The NFATCA "Big Boys Club?"
By John Brown

Most of you have read a blog here or there that accuses the NFATCA of being an exclusive Big Boys Club. We supposedly have membership dues that are for the rich that no one can afford except an anointed few. We supposedly have private club meetings and are double agents for ATF. It is about time that someone set the record straight and told the truth, for a change.

This month marks the sixth year of formal organization as a 501(C) for the NFATCA and was formed with one goal and objective in mind: formal representation of NFA owners by NFA owners at a level never before achieved by any other organization. And that my friends is exactly what has been accomplished in six years of blood, sweat and tears. This organization was initially formed by more senior members of the NFA community, all of whom had been in the NFA business long before the Firearm Owners' Protection Act (FOPA), Public Law No. 99-308, 100 Stat. 449 (May 19, 1986), to include the Hughes amendment, was passed by Congress in May of 1986.

Every original board member had been in the NFA business, individually, a minimum of 30 years. It took that kind of strength, experience, maturity, and stamina to build something that would truly represent the community in a fashion never before accomplished. We formed the original board of directors at Knob Creek in April of 2006 and at that meeting each individual founding (Plankholder) member wrote a check to the organization for $5,000, to help get that organization off the ground. It took experience, time, and yes, a lot of money to accomplish what was necessary to move the NFATCA to the forefront of the ATF agenda. Having worked at every level of the executive leadership at ATF we took a completely different approach to working with the government, working together, instead of working against each other. We worked in the interests of the NFA community and in the best interests of public safety.

For six years now the NFATCA has held a consistent board with an agenda working for the benefit of NFA owners nationwide. We initially needed a lot of operating capital to move ahead with the strength necessary to make a difference. Membership levels ran from a life membership of $25,000 to an entry level of $250. This past year we introduced a $50 membership that has given the organization a tremendous boost in its ranks. We have now formed a formal steering committee that drives many of our initiatives from a working agenda to the best utilization of our top resource, our individual members. Our representation spans the entire agenda of NFA owners.

So if you still believe in the rumor that this organization is a special rich boys club, then take a look at the numbers. The majority of our membership is made up of regular NFA owners, like yourself, from all over the United States.

We have, and continue to take on, Benefactor Members, like The Freedom Group, to help us reach our goals. We have and will continue to work with groups like the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), and The National Shooting Sports Foundation, to do one important thing: represent your interests as NFA owners and collectors. That initiative requires time, money, and the right kind of experience to make a difference in a world that is, many times, not so friendly. What we do isn't cheap and it takes more time and energy than you could ever imagine. We have managed and continue to maintain a presence at every single point of enforcement and legislative interest that can and will affect our NFA community. If you want to refer to what the NFATCA does as a "Boys Club," then you simply don't understand what it takes to make a difference with the right of NFA ownership. Of course it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if you personally are not at the forefront of someone else's success, it's easy to find fault in something you had absolutely nothing to do with.

I often refer members to the NFATCA's incorporation statement to remind me of what we are supposed to be all about:

The NFATCA Operating Charter

This corporation is organized as a non-profit corporation for the following purpose: To promote the interests of the general community comprised of collectors, manufacturers, importers and dealers of firearms and devices regulated by the National Firearms Act; to promote educational and cultural interest in the firearms and devices covered by the National Firearms Act; to address matters of public policy regarding firearms, in general; to encourage research, development and innovation in the firearms community; to encourage the lawful use of firearms; and to engage in any other lawful activity as instructed by the corporation's Board of Directors.

You don't have to look far to see the results of our charter. Most have seen the NFA Handbook, now in its fourth iteration, or the working version of the Firearms Technology Handbook, or the less than half dozen rulings that we have been responsible for working side by side with ATF in the making. We are often amazed at how fast some people forget that the NFATCA was the single organization that pulled the FNC ruling out of the fire and into a safe haven. But then too we can understand that if you didn't come forward and help you should feel left out and probably a little angry and jealous of a success story where you could have made a difference. It's not too late for you to step up.

I'm certain that the old expression on this particular topic is more than appropriate at this juncture, "Enough Said".

Why don't you come and join us today and lend your personal expertise to our endeavors. You too can make a difference with your time, your experience, and a mere fifty dollars. Come visit us at www.nfatca.org.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V14N7 (April 2011)
and was posted online on November 1, 2011


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