NFATCA Report: V19N4

By Jeffery E. Followder


The Nature of Association

“I don’t like the NRA. They aren’t pure enough for me, so I don’t give them money.”

“I simply cannot support the Gun Owners of America.”

“The Second Amendment Foundation doesn’t align with my objectives.”

“Come And Take It is a little too ‘in your face’ for my liking.”

“The Open Carry folks are gonna get us all in trouble.”

“The NFATCA is a good old boys club.”

“What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you not understand?”

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have heard each of these sentiments or some variation on the theme. Many people tend to have a pretty clear idea of what they want an advocacy group to be and pretty much look for reasons to support only those groups that perfectly align with those ideas. The rest of the groups can only garner their derision – until it’s time to actually do something.

“The NRA should be pouring money into this state issue.”

“NFATCA should be fighting to get us another amnesty registration period.”

“GOA should be building support for federal concealed carry legislation.”

“SAF should be funding my pet project.”

“Somebody should be suing ATF over this!”

And well they should. All of these things are important and deserve resources and attention. Unfortunately, without individual financial support, the ability to drive grand plans becomes a tenuous proposition for established organizations. This is not new news. The cause of the disconnect is rather straightforward: people want the battle waged with somebody else’s money. It’s just like government programs for the masses. “We get it free from the government!” Except that “somebody else” is actually picking up the tab, whether it is the wealthier taxpayers or future generations of taxpayers. As long as the individual gets the benefit without the direct cost... Take the following as an example:

“You guys should be working to repeal the Hughes Amendment so that all of us can get access to new, inexpensive machine guns.”

“We’d love to do that. Matter of fact, we did some preliminary research to figure out just exactly what kind of resources and effort we would need to mount such an effort. We are going to need some bright minds to do the heavy lifting of lobbying Congress to find supporters and sponsors. We’ll need to pay those folks and also pay the folks to help draft the new legislation. We’re looking at several million dollars in just the first two years, alone. And be warned, this is going to take a long, sustained effort to
be successful.”

“Great! Let’s get started now. I want this!”

“We do, too. Would you be willing to support the effort? A check for $1,000 would be a great start to help get things going.”

“Umm, this has actually been a rough year for me. I don’t have that kind of dough just lying around. Can’t you get some of the big collectors to make donations? How about the NRA? Can you get them into the fight?”

“We’ll work on that. Absolutely. In the mean time, can we count on you to join us? Every little bit helps and even a $50 membership is a place to start.”

And we hand the enthusiast a sign-up card and get told that they will take care of it later, instead of signing up now. We tell them that we can run a credit card right now, very easily – which gets brushed off. We remind him that he can sign up online. It never happens. In all truth, this person also did not renew his NRA membership. He didn’t sign up for GOA or any of the other organizations, either. He also will spend a lot of time on the Internet and with his buddies complaining that (insert organization name here) just doesn’t care about the “important stuff.” This causes somebody to start up their own new organization that will be more focused and better aligned with the needs of the constituency. Traction will be gained and effort expended in all the right places. That is until the funds get tight. And then there is a cash call beyond the opening splash. It isn’t too long until the new group is just like the old groups.

At a recent gathering of NFA enthusiasts we were asked point blank: “You guys have been around for a dozen years and are always asking for money. Are you going to be here in another few years?” Great question. It’s something that every association must ask itself on a continuous basis. Without a bit of hesitation the response was “Yes!” The NFATCA is in it for the long haul. We understand that progress is a long term project and that there will be ups and downs. We will be lauded for our wins and we will be derided for what others perceive to be mutiny or missteps. We will take that in stride. Each and every member of our board and steering committee understands that there are no quick wins, no easy solutions with low cost/low effort. It’s a message that we try to communicate to our membership because we know that the glacial pace of our progress can be frustrating. “Yes, we’re going to be here and we absolutely will make a difference. We will work on issues that will make a difference and we will ultimately succeed. And we are going to do it with your support and your money.”

We are determined to stay the course. We know that it does require support and money to accomplish much of what we all want. So we eagerly await the news that you are willing to fund the fight instead of waiting for somebody else to do it for you. Go to www.nfatca.org and click the Join Now button on the left. Sign up as a new member, renew your membership, extend your membership or increase your membership level today. And send us a note at info@nfatca.org to let us know what issues are important to you.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V19N4 (May 2015)
and was posted online on March 20, 2015


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