So have you ever thought about joining the NRA but pulled back at the last minute because you just can't morally support an organization that merely pretends to be pro-gun? Deep down we all know that the NRA are sellouts, secretly brokering deals with Hillary Clinton and Susan Sarandon to take away Americans' treasured 2nd Amendment rights. Those of us who understand that it is our duty to be armed to the teeth and accidentally kill one of our own family members in the dark are left without an organization of the like-minded to call Home.
Wait! What's this? If the National Rifle Association is just too frou-frou and liberal for your lead-chewing, take-no-prisoners lifestyle, the Gun Owners of America might be for you!
The group greets readers with a laudatory quote from Ron Paul: "The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington." Congressman Paul was coincidentally the only presidential candidate to receive an A+ rating from GOA. Here is a helpful hint to gun owners and enthusiasts – if you ever get to a point in your life at which Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter are insufficiently pro-gun to merit an A+, it might be time to take a break from hand-loading .338 rounds in your basement. Go to a movie or something. Talk to a female. Really. It's time for some air.
The GOA's website is indicative of an organization stridently opposed to gun control legislation, proofreading, and web design. While the NRA goes to great lengths to appear polished, professional, and reasonable, the GOA comes off as exactly what most firearm owners hate – the stereotype of the paranoid, shack-dwelling conspiracy theorist who rehearses sniper scenarios in daydreams on the long, boring drive to the Aryan Nations compound. The NRA pointedly notes that it "has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world." In contrast the GOA's year-in-review subtly notes, "Get it? Every time a crackpot goes on a shooting spree, the Obama administration is going to use that 'crisis' to come after your guns!"
Their membership fees are quite reasonable compared to the NRA, and more importantly each new member receives complimentary firearms inventory software ("a $99 value!" to people who have never heard of an Excel spreadsheet). Their legislative scores for the 110th Congress are not very generous. I suppose I can respect that, from one harsh grader to another! Unfortunately two of the mere six House members to receive an A+ (Bill Sali and Virgil Goode) were sent packing in November. Only David Vitter can claim a Senate A+…and Senator Call Girls probably won't be on the list after 2010.
But as a liberal "gun-grabber" the best part of the GOA website is the helpful "Just for Skeptics" section. It's peppered with anecdotal gems told from the perspective of average folk oppressed or otherwise grievously wronged by gun control legislation. My favorites are the plaintive "A Daughter's Regret: how a gun could have saved my parents' lives" (and a bulletproof helmet would have saved JFK's, and if the Queen had a dong she'd be the King) and the theologically tenuous "The Bible & Gun Control," debunking the myth that Jesus was a pacifist. Fans of formal logic will delight in the characterization of anti-gun arguments as an exercise in Straw Man-building in a piece entitled "Shouldn't We Repeal The Gun Laws… If It'll Save A Single Child?" by "Vin Suprynowicz" who is either a Estonia's most famous porn star or a pseudonym for a convicted spree killer.
John McCain received an F- from the GOA, which stacks up very poorly to Obama's mere F. I can only look on in awe and confusion at any pro-gun group that can so order the candidates and yet somehow spend a lot of time and energy talking about how the NRA are pussies. If McCain really merited an F- then maybe the talking heads are right – the GOP lost in November because it wasn't conservative enough! Maybe they'll right the ship for fans of the 2nd Amendment in 2012. They can get David Vitter to run; he'll be looking for something to do by then.