Considering that there are an estimated 80 million gun owners in the United States, it should be no surprise that local organizations devoted to protecting and promoting gun rights have been springing up, growing in numbers and gaining political clout.
That’s the opinion of Alan Gottlieb writing for the Buckeye Firearms Association. Gottlieb is Founder and Executive Vice President of the Second Amendment Foundation, and Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
As founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, Gottlieb has witnessed this surge in gun rights interests with delight. Today, SAF is proudly involved in legal actions with several grassroots organizations, challenging onerous state and local gun laws.
While the NRA effectively lobbies for gun owners on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, Gottlieb reports that alternate gun rights groups have risen to handle their own affairs. And these local gun groups are all actively pursuing a pro-gun agenda.
“No matter where your stand on gun control,” said Sparklight President Joseph LaMountain, “you have to admire the organization and tenacity of the gun rights community. By organizing locally, they’re able to make an impact in the courts and state legislatures across the country. It’s a record the gun control community simply can’t match.”
These local groups include state-level concealed and open carry organizations, and groups fashioning themselves after the Virginia Citizens’ Defense League, Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts, Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Buckeye Firearms Association, Arizona Citizens Defense League, the Montana Sport Shooting Association and Oregon Firearms Federation and many more.
“Unfortunately for the gun control community, you don’t see a similar level of passion and local support,” LaMountain continued. He listed Protest Easy Guns, an organization formed by Alexandria, Virginia mother Abby Spangler in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, as an example of a local gun control group.
Accordimng to Gottlieb, the presence of many small groups presents no small dilemma for the media, and for gun prohibitionist groups that have long tried to demonize the so-called “gun lobby” as a monolithic organization with the initials “NRA.”
“Instead of a lobby, the emergence of various strong local gun groups is a movement with a broad and diverse membership representing all walks of life, all races, professions and genders,” Gottlied writes. “It is very difficult to demonize a movement that represents a cross-section of Americana, which may be exemplified by the NRA, but not necessarily as the only group on the map.”
While Gottlieb supports the NRA, he says the Foundation is “equally pleased to work with local grassroots organizations, though. We operate, and cooperate, under no illusions. Fighting to protect existing gun rights and regain those we have lost,” he says, ” is a job that will require grassroots activism as well as a strong unified national voice.”
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