A Sportsman’s Viewpoint: We Need a Moderate Alternative to the NRA
I used to live in the country and go to a gun club for the skeet and trap shooting. I went there on Sundays because that was the only day the club was open to nonmembers. Like many shooting clubs, this one would only grant membership if I also joined the National Rifle Association. That wasn’t going to happen. While I like some of the NRA’s youth gun-safety programs, I cannot support its policy aims.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 13.7 million people went hunting in the U.S. last year, a nearly 5% increase from 2001. By contrast, the NRA has 4 million members. There are likely plenty of reasons why two-thirds of hunters (as well as millions of gun owners) don’t belong to the group, apathy and financial hardship among them, but politics undoubtedly play a role. And reaching out to pro-hunting moderates is perhaps our best hope for ending the national stalemate over gun control.
“I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” West Virginia Senator Joe “Dead Aim” Manchin said on Morning Joe,one of several pro-gun politicians who have started to speak out in favor of sensible reforms after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “I don’t know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting.”
Neither do I. And I’m guessing the same is true for many other sportsmen.