I spend a lot of time thinking about how the gun-sense gang can build a grass-roots movement to equal the strength and tenacity of the NRA and I always come up short. After all, the NRA’s been in business for nearly 150 years, they publish two great magazines which you receive as part of your membership, they have local chapters which run monthly social events and, of course, they get media attention at the drop of a hat. Not that I want to put the NRA out of business; I’d just like to see a level playing field because if there was a group out there whose members numbered the same 4 million that the NRA claims its total membership to be, maybe the NRA would be less inclined to promote some of the totally-false ideas (‘good guys with guns protect us from bad guys with guns’) that are used to make us believe that guns don’t need to be regulated at all.
But maybe I just found the answer in a little-known organization, The Liberal Gun Club, which I have joined by paying the annual dues of 25 bucks. Actually, I could have joined by paying 10 bucks, but I opted for the high-falootin’ premium membership, which probably gets me nothing at all. Except, of course, I can go into the club’s forum, read what all the other gun-owning liberals have to say and, because I’m Mike the Gun Guy, shoot my mouth off until they tell me to shut up.
But I’m not sure they’re going to shut me up because their mission states that they “provide a voice for gun-owning liberals and moderates in the national conversation on gun rights, gun legislation, firearms safety, and shooting sports.” And if you take a look at some of the comments on their blog, you’ll find that they do tend to depart from the usual NRA cant, even though when it comes to the ownership of guns, they sound a little bit more like the NRA than the ADA. And the reason I say this is because even though they appear to be concerned about the issues which form the liberal play book – racism, poverty, inequality – they’d rather try to solve these big problems than worry about little things like guns.
It turns out that the Liberal Gun Club has something else in common with the NRA, namely, their intention to hold an annual meeting in October, complete with shooting range visits, a welcoming reception, a headquarters hotel and a few other activities here and there. They’ve taken a block of rooms at the Aliante Hotel/Casino which is a very nice joint. I can attest to that because American Airlines once comped a room for me there when they cancelled my flight back from the SHOT show and I had a great time. But since when do you not have a great time in Vegas, particularly when it’s on the arm?
Even though I’ve been a member of the Liberal Gun Club for less than two hours, I already have an idea that could get the organization from front-page news. It occurs to me that Democratic Presidential candidates routinely show up at meetings of the NAACP, the United Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO. But what if Bernie and Hillary were invited to appear before a group of gun owners? I’ll bet you that just sending them the invitation would make news. Remember when Joe Biden said that his wife kept a shotgun in her house for self-defense? The Republican noise machine stupidly criticized him for this remark, even though for the first time a national Democrat had endorsed the use of a gun for self-defense.
For all their talk about protecting everyone’s rights, the NRA doesn’t want to share the issue of guns with folks from both sides of the political divide. Monopolizing guns as a conservative talking-point increases the leverage of the NRA, particularly when Republican Presidential hopefuls dutifully line up at the annual NRA show. The Liberal Gun Club might consider offering Democratic candidates their own home in which to roost.