twilight zone
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By Bob Kingsley

Imagine if you will, a small gun club in upstate New York, over 100 years old, that’s quick to cow to government decrees and comfortable censoring its own members and anyone else who disagrees.

Wait, an American gun club, super-submissive to questionable governmental edicts, embracing the muzzling of speech and censoring its members?  I thought the general position of the “gun culture” was anti-government, anti-edict, and general apprehension of authority?

The leadership at this Binghamton rifle club apparently needs a reminder from Thomas Jefferson who told us that, “Government is best which governs the least because its people discipline themselves.”

Apparently not so here. I am an eighteen-year member and I questioned the decision that closed the club to all activity due to the coronavirus outbreak. While I understood and supported suspending activities that congregated people in close groups, my point was that individuals could safely use the facility while practicing appropriate social distancing.

The club has 24/7 access and I posited that surely 3-5 members could occupy  a 12-lane shooting range in 3,000 square feet of space while keeping distancing protocols.  I reasoned that members could decide for themselves the risks, just as they do at the grocery store, pharmacy or hardware store. President Trump later reinforced this by specifically adding shooting ranges to the list of critical pandemic infrastructure that should remain open.

At first, I lobbied club leadership privately via email to re-open the club. When my concerns went unresolved, I reasoned that perhaps other club members felt as I did. To find out, I posted my correspondence with leadership on the club’s Facebook page in the effort to engage the 600 plus members and get their feedback. The club quickly took down my posts.

Flabbergasted, I posted a picture of the club with the words “Frozen by Fear” Photoshopped onto the building. The club took down the photo and blocked me from posting to my own club’s Facebook page. Then a friend of mine posted an inquiry asking what happened to my posts and he too was blocked.

Rod Serling, the creator of the popular 1960’s Twilight Zone TV series was born in Binghamton.  What a coincident that the story of our rifle club now feels like a twilight zone episode. Who would have thought that a 105 year-old rifle club could morph itself into a warped mentality that believes censorship and compliance with extra-Constitutional edicts is the right way to lead?

I wonderhow many other gun clubs and organizations traditionally thought of as “conservative” are likewise losing their way?  Might the Coronavirus epidemic be providing a beta testing laboratory [or just “an opportunity”] for those in positions of power to see just how far the American people can be pushed?

Conservative Americans, especially those of us focused on the Second Amendment, should maintain a healthy skepticism towards government. Voltaire made this point when he said, “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.

Hopefully, my gun club is not a canary in the coal mine for the trajectory of political philosophy in our nation. We must assert ourselves as citizens, not subjects, and heed Thomas Jefferson, who said “A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take all that you have.”


Bob Kingsley is a private investigator and writer from New York. He is a Life Member of the NRA, a certified handgun instructor and an educator for the program, “Refuse to be a Victim.” He blogs at

This article was originally published at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. Who considers all gun owners as “conservative”, “defenders of the Second Amendment”, activist People Of The Gun”, American patriots?

    We don’t know the actual name of the “club”, but if “Rifle” is a distinct element of the name, Fudds prevail. It should be no surprise at all that the “club” is pliant, compliant, complicit.

  2. Just checked on the club I belong to in PA. The range is open, they want people to practice social distancing. The clubhouse will not be open on Friday evenings and Monthly meetings are on hold.

    • Same here. No meetings, but the range is open.
      Which reminds me. Sun and a super light breeze equals dialing in my new rifle.
      Tally ho!

  3. Just goes to show Strych9 was right, POTG are not immune from going 0-to-Fascist in a femtosecond…

        • Nope, incredibly far away from Fascist. But then most people who play the “FASCIST!!!” card have no clue what it is.

        • “But then most people who play the “FASCIST!!!” card have no clue what it is.”

          Having come up with the flower children (emphasis on “children”), I can tell you exactly what/who is Fascist: any person, place or thing that tries to pull the reins in on me.

          “Fascist” is an all purpose, indiscriminate element of hate speech.

        • ““Fascist” is an all purpose, indiscriminate element of hate speech.”

          Just like “racist.”
          Will “fascist” become the conservative’s “racist?”

        • “Will “fascist” become the conservative’s “racist?” ”

          Don’t know. Being a “conservative”, the only time I have used the word “fascist” is pointing out how people who use the word rarely know what it means.

  4. I sometimes meet liberal gun owners who I tell that one of the planks of the Democrat platform is to end gun ownership by private citizens. I tell them that their guns will be taken away by the people they vote for.

    They say: “No it isn’t,” and “No they won’t.”

    I mean, after that, what can you really say?

    • Liberalism is a mental disorder. And liberal gun owners suffer from it.
      And they are afraid to be questioned about how strongly are in defending civil rights.

    • Gun control is not, at its core, a partisan issue. The anti-gun stance taken by the state of California started in earnest with the patron saint of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, when he was governor. The GOP makes great issue of its pro-gun stance but once their corporate masters in the 1% decide that the Second Amendment is no longer useful in getting GOP voters out to the polls (while they maintain their own armed security details for themselves), partisan support for gun rights will evaporate on the right even faster than it did on the left.

      If you want to convince a socialist or any other progressive voter of the need for support for Second Amendment rights, this is how you do it.

      • A socialist or a progressive is comfortable urinating and defecating in public. They are comfortable with the “free stuff” the government gives them. And they want more and more.

        Reagan is a dead president. And it’s the current white socialist and white progressives, who publicly endorsed and support the racist gun control he signed into law. The responsibility for repealing them now rests with those in power. white Liberals the Left, Socialists and Progressives. But Liberal gun owners are in denial. They are mentally incapable of facing the truth. It is Liberal gun owners in California who support racist gun control.

        What have Liberal gun owners done in their small part of the world to spread the word about Liberty??? Do Liberals who work in the the public schools teach the Second amendment to children???

        Did you know that you can teach the Second Amendment in English Literature Grammar, Math, the Sciences, History and Art classes??? An imaginative teacher would figure out a way to do so. They would fit it into their lesson plan. This is what a person with courage does.

        In two former slaves states Mississippi and Kentucky Constitutional carry is state law. When California and any other blue state do the same you let me know.

  5. While I understand your disgust at this situation. Such are the consequences of living in a state controlled by Liberal Democrats. When people are forced to live under the yoke of Tyranny. They have throughout history. Risen up to cast off the bounds of servitude. At the cost of much suffering and many lives. When people choose to live under the yoke of Tyranny. Because it is easier, secure or comfortable. They have made a pact with those who Rule them. Like Life. Freedom comes with choices and consequences. The choice is up to the individual. The consequences will be decided by history.
    “Even if You choose not to decide…You still have made a choice”. Rush 2112

    • A great Album. Historically very important for its music and lyrics. But it was attacked and still is by the people at Rolling Stone magazine. A progressive publication. They called Ayn Rand a fascist decades ago. She was not. But because the magazine attacks conservatives, the Libertarians look the other way.

      • One of the top 10 albums in my collection.
        One of the reasons I went to see them in concertyears ago. Great show.

    • I’m gonna be that guy…

      “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice” is from Freewill, on the album Permanent Waves, not 2112.

      Still, message taken re: the lyric itself and 2112 (one of my all-time favorites). And it’s great to see some Rush fans here. Discovering Rush back in the 80s changed my life and my taste in music.

  6. Sounds like a gun club in need of a house cleaning. The moto for some gun owning azzhats is, “If you can’t get it done with 10 rounds then you can’t get it done.”
    When it comes to standing for rights these politically correct gun owners are media darlings and not worth the time of day. They don’t realize the media has eyes on their “Huntin’ Rifle” because it is a “Sniper Rifle” and their “Shotgun” because it is a “Riot Gun.”

  7. My club in Ohio was open until two days ago–the letter they mailed said they had to close the gun range(and trap and skeet) due to our Governor’s most recent restrictions on activities. It’s only open for quail hunting now. Guess I’ll clean some guns.

  8. Say it ain’t so….No just kidding…Our Government Officials will inoculate us against the Coronavirus by means of Constitutional Infringements…! Imagine that, we have another new SJW buzzword to add to our Big Bro lexicon…”Social Distancing !” Who knew….

  9. If gun clubs are not fighting for their survival but only fighting to exist on paper. Then what is a gun club for? Is it something that only existed in the 19th century? And not capable of Performing its duties in the 21st century?

    A social club. Not a training and education facility.

  10. As wonderful as the upstate folks are, I think decades of constant exposure and control by liberal politicians has skewed their sense of right and wrong. Their views and actions that they consider conservative are considered liberal to some southern mountain dwellers who don’t do exactly what the authorities want. Where I live, we just continue to do what we do while upstate New Yorkers want to and feel the need to follow the rules.

  11. This is my rod
    This is my gun

    Honestly though, I’ve been feelin like I’m in the Twilight Zone ever since this Chinese virus left China.

  12. Remember, it was the gun clubs that led the charge for the National Firearms Act of 1934. Like the NRA, their philosophy was, “You can’t hunt ducks with a machine gun”. Of course, all they asked was for their grandfathers’ single shot shotgun and bolt action deer rifle to be exempt. These idiots must not have been paying attention. The gun grabbers know they can’t just outlaw all guns at once, but it’s definitely their goal. So they start with automatic weapons. Then they expand to handguns and semiautos, to prevent gun violence, you know. After that, they will come back and say something like, “People are still dying from gunshot wounds so we need to take ALL OF THEM.”

  13. Assume the government makes an edict against standing on the top of a mountain during a thunderstorm. Just because the government doesn’t have to power to restrict someone from going to the top of a private mountain, it doesn’t mean you should go up to the top of that mountain during a thunderstorm to spite them. The range I belong to has been closed 4 days over the past month and has limited hours the rest of the time, even though gun shops and ranges are not restricted in this state. If the owners or officers of a range don’t satisfy your needs or desires, find a different range or vote the officers out. There’s a range that’s closer to me, but I don’t like their pricing policies or hours, so I don’t patronize them. The company I work for is classified as critical industry, but management asked 90%+ of us are working from home (which normally isn’t allowed), even though government has approved us to all work on-site.

  14. While this happening in a gun club is especially bad under the circumstances, it is not unusual behavior in private organizations. The politics, egos, the bullying and childish behaviors ae all antics I’ve seen in private associations before. It can be a real disappointment, driving out members who just do not need the hassle.

    There’s likely a small cadre of old members who rule the governing body and just will not tolerate anyone upsetting their view of things.

  15. Just as I look at Liberal gun owners as worthless. I’m starting to see hunters in the same way. They have 5 or 6 gun safes and their grandpa’s shotgun. They talk about them. But they don’t talk about the time they spent at the county or city hall council meetings. The gun grabbers are correct. The OFWG’s are going to die off. And with them their gun clubs as well. That is the twilight zone.

    Because they don’t care about recruiting younger members to continue the legacy. They don’t care about introducing children into the joy and responsibility of firearms ownership.

    • They, They, they…

      I’ve seen some of these Gun Clubs teach hundreds of kids hunter safety, trap, skeet and safe gun handling. A lot even do adult cpl classes. Not every single hunter or Gun club is as worthless as you make them out to be.

  16. What does the author suggest as an alternative? That the club soak up thousands of dollars in fines from the NY PAUSE Act? That the officers of the club spend a year in prison? Is he going to defend the club officers from being arrested with his NYS-compliant rifle and get into a gun battle with the State Police?

    Cuomo has talked about using soldiers, NY National Guard members, to seize ventilators from Upstate NY hospitals and this guy is complaining about his range being closed.

  17. Lincoln, NE the Izaak Walton league range cancelled all competitions and meetings, new member orientation is done by appointment in small groups, but the range facilities are still open for use, and the benches are right about that 6 foot social distance.

  18. My club is open. Organized shoots and competitions have been cancelled as they are popular with many competitors attending.

  19. So the OP belongs to a gun club that not only is anti-2nd Amendment, they are also anti-1st Amendment.

    Sounds like time to throw the b*st*rds out, or find a new range.

    The private indoor range I shoot at is still open, and the private outdoor range is still running a competitive steel shoot weekly, we even got dedicated ROs back, so we don’t have to touch timers or scoring tablets. Strangely the county run outdoor range is closed until further notice. Amazing the difference between commercial and government.

  20. I belong to a private club in NY state. They canceled all scheduled events, but the range is still open to shoot at.

  21. “…and heed Thomas Jefferson, who said “A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take all that you have.”

    For what it’s worth, Thomas Jefferson never says that.


    “Neither this quotation nor any of its variant forms has been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Its first known appearance in print was in 1953, although it is most likely older. It appeared frequently in newspapers in the 1950s (usually unattributed), and was even used in political cartoons. It was copyrighted in 1957 by the General Features Corporation, as part of a syndicated newspaper feature called “Today’s Chuckle.”

  22. The “Personally Owned Firearms” range (16) on Fort Campbell, KT is “closed until further notice”.

    • “The “Personally Owned Firearms” range (16) on Fort Campbell, KT is “closed until further notice”.”

      Well….rats! No sense going to the PX and commissary there. The range was the only thing that made the trip economical.

      • Dafook are you guys talking about? Are there on-base ranges where a guy can go and shoot his own gun? Where would you find a list of those?

        • “Are there on-base ranges where a guy can go and shoot? Where would you find a list of those?”

          Interesting question. Never looked for a list, just grateful whenever stationed at a base that had provisions for use of private firearms on ranges. These were not ranges specifically for privately owned firearms, but times established when the cadre small arms rage was not in use for active duty personnel. And, some bases only permitted shotguns where the base had a skeet/trap setup for training military.

  23. Matches and training classes have been canceled or postponed but the ranges are open to club members although they ask that no guests be brought for the time being.

    Seems reasonable.

  24. I belong to two outdoor clubs in Colorado. One that I shoot League trap in is a total Fudd club, they closed as soon the Governor issued the shutdown order. The other, which I just joined a few months ago (and is run by actual enthusiasts) is business as usual. People staying away though, I went the other day and it was me and 1 other guy on a 5 acre shooting range.

  25. Big and expensive club in Michigan says:

    Due to the Governor’s Executive Order WWCCA will be closed thru April 13, 2020. All scheduled events are cancelled until April 19th. If the Executive Order is extended we will follow the extended Executive Order.

    • ” Big and expensive club in Michigan says:

      Due to the Governor’s Executive Order WWCCA will be closed thru April 13, 2020. All scheduled events are cancelled until April 19th. If the Executive Order is extended we will follow the extended Executive Order. ”

      We have to compromise in order to keep what remains of our rights.


  26. I hope Bob Kingsley remains a member of this Fudd club. Once this Chink Flu hysteria is over and the Fudd club timidly re-opens the range, Kingsley needs to do several things:
    *attend EVERY single meeting to make sure his voice is heard
    *when any of the Exec Committee assholes approach him to shake his hand, he should refuse and say “social distancing” with a big smile
    *visit the range often and get to know the rank & file members and ask for their vote at the Annual Meeting when new Committee Members are elected.
    *recruit other like-minded rank & file members to run for Committee too.

    This is how you change the course of a misguided organization from within.

  27. I think the people who said earlier that “Rod and Gun Club” equals FUDD had it right. It’s just a place where rich guys go to fondle their five-figure plus shotguns. Not that I have a problem with those guys in particular, just whenever they want to restrict the rights of us unwashed commoners to own MSR’s.

  28. The simple and correct answer is: Because New York!
    The bigger reason IS FEAR but not of WuFlu, it is the fear of reprisals from the State that could make it difficult to continue to operate for a host of unsubstantiated reasons the State won’t bother to debate. NY citizens surrendered their 2A backbone to the State long ago and grovels for the few crumbs of 2A permissions it receives and which can be removed.

  29. I worked at a Gun Range in Huntington LI back in 2004

    so I know what it is to be shut Down !
    I was a Fire Arms Instructor , and i still am.
    fortuneatley I live in TX

  30. There are “gun clubs” run by those who are deeply afraid of firearms, those in positions of authority, etc. Such clubs likely: (a) have thick rule books, which specify minutely what can and mostly can’t be done; (b) bar concealed carrying of firearms on club grounds; (c) bar practice at self-defense use of firearms (e.g., moving while shooting, shooting at multiple targets in succession, etc.).

    Such Club managers view shooting as akin to golf: the goal is to put the bullet in the round hole. The idea of needing to shoot to save one’s life strikes them as utterly bizarre.

    In some states, firearm-owners have been abused for so long, that they have lost the capacity to imagine not being abused.

    That’s why 80% of Jews enslaved in Egypt didn’t leave during the Exodus and why almost all men, who did leave, repeatedly rebuked Moses for having led them out of Egypt. Finally, the A-mighty decreed that rather than going straight to “the Promised Land”, the Jews would travel for 40 years, until all adult men died, who had griped about leaving Egypt.

    The message: sometimes bad ideas get an unbreakable grip. Nothing can fix what’s wrong in the heads of anti-gun folks, who run “gun clubs”. One simply has to leave.

  31. The gun club I belong to here in deep blue anti-gun MA is closed due to our wimp RINO governor refusing to follow federal guidelines and insisting gun stores and ranges remain closed.
    This particular small club, that’s been there since 1950, is located in what has become built up suburbia. We’ve been under constant attack by neighbors and other gun haters (remember we’re talking MA) for about the last 20 or so years. They’ve tried and still try everything they can to force us out of existence. We’re lucky that the police chief in our town is a good guy about our basic rights. We make every effort to stay off of any ones radar. Even closing the club down when one of the neighbors had a backyard wedding.
    New York is pretty similar regarding gun rights, so I can kind of see both sides. I have no doubt that after the first round was fired on our range (all outdoors) the authorities’ phones would be blowing up.
    I know the club leadership very well and they’re all good stand-up gun guys. I even sat on the BOD there for six years at one time. It’s easy to pontificate about basic rights and such from a pro-gun rights state.
    I’m not sure what the state could do to us, but I totally understand club management not wanting to make any waves.


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