My Web editor just sent me a link to an article published the other day by The New York Times, written by an Oregon woman who is a self-labeled hunter but self-admitting opponent of the NRA. You can read it here, and I encourage you to do so, but the general purpose of the ink is a “separation of church and state” approach to the NRA and hunting.
For most consumers—myself included—the article carries immediate weight simply because of its landing in a powerhouse publication such as The New York Times, but it’s also equally laced with dramatic prose and legitimate statistics, making the author’s points quite compelling. So much so that, in a moment of weakness, a shotgun-owning, upland-hunting NRA member might look in the mirror and ask, “Does the NRA really represent me?”
So, here’s my question to you: WTF?
Let me back into this one and then come full-circle, attempting to put the subject in context by example. In 2006, St. Paul, Minnesota, outlawed the smoking of cigarettes behind the doors of public places … including bars. The rest of the state soon followed. Now, outside of enjoying a ciggy or two in hunting camp with the boys, I’ve never taken interest in smoking. Don’t like the aftertaste, and I certainly don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke in my clothes and hair after a night of raising hell on the town. But there’s something that bothers me much more than stinky clothes—and that’s when people (the government, in this case) telling other people what they can and can’t do. It angers me to no end.
Is it nice to go into any bar or restaurant and not smell of smoke when I roll out the doors? It sure is. But in those days when folks could smoke inside public establishments and I smelled like the smoke of burning cigarettes because of it, it was as much my choice to stay as it was theirs to smoke. And now that the smoke is gone, it scares me to pieces wondering what’s next. Society calls this the Snowball Effect.
And so it goes with the NRA. They took a stance to oppose all legislative advances toward any gun restrictions, and have been unwavering since. If you don’t care about heavy restrictions on “assault weapons” because it doesn’t affect the ownership of your shotgun and your ability to shoot pheasants—you should. It’s the Snowball Effect. Do a bit of research and you’ll discover that attempts to ban all semi-automatic guns, including your pheasant thumper, have already been tried by our government and defeated by NRA-backed efforts. Better still, do a bit of research on exactly which “assault weapons” have been under fire and you’ll be quick to learn that those guns and your semi-auto shotgun have quite a bit in common.
Am I paranoid that “they” are going to come to my door and take away all my guns? Nope. But I know what’s important to me and I’m not willing to budge an inch when making my stand.
Understand that, as a hunter, distancing yourself from the NRA is like boycotting spoons and then whining because you have no way to eat your soup.
Keep your nose to the wind.