Join The Club

(Manassas, VA, May 30, 2007)  Sick and tired of paranoid and elitist politicians restricting guns for the law-abiding in hopes of curtailing criminals and currying votes? 

Join the club.

Bothered to see shooting ranges being shut down and chased farther out of town by McMansions and town house communities? 

Join the club.

Sometimes feel like you’re the only person around who understands the importance of the Second Amendment and the responsibility of gun ownership? 

Join the club.


You are not alone.  There are between 60 and 80 million gun owners in the United States and most of them are not members of a gun club.  And a good percentage of gun club members don’t actively participate in club meetings and programs.  Many only use the club facilities once or twice a year for sighting-in or trying out a new gun.  They don’t know their fellow club members.  They don’t participate in the membership drives, the formal and informal competitions, the “First Shots” programs… And then they wonder why dues go up or the club is forced to move.

Shooting clubs tend to be strongest in places where guns and space are most limited.  In the wide-open West, it’s easy to simply wander out into the boondocks and blast away; that’s becoming harder and harder in the urbanized East.  No matter where you live, when you need to really dial a rifle in or challenge your skills with a competitive course of fire, there’s nothing like a formal range and the camaraderie of fellow shooters to bring out your best and make shooting even more enjoyable. 

Active participation in a club affords you the opportunity to try new games, fire others’ guns, keep up to date on legal and technical matters, and build life-long friendships.  Shooting can be a rewarding, introverted pursuit, but it can also be a source of kinship and fraternity.  Shooting clubs can also be an important source of political power.  One shooter has little political clout.  A couple of hundred shooters bound together by a shooting club can have a real impact on local politics and, working in concert with other shooting clubs around their state and the nation, can become a serious political force.

The media, with NRA’s blessing and concurrence, paints NRA as “the gun lobby”, the truth is, the NRA is a very important part, but only a part, of the gun lobby.  The real gun lobby is each and every one of those 60 to 80 million gun owners along with the countless non-gun owners who still support individual liberty and responsibility.  At any given time NRA officially represents about 4 million members of that group.  If you’re not one of the 4 million, you need to rectify that.  NRA might not always be right and they might sometimes stray from the straight and narrow, but they are still the loudest voice in the fight and the more members they have to make their voice even louder and to help kick them back in line now and then, the more effective they can be.

Besides the NRA though, active membership in a local shooting club is critically important.  Making sure the club you join is politically active is the next concern.  Many clubs worry that any political activity might jeopardize their legal status.  While there are some restrictions on some types of political activity for some types of organizations, every organization can, and should, engage in a certain amount of political activity.  Good communications and cooperation with other clubs in the state and support and affiliation with a statewide grassroots organization give a club an important local voice.

When a club lends its numbers to a national organization like The Firearms Coalition, one gun-voter gives power to the gun lobby.

Shooters and gun owners can be some of the most strong willed, independent minded, and opinionated curmudgeons on the planet.  As such, they can be difficult to organize into cooperative efforts.  The first and most important step in organizing shooters into the political powerhouse they should be is for each individual shooter to recognize that their part in the revolution begins with a commitment to join with and work cooperatively with others.

Joining and participating in a shooting club is an easy and enjoyable way to begin that process.

Two hundred and thirty one years ago our forefathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause of liberty.  The dues asked of us in the name of liberty are much easier to pay and much more enjoyable.

If you are not currently a member of a shooting club, join one.  If you are a member of a club, but are not very active, make a commitment to get more involved.  If you’re an active member of a club, be sure that your club is welcoming to new members and that the club is active in defense of liberty.

These simple steps can build the foundation to ensure that our nation is free for another 231 years.