“…or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” A conversation I was having with Sebastian reminded me of this quote from the esteemed Mr. Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
While ol’ Ben was more referring to the need for solidarity amongst the colonies in the face of the war with England; the sentiment behind his quote applies today, especially to gun owners.
There are two examples of this that I can think of off the top of my head, one positive and one negative. The positive example is actually that of Jim Zumbo, who you may remember said some bad things about black rifles. This caused him to be castigated by the community at large, even people like me who don’t own black rifles. Since that time, Zumbo has repented, recanted, and has generally been welcomed back into the fold by the community.
I see that as a positive example because the gun-owning community at large was able to move past the bad things he had said and onto the fact that Jim is still a valuable advocate for the right to keep and bear arms. So, bully for us.
On the flip side of that coin are people who only care for their “niche” in the shooting community. This would the black rifle aficionado who doesn’t care about the plinker, or the muzzleloader who doesn’t care about the handgunner, etc. At times, it seems as though we don’t care about some particularly onerous piece of legislation as long as it doesn’t interfere with our particular portion of the sport.
I don’t suppose I’d have to explain why that’s so dangerous; it’s even more dangerous when that same “turf-war” mentality manifests itself on an organization level. I like the NRA; I don’t always support their actions, and I wish they’d send me less mail, but they generally act in the best interests of law-abiding gun owners. Similarly, I like the GOA, I feel like it’s good to have a less moderate voice for gun owners for the times that the NRA drops the ball.
I do not like it when the GOA (or anyone else for that matter) goes after the NRA in an effort to prove who loves the 2nd Amendment more. Take for example this new bill before the House, HR 2640. The GOA has been lambasting the NRA for their support of this bill for a while, despite the fact that the relevant text just because available yesterday.
What frustrates me is that the other side has all their factions working together. The people that want to ban .50 BMG rifles play nice with the people who want to ban all guns who play nice with the people who just want to ban handguns, and so it goes.
The problem isn’t even individual gun owners; I think that most of us recognize that a loss for one of the niches of our hobby is a net loss for everyone. Sure, like I said above there are people that don’t care; but they’re relatively in the minority. If the other team is all playing together, it might behoove us to do the same.