Maybe this isn’t supposed to be something anyone in the gun-owning/Second Amendment/whatever you want to call it community is supposed to admit, but some people are into guns but don’t like the NRA.
Granted, the National Rifle Association is – make no mistake – the largest organization devoted to fighting for the Second Amendment. Imperfectly? Sure, but they are the largest and, therefore, the ones that elected officials take the most seriously. So joining and/or donating does put money towards the fight to preserve our gun rights.
But some people don’t care for them. If you didn’t but still wanted to donate money to an organization dedicated to Second Amendment rights…what can you do?
Why Some People Don’t Care For The NRA
There are all sorts of reasons not to donate money to a non-profit organization of any kind, never mind anything gun-related.
One of the chief reasons is not wanting to fund overhead, and high overhead is a sure sign of a corrupt non-profit, which is why it’s recommended you research a non-profit or charity before donating.
The National Rifle Association has…some issues in this area. Reports of lavish spending on executive perks certainly didn’t paint a good picture, but it’s not good, but not completely awful when you get to the actual financial statements.
Per their 2018 budget, obtained by the Washington Post (open it in a private browsing window, and you’ll bypass the paywall), the NRA had $423,034,158 in expenses and $412,233,508 in revenue in that year, a shortfall of more than $10 million.
$32.72 million was spent on safety, education, and training, $57.23 million on legislative programs (lobbying), $39.4 million on public affairs, and $22.57 million on grant programs.
However, their largest line items were $69.14 million on administration, $77.9 million on member services and acquisition, and $69.8 million on fundraising.
That looks like they spend more on making money and running the organization than on anything actually gun rights-related, though the proportions aren’t completely unreasonable.
Ideologically, some people don’t care for the NRA rolling over for Donald Trump’s bump stock ban, being a bit too soft on background checks, high-profile squabbling among members, and other reasons.
While, again, they are the biggest group dedicated to Second Amendment rights…some people don’t want to have anything to do with them.
What, though, are the alternatives? Here are a few.
State Rifle Associations
While the NRA is the National Rifle Association, there are state rifle associations as well. More or less, it’s the same idea, the same mission, but focused on the state and local level.
Just Google (Your State) Rifle Association, and there you go.
Some people prefer to “shop local” and so on; the idea is to try to have more positive engagement with their local environment and yadda yadda yadda. This would be the gun rights equivalent.
State rifle associations can be powerful forces. The Second Wave of Shall Issue, as it’s called – the period lasting roughly from the mid-80s to the millennium when most states passed shall-issue concealed carry laws – was largely spearheaded by state rifle associations.
Gun Owners Of America
The closest thing to an alternative to the NRA is Gun Owners of America, who bill themselves as having a “no-compromise gun lobby.” You can see their website here.
Basically, if you think that firearms rights should be completely unlimited, the GOA is for you. Constitutional carry, machine guns, and missiles for everyone.
While membership is dramatically less than that of the NRA (fewer than 1 million members), they are also known for being loud advocates for gun rights and unwilling to compromise on…pretty much anything.
If your problem with the NRA is too much compromise with the government and want the gun rights organization you join to be as loud as possible about it, this is your group.
Second Amendment Foundation
Another Second Amendment group worth looking into is the Second Amendment Foundation, which like the GOA, is concerned with gun rights but takes a more active role in litigation.
Have a look at the Second Amendment Foundation website for more information.
So think of it like this: the ACLU, whatever you think of them, not only advocates for the protection of free speech but also lodges civil suits where they believe the speech of various people has been stifled.
The GOA is mostly concerned with lobbying; the SAF does that plus gets the lawyers involved in Second Amendment court cases. In other words, the GOA is great at talking, but the SAF actually does something about it.
And they’ve gotten real results.
The SCOTUS case McDonald v City of Chicago was litigated by the SAF, which overturned Chicago’s handgun ban. The SAF successfully litigated a handgun ban in San Francisco and sued the city of New Orleans for illegally seizing guns after Hurricane Katrina.
If you prefer a gun-rights group that actually gets things done, the SAF is that group.
Gun Rights Groups For Various…Groups
Various gun rights groups are concerned with or otherwise more about serving a particular demographic or interest group. If you happen to be in that demographic or interest group, then it might be the thing for you…or it might not.
For instance, Pink Pistols is a gun-rights group concerned with gun rights specifically for the LGBTQ+ community.
Several women’s gun rights groups exist, such as A Girl And A Gun and the Second Amendment Sisters.
The Huey P. Newton Gun Club is a gun rights and black empowerment organization concerned with African Americans’ gun rights and the issues affecting the African American community. However, some find them a bit…shall we say radicalized for their taste.
Similarly, the National African American Gun Association is likewise a gun rights organization for African Americans, founded in response to discrimination that some people of color experienced in and around the NRA.
There’s also the Liberal Gun Club, more for liberal (rather than far-left) gun owners that don’t believe conservatism and the Second Amendment are mutually inclusive.
So on and so forth.
Gun rights are for everyone, so perhaps there’s a group you identify with that has its own gun rights group, and that may be a worthwhile group to join or donate to instead.