Nowadays, with all the new Second Amendment and pro-gun groups being created, there’s something for everyone.
Some gun owners aren’t satisfied with just the National Rifle Association. They’re looking for a group that’s a bit smaller, more personal or a better fit for their lifestyle.
Membership in these specialty and niche gun groups is growing.
Here are a few examples:
- Its detractors describe the Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership as a bit radical because they use images of Hitler in their literature. The JPFO describes itself as the country’s “most aggressive defender of firearms ownership.” Its mission is to “destroy” gun control and “encourage Americans to understand and defend all of the Bill of Rights for all citizens.”
- The mission of the GLBT group Pink Pistols is “the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community.” There are 45 Pink Pistol chapters nationwide, and more in the planning stage. The group celebrates diversity and is open to all shooters.
- The Women Against Gun Control, also known as “Ladies of High Caliber,” is growing its membership. Their slogan: “Forget diamonds, guns are a girl’s best friend.”
- The goals of the Disabled Americans for Firearms Rights are to introduce the disabled to self-defense concepts, to oversee shooting competitions, and to monitor legislation that impacts their membership. The DAFR has testified about the AR-15, which is the only firearm many disabled Americans can operate due to its flexibility.
- There are grassroots and county-level groups that are very active and growing. Many cropped up after a state-level affiliate splintered. There are single-issue groups, such as those dedicated to concealed or open carry, and hunting groups of all kinds.
Before you join one of the smaller organizations, here are some suggestions you can use to evaluate the group before you send in your dues.
Look at their financing. The first step I use to evaluate any nonprofit is Guidestar.org – a free tool used by reporters and researchers to investigate a nonprofit. The Guidestar website hosts their IRS Form 990s, which contain info on what they receive in donations, as well as what they pay their top staff. If a group spends more on their CEO than their programs, or if they’re not transparent with their finances, look elsewhere. Guidestar will also tell you if the group is a traditional nonprofit, a 501(C)(3), or whether they can lobby, a 501(C)(4). Look at their audits and financial statements. If they don’t make them available, it’s a potential red flag.
Look at their programs. What will they do with your money? Most gun groups will lobby – some much more successfully than others. Some will file lawsuits. Fewer still will hire attorneys and fund the lawsuits themselves. If they are a hunting or conservation group, ask how many acres they have purchased and protected, or the number of birds they have released. Ask about their youth programs.
Look at what they say about other groups. How a group responds to criticism from within the firearms community can differ greatly. Will they bash another pro-gun group? To me, that’s very telling about the organization’s core values.