Improving the NRA

In light of the recent shenanigans from the JPFO and Kim; Sebastian would like to know what you (us) would do to improve the NRA, instead of just bitching about it.  Here are my ideas.

Personally, I’d like to see the NRA spend some more money educating and teaching, not just lobbying.  While I enjoy our political power in DC, I honestly feel that education programs that reach out to Suzy Soccermom and teach the literal truth about guns would be tremendously useful.

My biggest pet peeve about the NRA is the face that they show to the public.  It’s not that the face is bad, but the face is old.  Honestly, I don’t feel like the NRA does a great job of representing my demographic of people in their mid to late 20’s.

The real “improvement” I’d like to see would be for the NRA to plant “shooting education centers” in major cities around the country.  It would be one part classroom, one part range; and could offer shooter education classes, new shooter orientation, etc.  I would really like to see a concerted effort made by the NRA to educate people that aren’t on our side – that would be the biggest change of all.

Figure out a way to reach Suzy Soccermom in her Lexus SUV.


  1. Good start. But it’s not just new shooter introduction; that’s the *easy* part.
    It’s shooter retention… having them want to return to it over and over.
    Women are very social and would be more apt to do something with a friend or group of friends than alone. Even if they find it enjoyable. The NRA needs to speak to that pack mentality. Any ideas about that?

  2. This is the same as what I put over on my site:

    The problem with this is, it would be phenomenally expensive to run these operations. I think the NRA does a lot for education already, as they should. I will agree that more would be good, if it is affordable. Personally, I think everyone being familiar with how to operate a firearm safely and with reasonable effect is such a public good, the government really ought to be doing that. The militia has fallen into disrepair, and it’s high time we fixed that.

  3. I tend to lurk between here and Ambulance Driver’s place and a bunch of others (Kim’s included). I have to agree on the education thing. Realizing that I live in moderately rural NE (slight side trip to Australia, but anyway) and that everyone is expected to learn guns at home, it was never anything my dad was interested in teaching my sister and I. Finding places that teach classes on a reasonable schedule was more difficult than I had anticipated.

    And I do think that a volunteer militia (or reorganization of the groups that are already there) where training re defense, emergencies and supplement to first responders etc. would be extremely beneficial, especially as the Reserve units are feeling strain. And to be honest, it is the community’s job to take care of itself. I think there are people who would pitch in to help but aren’t sure how.

    My $.02

  4. You made some very good points Ahab and it is things I would like to see as well. They more education programs with groups like the Boy and Girl Scouts, schools (both public and private) and church entities. I would also like to see the more local advocacy from the NRA. Like what they did in New Orleans and San Francisco, but on smaller issues. Your other point about reaching the younger generation is also true, as well as women gun owners. Perhaps a campaign to refresh the image of the NRA is needed.

  5. Actually, the cost did cross my mind while I was writing that; and I do agree that it would be tremendously expensive. However, it could also be used as a revenue generator to partially offset the cost. While I don’t think it’s a likely change that we’ll see to the NRA, it would certainly improve both the NRA’s ability to “spread the word”, as well as improve the public (non-member) perception of the NRA.

    Of course, you guys all know that education and outreach are my two favorite drums to beat, so it only makes sense that I would want the NRA to focus more on those.

  6. In the spirit of doing what I can in my own corner of the globe, I called the NRA instructor who taught me. He’s going to work with the gun store/local range to establish a “ladies day” type of shoot (maybe as early as October and tie it in with “breast cancer awareness month”). The range has a few “loaner” guns, but I’m also lending all mine for the day and he has several of his own that he’ll lend too. Nothing in the world like finding that one sweet shooter that gives you happy tummy butterflies when you shoot it! Add to that the possibility of maybe opening a few closed minds and wowzers, that’s a plan!

  7. Thanks!
    When it goes down, I’ll post about it and put up some pictures on my blog.
    I hope I can generate some interest before then. I might have to promise chocolate! 🙂

  8. I left a comment over at Cam Edward’s site to come visit “Snowflakes in Hell” and see what the membership thought of the NRA. He didn’t see fit to post my comment.

  9. Ahab:

    The single biggest obstacle to gaining a new generation of shooters is a complete lack of places in which to shoot…at least, here in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

    There is not a SINGLE place to shoot (for non-LEO’s) within the Twin Cities major metropolitan area. I live within Mpls itself, and the nearest places to shoot are third-tier suburbs. The closest one of those is in Robbinsdale, and the last time I went there will BE the last time because of the unsafe (and un-corrected) handling of loaded firearms by the local gang members.

    The next closest is a 15-mile drive, in horrific rush-hour traffic, to an indoor range with great facilities (in Burnsville…thanks, Roger). Still a pain to get to, but they just recently added a 50-yard centerfire rifle bay to help with sighting-in. On weekends it’s so jam-packed that there’s usually a line of people waiting to get into the shooting bay.

    My wife currently volunteers teaching firearms safety at another outlying-area gun range…we’d join, but they’ve got a waiting list more than two years long. We currently belong to a gun club which is more than an hour-and-a-half drive away. That’s sometimes just too far to go, if all we want to do is spend a couple of hours shooting.

    I’d LOVE to see the NRA coughing up some dough from my membership fees to plant good inner-city 25-yard pistol ranges in every major blue-city across the country. They could institute gun-safety and handling courses, as well as allowing concealed-carry instructors a safe, convenient place in which to teach their clientele.

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