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The NRA Isn't All There Is - Pro-Gun Alternatives Abound

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Advocating the Second Amendment

When it comes to the Second Amendment, the would-be gun-grabbers sure have it in for the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has had some issues of late, and that is costing them some support in the Second Amendment movement. The NRA has nevertheless won some significant victories lately, and they remain the 800-pound gorilla in the pro-Second Amendment community; you rarely hear an anti-gun politician mention any other Second Amendment group.

Full disclosure: My wife and I have been Life Members of the NRA since the mid-90s and remain so today. That does not preclude our involvement in other groups.

Let's take a look at some of the alternatives, beginning with the national groups. Check all of them out; provide what support you can if you care about the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment Foundation

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is a registered Washington state non-profit founded in 1974. The SAF, in addition to providing resources for pro-gun advocates, has been involved in some significant legal cases, including D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. They are involved in several ongoing cases today; you can see a list here.

Gun Owners of America

Founded in 1975, Gun Owners of America (GOA) is generally regarded as the "no-compromise" alternative to the NRA, and their history bears that assessment out. The GOA does not play defense; among other things, they have championed first liberalized concealed-carry, then constitutional-carry legislation in several states. In their 2022 "accomplishments" page, they specifically describe their involvement in these and other pro-gun legislative efforts.

National Association for Gun Rights

Like the GOA, the National Association for Gun Rights bills itself as a "no-compromise" alternative, and they name specific instances in which the NRA has compromised in past legislation. One good resource on their web page is the Bill Watch, where you can check the current status of Second Amendment-related legislation currently being debated in Congress. Interesting note: The Association's President, Dudley Brown, also founded the state-level Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, of which I was a member when we still lived in Colorado. I know Dudley as a dedicated, organized, and unflinching advocate for the Second Amendment.

Constitutional Rights PAC

Unlike the other groups mentioned, the Constitutional Rights Political Action Committee (PAC) focuses its attention not only on the Second Amendment but on all of our rights as defined in the Constitution. Organized in Virginia, the CRPAC boasts among its leadership libertarian icon Ron Paul and veteran political marketing expert Carter Clews.

Safari Club International

A significant part of the pro-gun community's members are hunters (including me), and Safari Club International focuses primarily on protecting the right to hunt, as well as being focused on habitat preservation and access to hunting lands. They maintain over a hundred branch and affiliate chapters around the world, making them a powerful voice where hunting and the outdoors are concerned. They are not a Second Amendment advocacy group per se, but there is a great deal of overlap between the Second Amendment community and the hunting community.

Special Interests:

There are also some, one might say, niche groups, but if you're a Jew, or gay, or a woman, or African-American, one of these three may be worth supporting.

Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

Founded in 1989, the Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JFPFO) describes themselves as "fierce defenders of American liberty," and given the arc of current events, one would presume they are seeing an uptick in membership. The JFPFP is devoted to "educating the Jewish community about the historical evils that Jews have suffered when they have been disarmed," and given global events today, that's a powerful message. Their site includes many resources, including the Genocide Chart and the film Innocents Betrayed.

The Pink Pistols

The Pink Pistols was founded in reply to instances of "gay-bashing," stating in their FAQ that they "...teach queers to shoot. Then we teach others that we have done so. Armed queers don’t get bashed." Like any minority community, gay people are sometimes subject to unwelcome attention, and like any U.S. citizen, they have the Second Amendment right to protect themselves. The Pink Pistols teach the LGBTQ community to do so safely, legally, and effectively.

The Well-Armed Woman

A gun is a great equalizer, enabling a 120-pound woman to effectively defend herself against a 200-pound male attacker. That is the basis of the Well-Armed Woman's activism. Rather than being a political activist group, The Well-Armed Woman focuses their attention on helping women new to shooting sports and armed self-defense how to obtain a concealed-carry permit where required, how to choose a firearm, how to maintain it, where to learn to use it, and what tack (holsters, etc.) are best suited to the unique needs of a woman. My wife has used them as a resource for finding CCW holsters and so forth to fit her very feminine, 4'11" frame, and she is an enthusiastic proponent of the group.

National African-American Gun Association

The National African-American Gun Association (NAAGA) was founded in 2015 by Philip Smith, a graduate of the University of California at Davis, who intended the organization to teach safe, responsible, and legal gun ownership to the African-American community. Their emphasis is on legal self-protection, and given the number of African-Americans who live in crime-ridden major cities, any aid to legal, armed protection among the law-abiding citizens of those areas. The NAAGA is well-suited to provide that aid as part of their primary mission.

Also:

Look into your local state and regional organizations; there are many, and they can provide lots of resources in fighting city and state-level laws and legal cases. For example, here we have the group Alaska Gun Rights, which aided in, among other things, the passage of Constitutional-carry legislation in the Great Land. Your state doubtless has a similar, state-level group; look into it, because grass-roots groups like there are where it's at in political heavy lifting.

The fight for the Second Amendment is never going to end with some great victory for either side. But the pro-Second Amendment side has won some significant victories of late, and if the community bands together — which is what these great organizations represent — we'll continue to win more. Our unity is the key. After all, as someone once said, we can hang together, or we shall assuredly hang separately.

If you are aware of any organization that I've missed and that is deserving of support, the comments are all yours!

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