops out. When you fully understand and accept the reality that RKBA is a never-ending struggle, you're automatically in the top 5 percent of all RKBA defenders. Congratulations.

RKBA ACTIVISM IS BORING. It's especially boring when you are doing things that really make a difference. Most of us want drama. We want to be entertained. Phone bank calling, precinct walking, going to RKBA grassroots seminars -- suddenly, even a trip to the dentist for a root canal will start to look better. Sorry, but there is no workaround on this aspect. Freedom is not free. It's a pain in the ???. Get used to it, get over it, and get to work.

USE THE POWER OF FEAR AND GUILT. Gun owners are susceptible to these emotions. Awaken sleeping RKBA activists by tapping these powerful emotions. Fear and guilt will move mountains -- and fill the collection plate, and recruit new members. If gun owners won't become active for themselves, ask them to do it for their families. For their children. For their country. And -- this tactic works! -- ask them to do it for YOU.

WATCH OUT FOR MISDIRECTED, TIME-WASTING EFFORTS. E-mail to elected people is pretty much worthless -- unless the official already personally knows you. Internet polls are useless. Online polls make some folks think they are actually doing something. They are not. It's a false sense of accomplishment. It's like bringing a doctor to a dead man. Focus on the stuff that works. If you're going to hunt ducks, go where the ducks are.

POLITICIANS ONLY CARE ABOUT VOTES AND MONEY. In-person visits, phone calls, and snail-mailed, handwritten letters to elected folks help -- because politicians know that if you take this much trouble, you and your family and friends will also vote.

HOT TIP: Make yourself known to politicians for issues other than gun rights. Don't present yourself as a single-issue person. Praise and help politicians on THEIR pet projects. Then, when a new gun control law comes up, your opinion will seem especially credible. Otherwise, you will soon be stereotyped and discounted as a single-issue voter.

ANOTHER HOT TIP: Politicians have to explain why they vote Yes or No on proposed laws. Sometimes they really need your help in composing explanations to their constituents. If you want your elected official to vote No on a seemingly popular new gun control law, she might be more willing to vote your way if you give her a "back door" -- a good, common sense explanation that she can give to all of her constituents.

GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE. If we have the right people in power, antigun laws will not be passed. Period. The laws are what matter. This concept is so simple that many folks can't see it, just like they can't "see" the air they breathe. The anti-rights crowd can hold all the gun control seminars and news conferences they want, but nothing will happen unless they can pass more laws. This fact tells you about the how, what, where, when, why, and with whom you should be spending your time, energy, and money. Politicians pass laws. Therefore, you must get involved in politics to protect your gun rights. There is just no way to get around this. Sorry. I don't like politics either. Bummer!

STOP THE SABER RATTLING -- NOW! Avoid those shrill folks who sound threatening or talk about doomsday. It's a waste of your time. These noisy folks remind me of a couple in a failing marriage who only talk about a getting a divorce instead of talking about their real problems. If they don't solve their problems, separation or divorce becomes the inevitable outcome. Some people get pumped up on silly fantasy scenarios. I do not.

ARM YOURSELF WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION. Paradoxically, bad information or disinformation is a plague in the so-called Information Age. When you write or talk about firearms issues, use only the facts, the truth, and the provable. Verify any quotes that you use. Back up your generalizations with powerful and specific examples. Get on the internet, and get your like-minded friends online. Join several of the hundreds of net communities that will keep you informed instantly and completely about our special issues. Information is power!

IGNORE MEDIA SPIN AND THE NEWS WAVES. It's far too easy to go bonkers reacting to the latest media-driven crisis. Don't let the media push your buttons. The RKBA grassroots pros I know do not overreact to crises. In fact, most of the ultra-pros that I know do not react at all to media hysteria. Bashing the media about their bias is not productive. Some gun owners use media bias as an excuse to do nothing -- because the situation seems so overwhelming and hopeless. Truth is, if you are a busy activist -- already steadily doing stuff that matters -- you will find the media reacting to YOU. Be friendly and polite with them -- not hostile. Become a reliable source of information for them. And just keep on being ACTIVE.

JUST SHOW UP. It's been said that 80 percent of success is showing up. Being there. Showing up to vote. Showing up at an RKBA seminar. At your assemblyman's office. At a city council meeting. My father's favorite motto: "Your actions speak so loud that I can't hear a word you're saying." Your "silent" activism can be a model for others. What will your 3 hunting buddies think when they find out you spent an afternoon handing out brochures door-to-door for a pro-gun politician?

DON'T MESS WITH TRUE BELIEVERS. In the time you spend trying to convert one hard core antigun person to our side, you could have gone out and motivated and organized 20 people who already think like you do. Go with the flow. It's easier on your nerves, and much more effective. Personally, I have converted several anti-rights true believers, but never again! Lots of NRA members are not registered voters. A lot of gun owners aren't NRA members. Even more folks have no idea of their elected officials' positions on gun issues. Where is your time most effectively spent? Think about this before you spend an hour writing a clever response to a silly message you found somewhere on the internet.

SIMPLICITY STILL MATTERS. The old rule, Keep It Super Simple (KISS), is as important as it ever was. It applies to internet postings, planning, speeches -- everything. And keep it short. And keep it sweet: don't ever ridicule or insult anyone. Did you notice that I did NOT say, "Keep It Simple, STUPID?"

YOU ARE ALL ALONE. Well, not quite alone. You do have some help. The NRA has a staff of several hundred. There is no way humanly possible that "the NRA" can put out all the brush fires started by the anti-rights crowd. Pro-gun national organizations give direction and information -- but they cannot save your rights. Only YOU can save YOUR rights. You are 100 percent responsible. When you fully accept this reality, you are automatically in the top one percent of all RKBA activists.

THE HIDDEN BONUS OF GUN RIGHTS ACTIVISM. The more involved you get with firearms freedom, the more you will realize that your single issue actually complements and protects other human rights issues. Personally, I am deeply offended by many aspects of today's culture. When I focus my activism on RKBA, I can often sense I am making a measurable difference. All rights -- like all humans -- are connected.

WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST DO SOMETHING. Sometimes we don't know what will work. Sometimes the rule is that there are no rules. I once wrote an essay I thought was mediocre at best. Five years later, I'm still receiving mail about it. Don't hesitate to try something new and innovative -- get it out on the table! Often your finest essay or brilliant letter will not be acknowledged, or you will just get a form letter response. But that letter to the editor that you dashed off in a few minutes appears in tomorrow's newspaper! Go figure. Better yet, try not to figure. Trust yourself, trust your instincts -- and just do something.

I'll see you in the trenches.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News
KEYWORDS: 2ndamendment; banglist; firearms; fiveminutehandbook; gun; guns; handbook; rkba
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1 posted on 06/28/2003 5:48:02 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: Joe Brower
FYI--
2 posted on 06/28/2003 5:49:29 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: BOBWADE
pinged for later reread
3 posted on 06/28/2003 5:56:23 AM PDT by zip (I would rather be judged by 12 of my peers than carried by 6.)
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To: backhoe
Good one backhoe.
4 posted on 06/28/2003 6:03:37 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (I am not a prime demographic, I am a MAN!)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
Thanks for looking- I picked it up from another forum and thought it was worth a read.
5 posted on 06/28/2003 6:14:10 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: backhoe
EXCELLENT!ThankYou,backhoe!!
6 posted on 06/28/2003 7:10:59 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: AAABEST; wku man; SLB; Travis McGee; Squantos; harpseal; Shooter 2.5; The Old Hoosier; xrp; ...
A classic and an absolute must-read for any activist, RKBA or otherwise.

I also have a formatted version of this in PDF on my website HERE.


7 posted on 06/28/2003 7:39:24 AM PDT by Joe Brower ("Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master." -- Sallust)
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To: Joe Brower; backhoe
Thanks, gentlemen.

Information is a powerful tool. I have put this, and some others from here GUN FACTS 3.3 IS NOW AVAILABLE!(Will open in new window.)

in my PDA so I will always have them handy.

8 posted on 06/28/2003 7:46:29 AM PDT by LibKill (MOAB, the greatest advance in Foreign Relations since the cat-o'-nine-tails!)
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To: backhoe
Forgot one: BLOAT, Cache, and take names.
9 posted on 06/28/2003 7:59:02 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican (If the only way an American can get elected is through Mexican votes, we have a war to be waged.)
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To: Joe Brower; bandleader
Thanks for looking... Joe, I'll come back and copy that link... I just woke up from a catnap- got up at 2:30 this AM, minor family emergencies have been happening lately; this time the damned dog wanted to hunt rats...
10 posted on 06/28/2003 8:03:26 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: Joe Brower
The only thing I disagree with is the comment of about taking part in internet polls.

They can be fun and all we need to do is lose an important one and it will make the headlines the very next morning.

All in all, this is a very important list in defeating political enemies, whether or not it's about guns.

11 posted on 06/28/2003 8:11:04 AM PDT by Shooter 2.5 (Don't punch holes in the lifeboat)
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To: backhoe
Never give up your membership [to the NRA, GOA, etc] -- it's much easier to fix things from the inside. Avoid griping in public -- our opponents love it when we do. Always handle our dirty laundry behind closed doors. Always.

Very important, and rarely adhered to.

12 posted on 06/28/2003 8:11:09 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: backhoe
"DON'T MESS WITH TRUE BELIEVERS. In the time you spend trying to convert one hard core antigun person to our side, you could have gone out and motivated and organized 20 people who already think like you do. Go with the flow. It's easier on your nerves, and much more effective."

The author fails to address one point. How do you actually "know" that "they" are "irreconcilable true believers" in the anti-gun movement?? A majority of folks probably are somewhere "in the middle" on the gun rights issue, and CAN be convinced by a marshalling of REAL facts, and an expose' of anti-gun lies. The only way to know is to try.

13 posted on 06/28/2003 8:12:15 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: LibKill
I posted some link to 3.3, but from the color, yours is not one I have- I'll copy it later.
14 posted on 06/28/2003 8:13:35 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: *bang_list
Bang!
15 posted on 06/28/2003 8:15:46 AM PDT by TERMINATTOR (Don't tread on me!)
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To: PatrioticAmerican
Forgot one: BLOAT, Cache, and take names.

It really seems like it may come to that, doesn't it? My faith in the ballot box & the jury box to actually shape events has been badly shaken... started with the Clintons, naturally, but recent events haven't helped.

16 posted on 06/28/2003 8:20:56 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: Wonder Warthog; Mr. Mojo
Good points!
17 posted on 06/28/2003 8:22:22 AM PDT by backhoe (What part about "uninfringed" is so hard to understand? The 2nd guards the 1st...)
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To: backhoe
This was great, thanks! I just cut and pasted it onto an e-mail and sent it to all members of my gun club and other pro 2nd Amendment friends nationwide.
18 posted on 06/28/2003 8:57:43 AM PDT by ExSoldier (M1911A1: The ORIGINAL "Point and Click" interface!)
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To: ExSoldier
I just cut and pasted it onto an e-mail and sent it to all members of my gun club and other pro 2nd Amendment friends nationwide.

I greatly appreciate & applaud that- pass it on!

19 posted on 06/28/2003 9:00:35 AM PDT by backhoe (What part about "uninfringed" is so hard to understand? The 2nd guards the 1st...)
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To: backhoe
bump
20 posted on 06/28/2003 2:51:58 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We are crushing our enemies, seeing him driven before us and hearing the lamentations of the liberal)
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To: backhoe
Here is another approach: Promote hunting/shooting sports to show how interesting and how much fun it can be. Once you help a person become a gun owner, you automatically have another supporter of the Second Amendment.

Case in point:

Varmint Al's Hunting Page

Varmint Al's Shooting Page

Varmint Al's Reloading Page

Varmint Al's Free Targets

Good Hunting... from Varmint Al

21 posted on 06/28/2003 3:11:13 PM PDT by Varmint Al
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To: backhoe
Good one backhoe.

Don't present yourself as a single-issue person.

Good advice when confronting a politician but I can't help wondering if any of the other "issues" stand a chance in the absence of RKBA. We're so disarmed presently (state, county and cities- 'gun-free' school zones) that it comes as no surprise that the 'authoratie' have stepped in to fill the vacuum.

It was predicted and we were warned, but nevertheless failed to protect a most basic right against the encroachments and inroads made by statists and socialists, to whom self defense and self reliance remain a constant threat.

Slavery was outlawed many years ago and I refuse to become one today. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness begin when the chains have been removed and hit the floor.

22 posted on 06/28/2003 4:26:16 PM PDT by budwiesest
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To: budwiesest
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness begin when the chains have been removed and hit the floor.

Not disagreement here... I thought this article was a "fair to middlin'" overview- I'd swear I've read better ones long ago, but can't even recall the titles enough to get anything from a search.

23 posted on 06/28/2003 5:05:51 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: Centurion2000
Thanks for the bump!
24 posted on 06/28/2003 5:09:18 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: Varmint Al; Joe Brower; backhoe; Eaker; humblegunner; HoustonCurmudgeon; PetroniDE; Flyer; ...
"Promote hunting/shooting sports to show how interesting and how much fun it can be."

That's a great idea, Al!

Joe, if you would be so kind as to use your 8 gauge scattergun ping list to alert those I've missed, I'd appreciate it:


ALL TEXANS - MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

THE JULY SHOOT-OUT AT NEW BRAUNFELS!

JULY 19TH AT NOON AT THE HOWARD DIETZ RIFLE RANGE.

STEAKS AND LOBSTER TAILS WILL BE SERVED AROUND SIX!

BRING THE FAMILY! ENJOY A DAY OF SHOOTING AND FUN WITH LIKE MINDED PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER TEXAS!

We'll have more guns than any person can get around to shooting in one day, including some very unusual guns that you might not get a chance to shoot for the rest of your life!

We'll have both handguns and long guns and plenty of ammo for both!

There is no alcohol allowed until after the shoot, and we'll have a gun safety instructor there for a refresher in range safety.

THIS EVENT IS SPONSORED BY THE HOUSTON AREA TEXANS OF FREEREPUBLIC.
THE ONLY CHARGE FOR THOSE OUTSIDE OF HOUSTON IS THE RANGE FEES.

(Charlie, I'm working on that full auto permission!)

25 posted on 06/28/2003 5:10:47 PM PDT by TexasCowboy (COB1)
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To: Varmint Al
Here is another approach: Promote hunting/shooting sports to show how interesting and how much fun it can be...

That's the wisest approach, of course- 20 or 30 years from now I'll be gumming pablum in a home- we need to recruit new, young enthusiasts to the cause.

26 posted on 06/28/2003 5:11:14 PM PDT by backhoe
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To: backhoe; Joe Brower
backhoe, Thanks for the refresher course.

Joe, Thanks for the ping.
27 posted on 06/28/2003 5:17:06 PM PDT by Badray (Molon Labe!)
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To: Badray
Thanks for looking!
28 posted on 06/28/2003 5:20:49 PM PDT by backhoe (The 2nd protects the 1st...)
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To: backhoe
RKBA BTT.

One tip on letters to the editor - stay calm, even in the face of outrageous provocation. They do publish the over-the-top ones but it's only to make us all look like lunatics. Keep them short and deal only with one issue at a time - nobody is going to read a disquisition on the Constitution even if it's the best thing you ever wrote and you're proud of it. And remember most of all - an editor (even in this hyperliberal town) may actually not be against us, but if you don't write it they can't print it.

29 posted on 06/28/2003 5:21:42 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
Good advice, especially this:

if you don't write it they can't print it.

One minor trick that helped me was actually counting the words of published letters to several different papers I wrote to and averaging them- trying to fit mine in the middle of the count. It's harder to do than you'd think at first blush.

30 posted on 06/28/2003 5:27:33 PM PDT by backhoe (My Guns Protect Your Freedoms...)
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To: TexasCowboy
We'll have more guns than any person can get around to shooting in one day, including some very unusual guns that you might not get a chance to shoot for the rest of your life!

Like I could resist that.
I'm there.

31 posted on 06/28/2003 5:39:48 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: backhoe; Joe Brower

Most importantly, do not point a firearm at yourself.

32 posted on 06/28/2003 7:22:40 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: backhoe
Good points.

You may want to add:

Work to assist/develop a junior shooting program. Without the next generation of shooters and voters, the cause is lost.
33 posted on 06/28/2003 10:02:09 PM PDT by NY.SS-Bar9
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To: NY.SS-Bar9; PhilDragoo
Thanks for stopping by!
34 posted on 06/29/2003 3:04:42 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old Cold Warrior, draggin' his BAR into the sunset...)
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To: backhoe
Thanks backhoe
35 posted on 06/29/2003 7:30:13 AM PDT by reloader (Shooting- The only sport endorsed by the Founding Fathers.)
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To: reloader
Thanks for looking- just for the "H" of it, I reposted it on FD:

http://www.freedominion.ca/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=45
36 posted on 06/29/2003 8:12:24 AM PDT by backhoe (What part about "uninfringed" is so hard to understand? The 2nd guards the 1st...)
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Also, do not volunteer at the gun range in China.


37 posted on 06/30/2003 2:00:16 AM PDT by spectr17
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To: spectr17
Yikes! I don't think that's an NRA approved range practice.
38 posted on 06/30/2003 7:47:42 AM PDT by m1911
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To: backhoe
Backhoe... How about adding another paragraph? Something like:

BECOME A MEMBER OF THE MILITIA. Actively support the Second Amendment. Buy a gun and learn how to use it.

Good Hunting... from Varmint Al
39 posted on 07/04/2003 9:19:14 AM PDT by Varmint Al
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To: Varmint Al
Amen and thanks for the bump!
40 posted on 07/04/2003 2:30:02 PM PDT by backhoe (Recall Them All!!! Time to water the Tree of Liberty with symbolic blood...)
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To: All

This old post may also be useful:

The FIVE-MINUTE HANDBOOK (RKBA)
awbansunset.com ^ | 06-28-03 | JASPAR@aol.com
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/937190/posts


41 posted on 09/21/2006 3:40:49 PM PDT by backhoe (Just an Old Keyboard Cowboy, Ridin' the Trakball into the Dawn of Information)
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To: backhoe

*


42 posted on 09/21/2006 3:42:58 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Don't mix alcopops and ufo's)
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To: Sam Cree

Appreciate your stopping by- thanks!


43 posted on 09/21/2006 3:57:21 PM PDT by backhoe (Just an Old Keyboard Cowboy, Ridin' the Trakball into the Dawn of Information)
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To: backhoe

Rats! This is the link I meant to post:

http://www.gunfacts.info/


44 posted on 09/21/2006 3:58:36 PM PDT by backhoe (Just an Old Keyboard Cowboy, Ridin' the Trakball into the Dawn of Information)
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To: backhoe

Good advice.


45 posted on 09/21/2006 4:03:21 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: FreedomCalls

Thanks for looking- be assured the other side is tuning up for the next election. Eternal Vigilance, and all that stuff.


46 posted on 09/21/2006 4:07:33 PM PDT by backhoe (Just an Old Keyboard Cowboy, Ridin' the Trakball into the Dawn of Information)
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To: backhoe
"Appreciate your stopping by- thanks!"

Appreciate the post, thanks!

I'm not an expert gunner as many freepers are, but I do enjoy shooting and hunting. RKBA is one of my issues, been an NRA member many years.

47 posted on 09/21/2006 5:16:16 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Don't mix alcopops and ufo's)
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To: harpseal; TexasCowboy; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; Shooter 2.5; wku man; SLB; ...
Some truths are as perennial as the grass.

This "Five Minute RKBA Handbook" is replete with such truths.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

48 posted on 02/28/2007 6:31:43 AM PST by Joe Brower (Sheep have two speeds: "graze" and "stampede".)
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To: Joe Brower

I just checked my links and realized I've bookmarked this three times!

Thanks Joe.


49 posted on 02/28/2007 6:36:15 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: backhoe

Good rules. Well worth the time to read.


50 posted on 02/28/2007 7:01:57 AM PST by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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