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ABC News recently published an article that wasn’t inherently hostile to the Second Amendment, and most amazingly, to gun owners. And yes, that’s news. What’s the catch, you ask? The topic was liberal gun owners, and ABC took pains to point out that they are not members of the NRA. “Gun owner and Second Amendment advocate Marlene Hoeber isn’t your typical member of the National Rifle Association. In fact, she isn’t a member of the NRA at all.” . . .

The Oakland, Calif., laboratory equipment mechanic regularly visits firing ranges, where, along with other members of her gun club, she shoots a variety of weapons. ‘Guns are fun to play with,’ she says. She even makes her own ammunition.

She has no use, however, for the NRA’s conservative political agenda. By her own description, Hoeber is a feisty, liberal, transgender, tattooed, queer, activist feminist.

She belongs instead to another gun advocacy group entirely–The Liberal Gun Club–whose membership ranges, she says, ‘from socialists, to anarchists who can quote Marx, to Reagan Democrats.’

Its mission, she says, is to provide ‘a place for gun owners to talk to other owners about neat gun stuff, without having to hear how the president is a Muslim-usurper-socialist running a false-flag operation.

In truth, the NRA focuses entirely on Second Amendment-related issues. It supports politicians of both parties — and independents, too — who are faithful to the Second Amendment, regardless of their political positions on other issues. Got that, Marlene? The NRA does not take political positions on other issues. It never has. ABC News knows this, but continues to mislead:

Whereas the NRA has some 3 million members, according to Guidestar, and a budget of some $250 million, The Liberal Gun Club has 1,200 members nationally and a budget of $10,000, according to its head, Ed Gardner.

Although liberal gun owners are presumed not to exist, Gardner says they most certainly do.

By the most recent estimates, he says, about 40 percent of registered Democrats are gun owners (versus 60 percent of Republicans). He thinks 40 percent grossly understates the number of liberal owners. Reason: when some strange pollster calls an owner and asks, ‘Do you own a gun?’ many say no to protect their privacy, according to Gardner.

Where to begin? The NRA’s membership is now closer to 5 million and increasing daily. It has added more than a million members since President Obama was elected in 2008.

Who, precisely, presumes that liberal gun owners don’t exist? Certainly not the NRA and not most gun owners. In fact, conservatives — gun owners or not — often point to the hypocrisy of liberal/progressive politicians and others who labor ceaselessly to disarm the law-abiding while they are themselves surrounded by armed security or in possession of nearly impossible-to-get concealed carry licenses in places like New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles.

It’s also well known and well reported that gun owners — the majority of whom lean conservative/Republican — tend not to reveal their gun ownership to pollsters. Liberals might reasonably have an additional reason not to self-identify as gun owners: fellow liberals might disapprove.

Other gun owners, particularly conservatives, find gun ownership almost entirely reasonable and unremarkable, but ABC tries to suggest otherwise:

The Liberal Gun Club is not alone in catering to left-leaning gun advocates. Kindred institutions include the Blue Steel Democrat, Gun Loving Liberal, Pink Pistols and the online publication American Gun Culture Report.

On its website, Pink Pistols (slogan: ‘Pick On Someone Your Own Caliber’) urges ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or polyamorous persons’ to take up arms legally.

‘We teach queers to shoot,’ says the site. ‘Then we teach others that we have done so. Armed queers don’t get bashed. We change the public perception of the sexual minorities, such that those who have in the past perceived them as safe targets for violence and hateful acts will realize that now [they are] armed and effective with those arms.

To this, the overwhelming majority of gun owners would likely say, “Uh, OK.” ABC’s representation of these particular gun owners seems to suggest that they believe that everyone else must fully accept all of their political/sexual leanings. If so, this is inherently irrational. No one likes everybody. No one has to like everybody or fully accept everything they do or believe. People often choose to associate based on common interests — such as gun ownership — but may never invite many of the people who share those interests to their homes. This too is entirely reasonable and unremarkable, though ABC labors to portray it otherwise.

The article lists a variety of apparently leftist gun-favoring groups, including anarchists(?), and asks:

“To what extent does the gun industry support any of these groups?

Hoeber of The Liberal Gun Club tells ABC News, ‘We haven’t heard a peep. We’d certainly be interested in support from the industry, if the industry was interested in being seen as supporting us. Whether we would take their money would be up to the membership. We’re not likely to turn anybody away.”

Says Ed Gardner about the gun industry, “It would be great to be recognized by them. We’re not your typical gun owners.” But, he says, apart from some outreach from makers of gun accessories, the industry hasn’t offered any support.

Again, most gun owners and organizations would reply, “Uh, OK.”  The gun industry doesn’t “support” individual gun owners or groups, generally not in print, and certainly not financially.  Manufacturers and trade groups focus their attention on legislation and legislators, understanding that in so doing, they are supporting the free market and the Second Amendment for everyone regardless of political leaning or sexual orientation.

“Hoeber says her own romance with guns began in childhood.

Growing up in Philadelphia, she says, she was 6 in 1976, during the Bicentennial. ‘The whole city was crawling with geeks in tri-corner hats and short pants explaining to small children how a flintlock worked. I was hooked.’

Living in San Francisco in her early 20s, she walked into a S.F. gun store and saw a reproduction of an old, black powder rifle. ‘I could buy that and take that home,’ she says she said to herself—and she did. ‘I’m a technical and mechanical person. Tinkering is a major element in my personal involvement with firearms.”

Again, so-called “conservative” gun owners would almost certainly reply, “good for her,” and would see her thinking as similar to their own.

“We asked if there is any distinction to be made between the kinds of guns a liberal likes and the kinds a far-right conservative might prefer.

Within the gun community, she says, conservatives have a stereotype about the kind of guns liberals like. ‘Conservatives assume, when they hear of our existence, that we’re all into fancy double-barreled shotguns and rifles with wooden stocks.’ That’s not the case, she says. ‘Our position is that scary black guns are very much okay. We do have members who think a limit on magazine capacity might be worthwhile. I personally don’t believe that that kind of restriction makes the world a safer place.”

I suspect Hoeber, if ABC is quoting her accurately, is reflecting what some conservatives might think about limousine liberals, the idle rich who wish to enjoy what they would deny to others. Most gun owners, however, probably have no real preconceptions about such thing — if they think about them at all. ABC is apparently hoping to get Hoeber to reflect their prejudices. Another example:

“Positions advocated by the Northern California Chapter of The Liberal Gun Club include:

‘Additional regulations on lawful gun owners are over-prescribed political placebos that fail to cure the underlying systemic societal problems that are the root causes of violence. Instead of window-dressing ‘solutions’ like so-called ‘assault weapons’ bans and magazine capacity restrictions, we support root cause mitigation for violence prevention: stronger mental health care, addressing poverty, homelessness and unemployment.”

Conservative gun owners can easily support most of this, however some would surely take exception to the idea that poverty, homelessness and unemployment cause violence. This would not, however, keep them from embracing fellow gun owners, or their support of the Second Amendment.

ABC’s piece appears to be another attempt, though maybe not as egregious as most, by the legacy media to turn supporters of the Second Amendment against each other. Gun owners aren’t a monolithic block of people who think, act and vote in lockstep. On the range, people care about safety first and foremost, then having fun. The number of tattoos, piercings,  Obama-Biden and Sierra Club bumper stickers people sport mean little.

I would hope that progressive gun owners would come to understand that the Second Amendment is the guarantor of all other liberties. As I would hope they recognize those who want to destroy the Second Amendment and what that would inevitably mean for the rights not only of various minorities, but for every American. If and when they do, they might find it harder to reconcile support for their Second Amendment with support for lefty politicians.

However, no doubt to the chagrin of ABC and the rest of the legacy media, conservative gun folk tend to be far more accepting and tolerant of firearms fans of all stripes than the media are willing to publicize. It’s their own stereotypes and preconceived notions that keep them from recognizing it.

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388 COMMENTS

  1. The only support I get from the “industry” as a (semi-)plain old gunowner is assistance in emptying my wallet in their pockets. Nothing you’d not expect from any company.

    • While you did not say it, pardon me for believing you meant to say, “and I have no objection to that!”

    • Gun makers do buy advertising in the NRA’s rags and as such do provide some financial support. I have no doubt that if these Lib gun owners published some sort of magazine, the gun makers would also buy ad space if they thought it would move some guns. The gun makers are essentially mercenary and self-interested – which is what a for-profit corporation should be. They have their own lobbying group, the NSSF to serve and promote their interests. Gun owners have the NRA, GOA, SAF and others – while the NRA’s promotion of the shooting sports and 2A defense work does result in benefits to the gun makers, that’s like claiming that Michelle Obama’s health-promotion initiatives mean she is beholden to Big Vegitable.

      • “Gun makers do buy advertising in the NRA’s rags and as such do provide some financial support. ”

        What they get is an exchange of services. A transaction. That is not financial support anymore than you buying a loaf of bread at your store is financial support.

        There have been some small number of campaigns where gun makers have underwritten initial NRA membership to purchases of their firearms. But that isn’t a donation either since the buyer of the gun is getting a benefit of NRA membership.

        Overall looking at the top 100 membership based advocacy and civil rights groups in the US, what is astoundingly clear is NRA is by far the largest, most organic and most legitimately grass roots of any of them. It clearly has the highest ratio of funding from member dues of any such membership group, and by far. Greenpeace seems to get over 90% of their funding from corporate and institutional donations from companies that benefit, ACLU funding is mostly criminal trial lawyers industry. Even the NEA shows a minority of funding from member dues.

        As far as the guidestar of “three million,” that refers to mailings of rifleman. When you see the people quoiting it they are looking at the free version of guidestar, and extrapolating from only third class physical mailings of American rifleman . The other NRA newsletters/mags are smaller, but they aggregate to another 1 million. MotherJones in their claim of counted older third class mailings of rifleman last year and got about 2.5 million. Ironically given an average of 40% of association members opting for digital magazine subscriptions, Mother jones proved NRA was about 4 million members paid last year and 5.1 million paid members 12 months later.

  2. I was bored to death. Until:
    ““To what extent does the gun industry support any of these groups?”

    Okay. You recognize the benefit of the 2A, and I’m cool with your scene, sister. But you want THEM to support YOU, when YOU’RE not supporting THEM?

    I haven’t been an NRA member in a long while, but continued to send money, when I had some extra, to NRA-ILA, even when I’d let me NRA membership expire.

    Should I be outraged because the NRA won’t support MY little group, Anarchists for the Second Amendment Who Hate Fiction Books?

    What is that, Alice in Wonderland?

    • It’s also completely in line with the expectation that others are there to help you out, the idea of self-reliance is just weird. Almost as if the value of an organisation is measured by the support it gets of other organisations.

    • I don’t consider the NRA the gun industry… I thought they meant sellers and manufacturers.

      • Even if the NRA does support the gun industry, so what? I support the gun industry. I buy their stuff. And if they didn’t make guns, I wouldn’t be able to buy them.

        Not directing this at anyone in particular – I just don’t see how that argument matters at all.

        • I know… what kind of person is surprised to find that the gun industry makes guns?

          I’m pretty confident the sewer cover industry is making sewer covers.

  3. Not once have I ever assumed the things I’m supposed to have assumed as a conservative.

    It’s great that there are pro gun folks on the other side. Harder for some to refuse to listen to them.

    • That would seem great until after TSHTF and you realize these people are quoting Marx instead of Jefferson.

      • I wonder when you guys will understand that there’s a large gap between Marx and Jefferson which is filled with all kinds of interesting ideas. You don’t have to be on one side or the other, and most people aren’t.

        Oh, and Jefferson himself is an interesting dude, too. Did you know that he didn’t consider the right to property to be natural?

        • I don’t know if you’re being ironic or not, but it’s impossible to explain Jefferson’s position on property in two sentences, it’s very nuanced. Like most of man’s opinions on most things, really… that’s what makes his writings so interesting, he’s not rehashing trivialities and truisms but is actually elaborating a very detailed picture with many nuances, and he’s a very eloquent writer, so it’s quite a pleasure to read, regardless of whether you agree or not.

  4. Love em or hate em the NRA is the only organization big enough, rich enough, organized enough and has enough clout to protect the 2A and Gun owners from congress and gun/ rights grabbing presidents.

    She is enjoying her 2A rights because of the NRA.. I don’t think she gets that.

    • Something else that liberal/lefty/Dem/prog gun owners don’t “get”, is that their choices for elective office actually oppose legal gun ownership in many ways. Then, they get angry/defensive when other gun owners point out that they can own guns not BECAUSE of their political choices, but IN SPITE of them.

      I don’t care HOW many guns you happen to own, if you vote for anti-gun, pro-gun-control, pro-gun-so-called-“safety”, or pro-universal-background-check candidates, you aren’t pro-gun in my eyes. You are NOT part of the world of responsible, knowledgeable gun ownership; you are part of the problem, and until you acknowledge that and work to change it, you won’t be welcome in my circle of gunny friends/acquaintances.

      Same for you Fudds. If you’re so short-sighted you can’t see that restrictions on one type of firearm (not often used for hunting) can and will carry-over to other types, screw you.

      /rant off

      • A lot of them “get it” more than you think they do, but things such as abortion and gay rights might rank higher on their priorities list than 2A rights. I say that’s a foolish outlook myself, but I understand the logic.

        Maybe if the republican party would actually stand for what it used to, and actually work to implement a liberty-minded limited government, this dilemma would not exist; the democrat party would die a natural death, burdened by the weight of only those who wish to use the party as a means to political power or handouts.

        Until that time, these people will likely place the 2A at a lower priority, so long as a threat exists that their sexual preferences and private lives may be extremely suppressed or even outlawed by the religious wing of the republican party.

        FWIW, I vote almost exclusively republican/libertarian, but I recognize that this is a very serious problem for the GOP, and why libertarians need to rise up and take over the party.

        • So, it’s the Republicans’ fault that these folks vote for anti-gun Democrats over and over again.

          Got it.

          Wow.

          Just…Wow.

          My point still stands, simple as it is. If you don’t vote pro-gun-rights every time, you are an enemy of gun-rights. Period. Use whatever rationalization you need to get to sleep at night.

          And if it doesn’t bother you, then you never WERE pro-gun-rights, really. Just fooling yourself, trying to have it both ways.

        • I don’t see how they choose to believe abortion is not taking a human life. It’s not a fish. It’s not a giraffe. It’s not an Aardvark. Women don’t give birth to fish, giraffes or aardvarks, to the best of my knowledge.

          They give birth (or not) to human beings. You can’t claim it’s anything else. If you do, you’re lying to yourself – the worst person you could lie to, and the person most often lied to.

          As a Buddhist, I am taught that human life is a precious gift, and rarely attained, in the scheme of things.

          At the same time, I do not see it as my place to prevent others from sullying their karma. That’s there choice, but I assure you, there is a heavy karmic debt to be paid for wantonly and unthinkingly ended a human life, without due reason.

          Self-defense? My teacher is very clear that if one does not protect one’s own life, that is a wanton disrespect for human life.
          When he taught that, I took great interest in the looks of shock and bewilderment among some of the sangha.

          Being a peaceful person does not extend to letting some ahole take your life; you have disrespected yours if you do!

        • “Got it.

          Wow.

          Just…Wow.”

          No you don’t.

          There are many 2A-loving, light-core “liberals” out there that might vote for a repub if the GOP would drop the religious policies influencing their fights against abortion and gay marriage.

          Some people don’t believe the 2A is their core priority, perhaps because before they consider themselves gun owners, they consider themselves gay, bisexual, etc. first, above all else.

          You and I would agree that this is backwards logic, but it is what it is. Some people think like that.

          I vote almost exclusively on 2A support these days, and I’ll overlook a lot of things I disagree with in order to vote a pro-2A candidate. Other people won’t, even if they own guns and like the 2A.

          Sorry, that’s just the way things are right now with our two-party system.

          • “Sorry, that’s just the way things are right now with our two-party system.”

            Which is exactly the nature of the problem.

            You imagine you’ve been given an actual choice, when nothing could be further from the truth. Crest vs. Gleem. Tide vs Cheer. It’s an illusion, cleverly crafted to make you think you’ve voted for one ideal above another. It’s a sucker’s game, and the sooner you realize it, the better. Stop being duped by the mere illusion of “freedom”. You’re as much a slave as any of us.

        • @Jeff….The Republican party has already abandoned the idea of fiscal conservationism in case you haven’t noticed the national debt and obligations. So you’re brilliant plan to help matters is to give the heave ho to the party faithful who might care more about life than to material things? Maybe next you’ll tell us how great an idea it would be to legalize 10 million illegal aliens so they can fetch our paper targets from down range so we don’t have to walk for ourselves.

        • “@Jeff….The Republican party has already abandoned the idea of fiscal conservationism in case you haven’t noticed the national debt and obligations.”

          Oh of course I’ve noticed. Don’t even get me started.

          “So you’re brilliant plan to help matters is to give the heave ho to the party faithful who might care more about life than to material things?”

          I’m merely suggesting that the GOP stop alienating non-religious conservatives.

          I don’t exaclty know how the gay rights issue fits into “more about life than non-material things,” but I do know that by and large the GOP is hostile to gays, while the democrats embrace them – even if the democrats’ embrace is really just a political trick to buy votes.

          The GOP as it SHOULD be would be one that doesn’t care what you do with your genitals.

          “Maybe next you’ll tell us how great an idea it would be to legalize 10 million illegal aliens so they can fetch our paper targets from down range so we don’t have to walk for ourselves.”

          Nope I actually believe those crossing the border illegally should be shot on sight.. Try again.

          • “I’m merely suggesting that the GOP stop alienating non-religious conservatives.”

            Which they would do if they were smart. Let’s see, what does that make them?

      • I wonder how many expressing such sentiments voted for Richard Nixon, Ronald Regan or either Bush? They also did grave damage to the cause. Shame.

      • Here,among logical illiterates you find the stench of bigotry, and the absence of critical though.

        Welcome to the comments section at ttag

    • It wouldn’t be, if people gave the same amount to other RKBA organizations. You’re applying the “bigger is better” argument, akin to the “more folks do this, so it’s the right thing to do” argument.

      • We agree on something, Mr. Burke. There are huge numbers folks in Texas who support suppressing voting rights for minorities and violating women’s rights and bodies for the sake a non-viable parasite but mere popularity doesn’t make it right.

  5. life member of NRA, and former liberal. until I got out of grad school and started working for a living. and paying taxes. lots of them. and getting tired of excuses for crime. low achievement among my people. handouts and the welfare state. and really tired of being labelled a killer for having a handgun to protect my family. frankly, it was the liberals who literally pushed me to being a nra life member. thanks!

    • Good stuff Dirk. You have the sound of someone who awakened to the natural fact that ultimately you were responsible for you, and decided to make good on it.

    • same here Dirk. I’m a younger guy – just turned 30 this year. I used to think I was a liberal, though I unknowingly identified with many libertarian attitudes and outlooks, which I thought were actually “liberal” attitudes. consequently, I was fooled into voting for Democrats in several elections, and rather embarassed to admit it.

      the 2A was like a canary in the mine for me. when I slowly started to pick up on the fact that the supposedly freedom-loving liberals didn’t so much care for my favorite hobby, and in fact were beginning to make mild suggestions that I might be some sort of domestic terrorist simply for owning guns, I began to re-examine my political affiliations and beliefs.

      I also feel that Obama’s election – whom I initially supported and voted for, against all better judgement, which I at the time categorized as “Fox News propaganda” – really accelerated this process, as it seems that the progressives just abandoned all pretense in the last several years, and have made every move that they can to accelerate the implementation of their various ideals.

      the passage of ACA/Obamacare and the SCOTUS decision enforcing its mandatory signups, was a serious WTF moment for me. I believe that sealed the deal. the ramrodding and corruption was as plain as day, there was no way to ignore it. I still can’t see how anybody can.

      by about 2010, I had moved solidly over to the conservative/libertarian camp. I still don’t agree with the GOP and others on some things – especially religion – but I recognize the progressive/liberal movement now for the monster that it is.

      thanks Obama & friends!

    • Liberal (well, left libertarian, rather, but I doubt most people on the right would know the difference, or care). Used to be a member of the NRA, but not anymore – not since they’ve turned it into the appendage of Tea Party, and especially not since LaPierre opened his filthy mouth and publicly called for restrictions on the freedom of speech (that whole “violent video games and media” rant) in an attempt to redirect the post-Newtown witch hunt. I don’t want to be associated with people like that. My money now instead go to SAF and CCRKBA, because they are actually single-issue, not just pretending to be – and they don’t use “liberal” as a swear word in their letters to me.

      • What you refer to as the “Tea Party” is not the original Tea Party, which was formed by Ron Paul, but one formed by a sector of the Republican Party as a faux substitue, expressly to steal it from Ron Paul and the libertarian wing of the GOP. You really need to understand this. What you called the “Tea Party” was a co-opting of something good, by something vicious, mean and downright evil.

        • I’m well aware of that fact. And I am, in fact, generally sympathetic of Ron Paul (I disagree with a hell of a lot of his politics, but if he were to be president the only thing I’d care is his states rights issue). However, realistically, Tea Party today is what it is – the people who hijacked the brand were very successful in it. So when I refer to them, I speak about how things are, not about how they could have been in a better world.

        • When talking about modern realities, only as a footnote if that. It’s kind of like Stallman’s never-ending campaign to make everyone say GNU/Linux rather than Linux to recognize the (considerable early on, largely irrelevant today and for many years now) role of his organization in the movement. That ship has sailed, vae victis etc. Time to move on.

        • Co-opted by something evil and mean? Really? Ok, that means you truly don’t understand the Tea Party as a whole. Should a Tea Party in Southern Arizona have the same exact priorities and outlook as a Tea Party chapter in Northern New York? No of course not, it’s a big country with different local issues. The only thing that the Tea Party should have IN COMMON ON A NATIONAL LEVEL is a Constitutional Federal Government. Just because every Tea Party group doesn’t conform exactly to Ron Paul’s “vision” does not mean something evil is taking it over. Give me a break.

  6. Liberal gun owners….why yes. AKA stupid gun owners. AKA gun owners that rank the priority of owning/operating guns somewhere south of clipping their toenails.

    • You missed the entire point. I am a liberal. I am also a Benefactor Member of the NRA, Life Member of the 2nd Amendment Foundation, Member of Gun Owners of America, Member of GeorgiaCarry.org and, oh yeah… a member of the ACLU. Last year I was interviewed on TV five times in support of the expanding gun rights in Georgia. My political leanings have ZERO to do with the extent of my support for gun rights. You, sir, are the problem.