Let me get right to the point. I never thought this day would come, but last month I joined the NRA. It’s something I’ve proudly refused to do for years, so my reversal deserves an explanation. Let’s take a deep breath together, this is hard for me too.
You see, opposing the NRA has been my most effective tool in a over decade of pro-2nd Amendment activism, from publishing my old ‘zine American Gun Culture Report, to conducting firearm training among communities not comfortable with mainstream US gun politics. I remember one incident in particular, while tabling for AGCR at an anti-war rally. A middle-aged woman approached, and after scanning my materials, scowled, asking:
“Is this something to do with the NRA?”
I replied: “Absolutely not!”
At this, the woman grinned and proved very receptive, engaging in friendly conversation, despite our differences.
I can’t even count the number of times disowning association with the NRA created an immediate icebreaker, paving ways for calm discussion among groups traditionally considered hostile to pro-gun politics. Why would I want to join a group that, by it’s association with regressive right-wing politics, has sorely tainted the basic human right of self defense?
It really wasn’t their free duffle bag with membership.
The thing is, I’d like to provide a more comprehensive critique of the NRA, especially as dialogue over American gun politics heats up during this election cycle. It’s a lot easier to do if they’re sending a regular magazine to my house. However, I wanted to make sure the NRA understood I wasn’t a typical subscriber, so I wrote OBAMA VOTER on my check in block letters.
If it makes anyone feel better, the same day I renewed both my ACLU and Amnesty International memberships, besides signing up for e-mail updates from the Violence Policy Center and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. As things get interesting, I want to have all perspectives available.