The American Medical Association was founded in 1847. The AMA’s stated mission is “to promote the art and science of medicine and betterment of public health.” These are honorable goals, to be sure.
Is It Time to Explore NRA Alternatives?
According to Wikipedia, the AMA enjoys an active membership of around 240,000 and is the largest association and lobbying group of physicians in the United States. If you ask the typical normal non-medical person to describe the nature and function of the AMA they would likely assert that the AMA serves as a collective and united voice for America’s physicians. However, that’s not quite true.
Reality is that the AMA is suffocating under its own self-inflicted ocean of wokeness. It is becoming a veritable bastion of Left-wing dogma. What began back in the 19th century as a beacon on a hill for medical providers everywhere is nowadays so hopelessly mired in Leftist ideology as to have pushed folks like me elsewhere. Suffice it to say there is little room at the AMA table for a pro-life conservative evangelical Family Doctor with a penchant for legal automatic weapons.
I’m not the only small-town sawbones to come to that conclusion. That 240,000 number is heavily padded with free memberships doled out to medical students and residents. Reality is that only 15 to 18 percent of American physicians are members these days. The AMA is an obsolete dinosaur coasting on its past accomplishments, a terminal patient who has not yet assimilated his dire diagnosis. Sadly, the National Rifle Association is in similar straits. Now with potential dissolution looming in New York, it’s time to explore the NRA alternatives for protecting the Second Amendment.
The NRA Had a Good Run
The NRA formed in 1871 by William Conant Church and George Wood Wingate and has for one and a half centuries been the only show in town defending firearms rights on a national scale. It has been described as the most powerful lobbying organization in America. The NRA self-reports some 5 million members. Annual income is typically north of $200 million.
I always saw the NRA as a collective of millions of law-abiding American gun owners standing strong for a righteous cause. We are patriots who love our country and cherish our freedom. By contrast, our opponents view the NRA as an evil faceless corporation to be righteously reviled. In recent years their assessment is likely a bit more realistic than my own. The NRA has evolved into a corrupt and broken entity. They have taken dues and donations from good American patriots and used that money to enhance the executives who have been ensconced there for decades.
Wayne LaPierre is 71 years old. As Executive Vice President he has been the real muscle behind the NRA since 1991. According to Wikipedia, in 2014 the NRA brought in $103 million and LaPierre was paid $985,885. The following year the organization raised $95 million while he received a total of $5,110,985. The recent court hearing in Texas exposed such ghastly stuff as ridiculously expensive custom Italian suits, chartered jet flights, and a traveling “glam squad” for Mrs. LaPierre, all on the NRA’s nickel. In short, the NRA seems hopelessly broken. Today’s NRA is one gigantic suppurating self-inflicted wound. Now members leave in droves looking for NRA alternatives.
What Are the NRA Alternatives?
Gun Owners of America formed in 1976, by NRA board member H.L. Richardson. It boasts around 100,000 members. Congressman Ron Paul described the organization as, “The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.” GOA proves willing to go on the offensive.
GOA Public Service Announcements
- Annual self-defense uses for guns total 2.5 million per year. Citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year—or about 6,850 times a day. As a result, Americans use firearms more than 60 times more often to protect lives than to take lives.
- Locking up firearms can cost lives during a life-threatening situation.
- Guns are the “great equalizer” for women. As many as 200,000 women use a gun every year to defend themselves against sexual abuse.
- Gun owners are a good form of crime control. Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year (1,527 to 606).
In my experience the attitudes and actions of GOA much more closely align with those of rank and file American gun owners than do those of the NRA. GOA is chartered as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. In 2015 GOA had $2,152,940 in revenue and fourteen active employees. GOA pays its Executive Vice President, Erich Pratt, $77,846 per year. These guys are true believers.
Second Amendment Foundation
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) began in 1974 and sports some 650,000 members. Massad Ayoob is the President and Alan Gottlieb is the Vice President. Per Wikipedia they have an annual budget of around $4.3 million and a staff of 16. They are completely transparent and publish their tax returns on their website.
Here’s their mission statement, “The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is dedicated to promoting a better understanding about our Constitutional heritage to privately own and possess firearms. To that end, we carry on many educational and legal action programs designed to better inform the public about the gun control debate.”
The SAF has been active in Second Amendment litigation for four decades. Their lobbying arm is the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). SAF and the CCRKBA have played a critical role in several watershed pro-gun court cases in the past couple of decades. Like GOA, the SAF also appears to be quite the righteous and wholesome mob.
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
If GOA and SAF are the true believers, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) are the zealots. Founded in 1989 by Aaron Zelman, JFPO sports a membership of around 7,000 and an annual revenue of $127,851 as of 2016. These guys had concentration camp survivors on their advisory board. JFPO rightfully sees the 2nd Amendment not as a something that involves hunting or even an expression of freedom. They view the 2nd Amendment as the only reliable hedge against another holocaust.
JFPO actively fights for the repeal of gun control laws. Of course, you need not be Jewish to join. JFPO began as an organization to educate Jews on the historical evils of gun control. They have since evolved into an inclusive and driven machine solely focused on the catastrophic end result of civilian disarmament.
There are dozens of smaller state-level or truly special interest organizations that have laudable pro-2A goals. However, like JFPO, they are small. Our opponents as well as members of Congress don’t really care about ideology. They care about numbers, specifically numbers of people who vote.
So Where to Now?
Each of these NRA alternatives bring much to the table, but the NRA remains our best bet, in my opinion. However, for the NRA to remain relevant and viable there has to be a total housecleaning. Some charismatic, selfless true believer would have to take over from Wayne LaPierre and start with a clean slate. It remains possible, even as it proves radical.
I’d be willing to do it. However, like most folks outside of politics, I am a sensible productive citizen with a real job. If appearances are any indicator that might just be disqualifying.
The NRA is an integral part of the DC swamp, and the swamp finds radical change terrifying. I’m not holding my breath. It seems to me the entrenched leadership at NRA will not leave until we pry their moldy corpses out of their expensive high-back executive leather chairs. Of course, given recent legal developments, the New York State Attorney General may just do our dirty work for us.
For now it seems the proper course for patriotic American gun owners is to support GOA and SAF while keeping a weather eye on the NRA. Meanwhile, the JFPO will put anything you can give to good use. Any internecine squabbles we might have are pure gold to the likes of the Brady Campaign and similar anti-rights groups. Like America as a whole, we are typically our own worst enemies. It’s an unsettling mental image, but we have indeed castrated ourselves. However, now more than ever we need to pull together. Everything depends upon it.