The Durango Gun Club has seen better days. Since it opened its doors in 1963, there haven’t been many major improvements. The club just didn’t have the money. So this year, in an effort to become eligible for grants from the National Rifle Association to improve the club’s grounds, they adopted a requirement that all members must also be members of the NRA. The problem is that the club is located on public land and the decision wasn’t popular with the city council. They’ve chosen to evict the gun club unless they drop the requirement . . .
From the Durango Herald:
In late February, Joe Perino, secretary and treasurer of the club, said the decision to require members to belong to the NRA was financial, not political. Being a 100 percent NRA club makes the local club eligible for NRA grants, he said, allowing it to make much-needed improvements to its shooting ranges.
The club performs many community services, including allowing law enforcement to train there and providing instruction to students.
In the city’s eviction letter, which was addressed to Malarsie, city attorney David Smith wrote that if the club’s NRA “policy is, in fact, in place, it is an objectionable use of public land and must be discontinued. If the Board of Directors of the club choose not to discontinue this policy, this letter constitutes notice to vacate the premises within the next 30 days.”
“As I am sure you are aware, the NRA has changed rather significantly over the years and has now become, through the choice of the organization, a symbolic agency for relatively extreme political conservatism. There certainly is nothing inherently wrong with this,” Smith wrote.
“The problem arises when the leadership of the Durango Gun Club, operating on public property, determines that membership within this conservative political organization should be a condition of membership in the Durango Gun Club or a condition of the right to use the leased facility located on City-owned land,” he wrote.
According to the city attorney, the NRA is now a radical conservative organization. And here I was, thinking that they were just the 2A version of the ACLU. I guess I missed the meeting where they voted to support bans on gay marriage and abortion.
With each passing day, the control advocates continue their campaign to paint the NRA as a radical out-of-the-mainstream organization on the fringe of the American political spectrum. It’s the only weapon left in their arsenal that’s at least somewhat effective. And in cases like Durango, their political prejudices will ensure the club is either run down or doesn’t exist at all.