For years I have struggled with this. Clearly, if you utilize firearms to hunt, you have a stake in 2nd Amendment rights. That being said, there have been occasions where I wasn’t sure I felt aligned with the NRA. It seems Ms. Lily McCaulou has had similar reservations, and vocalized them in this NY Times Opinion piece: “I hunt But Oppose The NRA”.
A snippet from Ms. McCaulou: “On its Web site, the N.R.A. calls itself the “largest pro-hunting organization in the world.” Yet during election season, the N.R.A. makes endorsements based largely on candidates’ voting records on gun control — with little if any concern for their views on other issues of interest to hunters. Candidates who voted to allow the ban on assault weapons to expire, for example, are labeled “pro-sportsmen” often despite their weak voting records on environmental issues.”
On the NRA Hunters Rights website, JR Robbins has offered a rebuttal: I Hunt Too and the NRA Is For Me.
Here is a piece of Mr. Robbins’ editorial:
“The Second Amendment is not about hunting, but hunting is one of the main ways citizens exercise their Second Amendment rights. And there is in fact no single group doing more for hunting than NRA. Through legislation, litigation, programs, grant funding, and publications we defend and advance hunters’ rights in every possible way. We are proud to work alongside many other pro-hunting groups in battles to protect hunting, but the reality is that without NRA a lot of those battles might be lost.
We are without doubt the largest pro-hunting organization in the world. Eighty percent of our members hunt, and second only to personal protection, hunting is the main reason NRA members own firearms. “
I’m not sure, I see points on both sides. I do know this – since I covered the NRA convention in Phoenix a few years ago, I started paying attention and the NRA has made significant efforts to promote hunting, even developing a separate branch for that purpose: NRA Hunters Rights. It seems they have more work to do in getting the message out.
I also know this: anti-gun people are like anti-hunting people, for the most part. Generally, they want all guns out of the hands of the average citizen, just like anti-hunting groups want all hunting eliminated. While we bicker about baiting and hounds and compounds and crossbows and trail cameras; the forces against are absolutely united in purpose. If you utilize a firearm to hunt, there is no group positioned better to defend that right. Will you agree with every stance they take? Nope. Probably not. If hunters don’t feel they are being well-represented by the NRA, then we need to let them know how to do that more effectively. Hunters can’t stop bickering amongst themselves long enough to foster recruitment and retention, or effectively slow the onslaught by groups like PETA and the CBD. If there comes a day where you can’t own a shotgun, rifle, handgun or muzzleloader – it won’t really matter, will it? Sure it will never come to that? How sure?