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[The following article was written by Dan Zwiefel at The Cap Times (“Your Progressive Voice”). It is republished here with the author’s permission.]

Ever notice how the organizations that send you junk mail have learned to use every trick possible to get you to open the envelope? One came the other afternoon, an official-looking piece of mail with an all-caps notation across the entire front: “STATEMENT ENCLOSED.” Better not throw this in the trash, I figured, lest I get saddled with a late fee for not paying for something I may have ordered. Alas, there was a statement inside for $25, a whopping $10 off the cost of a year’s membership in the National Rifle Association . . .

“Now is the time for you to activate your NRA membership,” the “statement” insisted. Plus, for that cut-rate $25 I’d get a free NRA duffel bag.

The benefits that would accrue to me for joining, the statement revealed, include 24/7 defense of my Second Amendment freedoms, my choice of NRA-produced magazines, an official member card, free admission to the NRA’s annual guns, gear and outfitter show, $2,500 worth of insurance coverage for my firearms, $5,000 worth of insurance coverage just for me, and discounts at participating retailers and outfitters.

Such a deal.

And in case I was still wavering, the indefatigable Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, included a person message.

“Mr. Zweifel: Now is the time for you to activate your NRA membership. Anti-gun politicians across the country are fighting to ban guns, license and fingerprint gun owners, register firearms, tax ammo, shut down gun shows and a hundred other schemes at destroying YOUR freedoms.

Who knew.

There was once a time when the NRA supported and promoted hunting and the safe usage of firearms. Today, the organization has morphed into one that insists there should be unfettered access to weapons — even those used primarily for shooting cops — and has been the main pusher behind the so-called “stand your ground” statutes, which have become vogue in many states and one of which has been blamed for the tragic Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.

Suffice it to say, the statement wound up in the trash.

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  1. Which are the weapons that are used primarily for shooting cops? ‘Cause I don’t want to get any of those, even by mistake.

    And why am I finding it hard to believe that the writer belongs to the NRA?

      • Indeed. And yet he claims that he was concerned that he might get “saddled with a late fee for not paying for something. . . .” Wasn’t the envelope marked with the NRA name and logo?

        • No logos on those envelopes, but the name and address is there. ( & I get them every couple of months addressed to my company’s name. Cabela’s seems to sell them names and addresses of anyone who orders since it’s usually a month after any order from them that they show up. Either way these are “triggered leads” i.e. people who purchased something that shows an interest in firearms, not just sent to random people.

    • Wasn’t Michael Moore a member before he did Bowling for Columbine? Heck, my hippy older brother has a lifetime membership…

    • The gang bangers seem to like small concealable hand guns at 9mm and under. They use these to shoot at cops and everyone else. Really, scary black assault rifles are used in very few crimes. Gang Bangers really do not like Colt Peacemaker and Colt 1911 type guns. Shotguns are used sometimes by the Gang Bangers, but very sporadically.

      • Actually, the current trend is the .9mm. None of those other guns are “cool” any more. Those guys are really resourceful cuz I can’t find one anywhere. No one seems to have any .9mm ammo either.

  2. I’m confused. This article seemed to veer to an anti-gun slant. I was expecting it to go more in a “the NRA is losing focus and using unrespectible tactics to solicit funds.”

    Weird to see on a firearm blog.

        • “The only unacceptible tactics are ones that don’t work.”

          I’ll tell you what desn’t work with me, an probably with a lot of other folk. Join once and forever and ever after get junk mail. Move from state to state the mail comes, then the TELEPHONE CALLS!

          Is there some way I could get my 30 bucks back?

    • Note the editor’s note at the top, saying this article was reprinted with permission from a progressive rag. TTAG is not advocating the position, just sharing it so we can all get a good chuckle.

  3. I think what this gentleman meant to say was “I was an NRA member until I realized they were actually fighting for the 2A rights of citizens, rather than continuing to allow them to be defined as privileges… I quit.”

  4. I am not an NRA member at this time.
    I don’t plan on becoming a member at this moment either.
    I started shooting at age 8. My instructors were NRA certified, and drilled into me safety safety safety… I then served in the military and the safety I learned stayed with me.
    I do believe that the NRA has lost focus. To be honest we as gun owners should be working with manufactures, organizations which represent shooting as a sport, and government officials to be healthy, safe, and responsible.
    I have my own ideas about what I would like to see done. It is a minimum of legislation, and in fact improves not only businesses, but also our ability to purchase guns and own them in a safe and sane manner. This would be an article in and of itself.
    I think there is a smart way to go about doing this with the help of the NRA, and other groups like the USPSA to promote training, safety and self regulation.
    To many folks have taken a bad view of the NRA, and to make things positive again change needs to happen from within.
    I am sure most of us active on these forums are OCD when it comes to safety and ownership, however things need to be done to make that level of responsibility equal and obtainable for everyone.

    • The NRA is what it always has been during my entire lifetime. The only difference is that the left wing has managed a fairly successfully demonization campaign against the NRA, and the NRA has become more strident in order to survive.

      Without the NRA, there wouldn’t be a gun left in America today.

      • Many former gun owners in the UK have said if they had an organization like the NRA they would have been able to fight back, alas they did not have any such support.
        If the NRA can scare politicians away from supporting more attacks on our rights then it’s worth a few bucks and a couple of adverts in the mail.
        What I always liked about the NRA is they are about helping everyone retains their 2A rights, even the RINO liberals and wishy washy moderates that nod when told to.

  5. I still belong to the NRA, but I have hated their tactics where trying to suck a few bucks out of me is concerned for many years now. They want you to renew your membership about 8-10 months before it expires and send you annoying notices and requests monthly. I ignore them until my membership is up and usually wait for them to offer to send me something I think would be useful. Last time they were supposed to send me a folding knife, but, it never came.
    Worse yet is the NRA-ILA, who apparently thinks I need a “Membership” to their sub-group and was, at some time unbeknownst to myself, actually a Member of said group. Their begs for $$ are downright ridiculous. If I even sent the minimum suggested donations every time they beg, I would hardly be able to go shoot every three months. When I see NRA-ILA on the envelope, it is automatic trash.
    Hope this doesn’t offend any committed NRA Members, but the guy who wrote the quoted article is spot on…except for maybe being too nice about it.

    • Whoa……!!! If all yer waiting for is another HAT you missed the whole point. There are four million plus members and should be FORTY million! Join as a LIFE MEMBER and hopefully your kids will thank you.

  6. I am a life member of the NRA but I have to admit that the NRA has become very milk toast regarding gun issues in recent years.

  7. Everything after “”Your Progressive Voice” was rendered null and void.

    Besides, we have plenty of opposing viewpoints and concerns with the NRA amongst firearm owners; FLAME DELETED

    • Funny, a lot of people on the left feel the same way about the NRA and other pro-2A organizations. Doesn’t make for much of a dialogue.

      • I don’t want a dialog. The only dialog that the left demands is “how do you want to surrender your rights?” Screw that.

        • While the ACLU has been negligent to say the least on the Second Amendment, they’ve fought hard to protect the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eigth, and Fourteenth. That’s a lot of rights being protected by a lot of leftists.

          I’ll readily admit that a lot of those same people are probably anti-gun, and I think they’re wrong about that. What frustrates me more than anything right now is there’s no one-stop shop for civil liberties in American politics anymore. There’s no place to hang your hat where people will agree that the whole Bill of Rights is worth having, whole and entire. One side might like gun rights, but it’s okay to kill that guy without due process because he’s said some nasty things about America and besides, he’s in Yemen now, and he’s kinda hard to get to. Other people would stand up for due process, but god forbid you actually want to defend yourself with a modern firearm. It’s all just repulsive.

        • Ralph, you and I dialogue all the time. Best I can tell, you’re a full time dialoguer. Or is it dialogian? And your generalization of “the Left” is ridiculous. Even if TTAG is the only site you visit (and I know it’s not), you can see that. Good Cantankerous Old Guy impression, nonetheless.

      • Once a single Progressive speaks about gun rights while respecting fact, logic, proof, and while having an end goal that doesn’t involve me being unable to protect my life and the lives of my loved ones, then I’d be perfectly willing to open a dialog.

        Hasn’t happened yet.

        • I think he’s got his fingers in his ears and he’s saying “nah nah nah nah…”

          Although personally, I don’t care for the term “progressive,” though it is actually accurate. It just seems kind of wimpy. I’ll stick with “Leftist.” Maybe with an AK-47 sillouhette in the background. Or maybe not.

  8. I can live with the solicitations from NRA. I send one contribution for about every 50 or so.
    The only beef I had with NRA was when they sent me some DVD, then a few months later, sent a letter asking for either the DVD back, or payment for it. I told them I didn’t know where the DVD was, did not order it, did not want it, and accepted no responsibility for it. I made it clear that if I wanted anything, I would order it and pay for it, but they were not to send anything I did not order. They have respected my wishes ever since.

  9. Whew…… catch my breath….. OK! Doh…. “Firearms …. used primarily for killing cops” ” ‘stand your ground’ statutes … which has been blamed for the tragic killing of Trayvon M….” And the NRA. My head hurts.

    People kill people. Any person can be killed with gun. No Law/Statute will get you killed, nor will it protect you from being killed.

    Where are the smart people. I am only trying to find some/one that can put 2 and 2 together and not get zero or say that the 2 is a cat.


  10. I consider joining the NRA, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it. If they were less of a right-wing and industry lobby organization, and narrowed their focus to the civil right to be armed, and promoted firearms in a positve way (as they used to), I’d be more inclined to let their card snuggle up to my ACLU card. The ACLU also hounds its members for money, of course.

  11. The reason I no longer belong to the NRA is all the gd mail from them, asking for money. It’s funny, that was 20 years ago, and those gun rights they said I was going to lose if I didn’t send them $50 have only gotten stronger, not weaker. The NRA lives on the “sky is falling” scenario. What a joke.

    • Have you already forgotten the Clinton AWB and his extortion of Smith & Wesson that almost put the company out of business? The AWB was in 1994. The S&W strongarm was in 2000. I think that both of them were less that 20 years ago. Those two things just skim the surface.


      • That’s the only way the RepubliCONS can get people to vote for them (against their OWN economic interests). God, guns, and gays. And the sheep continue to vote for them.

  12. “There was once a time when the NRA supported and promoted hunting and the safe usage of firearms.”

    Damn. Better tell my hunter safety class to stop teaching from the NRA books they have!

  13. The fact of the matter is that we would probably not be having this discussion in this blog if the NRA were not around, schlepping us for money.

  14. If Zwiefel and his likeminded pals demonstrated something other than contempt for the Second Amendment, maybe the NRA could devote a little more energy to hunting and shooting sports, and less to politics. What’s more, his idea that the NRA supports unfettered access to weapons is pretty ludicrous. If he had ever read the Founding Fathers on the subject of guns, he’d think the NRA were tame by comparison.

    • If he had ever read the Founding Fathers on the subject of guns, he’d think the NRA were tame by comparison.

      Very much so.

  15. I toss all that crap.

    CCRTKA – Goes in the trash
    2AF – News letters, fake polls and voter cards with the last question saying “True or false, I will pledge to help fight for your rights by making a donation of A) $25, B) $50, C)$100 D)$_____

    Face palm, you guys are funny… I automatically disregard calls from Washington State where I constantly get calls from regarding “Obama and the UN”

    I’m annoyed with letters that come to me automatically assuming that because I’m a firearms enthusiast I must be on the xenophobia bandwagon. “Its your chance to vote for better immigration and border security now – Important Ballot Inside – Official Mail” Seriously? Thats rude. Or my favorite. The one that comes with a nickel just behind the clear plastic so you open the letter… *Benchmade that puppy* thanks for the nickle, and into the recycle bin you go.

    Its pretty ridiculous. Has anyone tried to read The Firing Line News Letter? *Puke* Its s poorly typset, and the content is black and white and set in Courier? Really? Courier? You just had to go for the “Its a telegram” look? *yawn*

    I could go on and on. I know what my bills look like, anything else, goes right in the trash.

    • Sounds like you’re on different mailing lists than I am. For my part, it’s worth some time and money to protect one of the most important human rights there are.

  16. The NRA IS a big con. Yeah, I said it!

    To gain your attention they tell you your rights are in trouble and that they are here to protect your right to arms and defense. Then they gain your trust by “fighting” a few laws or cases here and there. Then they ask for money to continue the “fight”.

    At the same time they let things pass or they “compromise” so they will always have a threat looming. In other words, it is like an arms dealer or banker who arms or funds both sides in a war.

    Not only that. They make you complacent because you think they are protecting your rights, so you sit back and relax.

    They sure look like a bunch of con-men…

  17. I view the NRA as a necessary evil. They fight dirty so that the rest of us can keep our hands clean and have high-minded debates about ‘rights’. Many Americans, pampered by 200+ years of relative peace and unbelievable prosperity, forget that throughout human history the only consistent human ‘right’ has been to end up face down in a muddy ditch without a pulse. All the rest of our ‘rights’ have been earned through immeasurable suffering and have to be fought for to be maintained. That’s where the NRA comes in.

    In a world without gun-haters the NRA could exclusively be pro-hunting, pro-safety and pro-education without any of the politics. Unfortunately there are people out there with a visceral hatred of guns and a burning desire to disarm everyone who would obey a law that disarms them.

    It’s the classic collective action problem. Nobody likes paying their taxes, either, but you like having roads and schools. You may not like the NRA, but you sure like your gun rights. If people would grumble less and pay their NRA dues responsibly, then the NRA wouldn’t have to spam you and resort to cheap tricks. And don’t go on about the GOA or the NSSF or whatnot, they don’t have the money and lobbying power to buy the lawyers and congresscritters it takes to fight the Brady bunch and their friends in Washington. The NRA is the best we’ve got, and they’re the ones fighting and winning for us.

  18. “There was once a time when the NRA supported and promoted hunting and the safe usage of firearms. Today, the organization has morphed into one that insists there should be unfettered access to weapons — even those used primarily for shooting cops — and has been the main pusher behind the so-called “stand your ground” statutes, which have become vogue in many states and one of which has been blamed for the tragic Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.”

    Aside from the final thrust of this paragraph, I’m confused by its entirety. I’ll break it down:

    “There was once a time when the NRA supported and promoted hunting and the safe usage of firearms.”

    True statement, but the implication is that the NRA no longer does this. I’m pretty sure it does …

    “Today, the organization has morphed into one that insists there should be unfettered access to weapons …”

    That’s an outright lie. I wish it were true. It’s easier to work towards the right balance from a position of total freedom than it is to work from a position of opression. Whenever I read the Second Amendment, I must be overlooking the word “but” or “except” in there … Perhaps I’ll go read it again so that I can figure out where it says access to arms should only be for certain people.

    “… even those used primarily for shooting cops …”

    WTF? Where did that come from? What guns are those? Who promotes their guns as “cop killers” to corner that market?

    “… and has been the main pusher behind the so-called “stand your ground” statutes, which have become vogue in many states and one of which has been blamed for the tragic Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.”

    NRA has been the main pusher of stand your ground? Okay. I’ll accept that … Will you accept the fact that the NRA isn’t just some gun industry shill, but is a group of millions of individual citizens who demand the right to defend themselves anywhere we are permitted to be? I’m not an activist, but I am an NRA member. They “activize” on my behalf. At the risk of sounding cliché, I am the NRA.

    I’m also not convinced Trayvon’s killing is a tragedy. Tragic for his family, sure; but I’m not them, and I’m fresh out of sympathy for grandstanding and gold-digging relatives. “Bullsh_t filter is full.” As for Trayvon and George–can I call him George, since we’re apparently on a first name basis with Trayvon?–I reserve judgement. I wasn’t there and I don’t know which, if either, is more at fault for this mess than the other.

  19. As far as I am concerned the NRA is doing a wonderful job, serving a purpose that many completely miss; taking the anti-gunner heat. National Media portrays the evil and dangerous NRA as the group responsible for unprecedented access to guns, and we see Wayne Lapierre sprinkled around the alphabet news outlets proselytizing gun rights, getting attacked by the other talking heads affirming that, yes, this is what the NRA stands for, it is common sense blah blah blah… The NRA has become a meme machine in the information age.

    Gun rights over the last 20 years have not been significantly expanded at the federal level. Right to carry, castle doctrine and most other changes in gun laws are the result of the lobbying efforts of state specific gun rights groups that operate almost entirely hidden from the national conversation. The primary lawyers for Heller and McDonald were not employed by the NRA. Rarely does the NRA recognize any other pro 2a group, and that is a point that people are critical of. However I think it is a good thing, let the NRA take all the heat and attention, while the worker bees of freedom get to toil away and fight the good fight without being constantly molested by the media and anti-gun crazies.

    So yah, I enjoy the NRA labeled junk mail, and want every mailbox in America stuffed with it. I will continue to send them my $35 a year to them but, I will also continue to send my yearly $70 (and more) to the Arizona Citizens Defense League being fully aware of what each and every dollar is for.

  20. On the whole, I view the NRA as a positive organization, and I used to be a member, but some of their tactics and positions have put me off. Two examples would be the continuous junk mail, and supporting Harry Reid ( a couple of gun ranges do not make up for Kagen and Sotomayor.) I still think they are worth some support.

    To sidestep the junk mail, I haven’t been a member for quite a while. I swear, they spent more money shipping me crap than I gave them.

    The NRA roundup that Midway and other retailers do seems to be a way to slip them a little coin without turning on the junk mail deluge.

    • I’m with Mike. A critical mission marred by crappy marketing. I get two to four beg letters a month, but what really p-o’d me was a sleazy tactic from the 60’s – they sent some CD to me and said “you’ll love this; pay us for it. And if you don’t want it send it back”. Yeah, on my dime and my wasted time. When this scam first came out, it riled so many folks that a law got passed saying you don’t have to pay for unsolicited offerings that come thru the mail.

      Hey, Wayne? I’m your constituency. Try not to piss me off.

  21. I’m an NRA member. I don’t agree with everything they do. But, I know they keep the liberals running scared, and that’s a good thing. The NRA has made “gun control” the “third rail” for liberal politicians. I also recently joined the SAF.

    Go ahead… laugh at me. 🙂 I guess I’m not so sensitive to the junk mail the NRA sends. It just goes in the trash. But, I support the overall mission, even if I don’t agree with every nit-pickin’ thing they do.

  22. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, the Khmer Rouge, the North Korean dictator, and others of that ilk all love gun control, including the dictatorialist and socialist UN rulers. When Americans are disarmed, that is the day they need to start expecting the rest of their Constitutional freedoms to rapidly fade away. I distrust anyone who shills for the ruling elite, either knowingly or unknowingly, in their quest to strip us of our freedom. While the NRA is imperfect, as is mankind at large, it is the only effective barrier in place at this time between us an the wannabe dictators.

  23. I rejoined the NRA at the first of 2012, because I was concerned about the 2A. I had been a member before Clinton was elected through the 1994 gun ban. I figured then we as gun owners were in for the fight of this freedom. Not to go shooting at cans or hunting but for the day when this country falls apart, which I believed was on the way. I joined again before Bush #2 from the prooding of te NRA, attractive gift for joining. Things were good the 94 ban expired. A person could get ammo, guns of all different types with all kinds of modern technelogical advances. Again I felt safe and let my membership slip and wondered how they had any money left to do anything after sending me all that mail. But how ever they do it the are right out there on the fornt lines, looking the people who ARE trying to change our rights because they think the founding fathers had it wrong about how free We The People should be. The gun grabbers say they don’t want to take our right to protect ourselves but when they finish that sentence its usually with, ” at home”, which I thought I was covered no questions asked. The 2A is my right to carry anywhere, PERIOD, and if I want to conceal so as not to upset anyone else that should be my choice. My real hope is that I never even have to point a gun at anyone else but sure hope I not saying to myself “I wish I had my gun right now” and don’t becasuse I’d risk offending someone. So I’ll keep sending the NRA my money to help them stand and fight for me. Thank you NRA for everything you have done and intend to do.

  24. I just received a piece of very suspicious looking mail in my snail mail box. It was from the NRA-ILA, (which I have never heard of) who apparently are attempting to smear a Maryland candidate just prior to our primaries tomorrow, presenting “information” on a seven year old piece of proposed gun legislation. Even the included “information” is scant. This group has supplied no return address, no physical address, no telephone number, and no email address, the lack of which instantly identifies them as a sleazy group or organization. …But in the tiniest print possible, there is a notice that it was out out by Citizens for Connie DeJulius, a candidate who is running for the Maryland Senate, and who was found to be removing her opponents signs from the property of others. A real class act, combined with another class act.

    This organization is SO sleazy that you have to open the mail to find out who the sender is supposed to be…and even then, you’re left uncertain.


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