By John Naese

If you’re a shooter or a gun owner, you should belong to several gun organizations. Why several?

Because each serves its own purpose, and you have a different role to play in each. You can gain different benefits from membership in each one of the following three.

First, if you are not a member of the National Rifle Association, you should be. NRA is easily the loudest (translation: most powerful) political voice we have. NRA also provides a host of benefits to the shooting community as a whole. That community includes you. NRA provides classes, instructor certification, club insurance, organized competitions, and political representation, both in Washington and in the state capitals.

People like to complain about the NRA. They don’t like this particular position or that particular tactic. They don’t like getting all those solicitations for donations in the mail. They say the NRA magazine does not cover X, Y, or Z enough. Yada, Yada, Yada. Get over it. If you don’t want to give more money, toss the solicitations in the garbage. If you want more information, see organization #3 below. Just like any large organization, you’re not going to agree with every single thing the organization does. But in the end, they’re on the same side as you, and you know it.

Second, you should also belong to your local club or range. Rights, like muscles, tend to waste away if not exercised. If you believe that you have the right to bear arms, then bear them! Get out to your range, regularly. Take your gun owner friends. Take your non-shooting friends out and show them basic gun safety and then introduce them to the excitement of shooting. Teach your kids and grandkids to shoot there. Even if you are one of the lucky few that has access to country property where it is safe to shoot, you should still go out to your local range. Why? You won’t meet new people and learn new skills, develop new ideas, or be able to share your expertise if you are off by yourself.

Third, you should join or maintain your membership in Guns Save Life. Our organization is unique because it offers opportunities to learn, to participate and to genuinely make a difference! Our monthly publication, GunNews Magazine , offers information you won’t find in the NRA national magazines or at your local club.

You can meet every month with scores of other gun owners and learn things from fellow shooting enthusiasts. There is probably at least a two or three thousand years’ of shooting experience and knowledge in a single room each month at those meetings. You can help build or maintain Burma-style signs along our highways to educate the public – and education is ultimately responsible for how attitudes are changing in this state. You can ride in a parade, or help build the float to spread our message to urban dependency folks and the faithful alike. You can help coach a junior rifle team. You can write and contribute to the GunNews, or help write new Burma slogans.

Knowledge is important. Shooting is important. But if you want to do more for the cause than just pull the trigger at the range, or read your monthly NRA magazine, GSL is the place to do it. We’re large enough to make a difference, and small enough that YOU can help shape the direction we take and how we get there.