Friday, March 25, 2016

Firearms Friday: Membership Considerations

Anyone in the firearms community is familiar with the breadth of options when it comes to various firearms and second amendment groups and associations. For many of us, we hold multiple memberships in various groups at any given time and we receive regular correspondences from the others asking for donations and dues. This is one area where we have to be mindful of the total costs of these memberships and we must weigh the options both of becoming members and what kind of membership do we want to have in these various groups.

The first group with which everyone is familiar is the National Rifle Association (NRA). This is essentially your foundation on which I believe all your other memberships and donations should be structured around. The dues that we pay go toward supporting the rights that we all enjoy and the financial commitment, regardless of level, should be considered a necessary expense. However, from the basic annual membership there are other levels including life, endowment, benefactor, patron, golden eagles, etc. This determination is something that each member has to figure out for their self but, for me, I have found that becoming an endowment member has allowed me to focus on some of the other organizations while not having to worry about the annual commitment.

Once the foundation is in place other organizations can be explored such as Gun Owners of America (GOA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Citizens Committee for the Right To Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JFPO), and many other national and local organizations. Keep in mind that many of these and other groups are far more aggressive than the NRA and you should take a look at each before determining whether or not you wish to support them and their message. And, once again, when you have made your decision you must also determine what level of support to which you wish to commit.

My level of support varies from organization to organization depending on both the messaging and the financial commitment that each requires for membership. In some instances, I have chosen life memberships over the annual option as it made financial sense. In other cases, there were some overly aggressive messages that I couldn’t fully back with the extra finances so I either kept my membership at the lowest level or ceased supporting them altogether. In the end, it is a balance that is up to the individual but definitely a process that needs to be considered by every supporter of the second amendment. After all, without the work being done to protect the second amendment, your rights will slowly become nothing more than a memory.