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New Group of Charlatans?

A few weeks ago we highlighted the American Rifle and Pistol Association, touting itself as an alternative to the NRA, but with leadership that seemed to have some sympathies toward gun control. A reader tipped me off to a new group called the Sporting Rifle Association of America, also touting itself as a “The Sensible, Modern Alternative to the NRA,” which raises alarm bells straight away. Also raising alarm bells? The site has a private registration, and is hosted off HostGator. Nowhere can you find a mailing address for this “company.” Even ARPA was pretty open about who its leadership were.

I’m not sure this is a false flag group, in the mold of American Hunters and Shooters Association. I think this may very well be an outright scam; an attempt to gather up credit card information. I’d never give out information to a site not really willing to identify itself. To be honest, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often in this issue. I think the first place I’d start, if I were any of those gun companies who’s logos were presumably jacked, would be to contact the ISPs, unmask them, and send a cease and desist in regards to use of their logos. Actually, just contacting the ISPs may be sufficient to get them to do a takedown.

UPDATE: Seems they’ve taken down the gun company logos, set up a secure web site. I still wouldn’t give money to people who aren’t up front about who they are. I’d note they only have “Domain Control Validated” certification from GoDaddy. They don’t appear to have obtained any kind of extensive organizational validation, only demonstrated control the domain. I have gone through organization verification for an SSL cert before, and it’s fairly thorough. Not something you could set up in a few hours. Domain control, however, is easy.

UPDATE: Clicks from this site are being redirected to a placeholder page. I’d note this is very strange behavior.

UPDATE: I have received an e-mail from this group:

Hello there —

We noticed your recent blog post regarding our group. We would love to
talk to you and help clear up some of the questions and issues you may
have.

Thanks.


Sporting Rifle Association of America
http://www.SRAAHQ.com

If we’re going to deal with these folks, we’re going to deal with it out in the open. Clearly they are paying attention, so before I have any dialog, I want an answer to the following questions:

  1. Where is your organization incorporated?
  2. Are you filed or do you plan to file with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) or (c)(3) non-profit?
  3. Who are on your Board of Directors?
  4. What’s your corporate mailing address?
  5. You were using gun company logos. Are the companies you listed sponsoring you? Did you have permission to use those logos to promote your business or non-profit?
  6. Who processes your credit card transactions? And why were you accepting transactions over an unsecured link prior to other groups on Facebook pointing out that your page wasn’t secured?
  7. Why even in this e-mail are you not identifying yourselves? Who am I speaking with? What is your title?

You want to clear this up? Answer here. I’ll be happy to post the answers. Then maybe we can get to the bottom of what they may be actually doing that makes them a viable alternative to NRA.

41 Responses to “New Group of Charlatans?”

  1. Thirdpower says:

    ARPA’s exponential growth has also ended, along w/ the majority of posts and comments on their FB page. Their ‘Web 3.0′ media page is still under construction as I suspect it always will be.

  2. KevinC says:

    On their “About” page, they have this under Self-Defense.

    The Right To Defend Your Family.
    It is your responsibility to stand up and defend your family from harms way. We stand behind and support all of our members in their right to conceal carry and to defend their family.

    And the background image to that section? A man holding a Joe-Biden-approved double-barreld shotgun.

    Whoops.

    Also, there is this image on the homepage, which seems to suggest a large number of gun manufacturers are on-board with what they do.

    Somehow I doubt said gun builders are aware of this fact…

    • Sebastian says:

      Yeah, I noticed that too. I think that’s probably the key to kicking this thing over and see what slithers out of it.

      • KevinC says:

        And I’m pretty sure that photo of the old white (naturally) guy in their “Who Are Our Members?” section is actually actor Richard Farnsworth…

    • Zermoid says:

      That link comes up with a 404 Error, page not found…..

  3. Brad says:

    Sebastian

    Edit required.

    First link just redirects back to this post, not the post about ARPA.

  4. KevinC says:

    Yeah, there’s a Smell Test Failure going on here for sure. The kicker for me was at the bottom,

    “We like to sum up the SRAA and it’s members viewpoint in two words, ‘Family First’. ”

    Or to put that another way,

    “Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?”

  5. Motor-T says:

    Seriously, WTF does this mean? Why on earth would I join any organization that doesn’t have a mission statement?
    This website couldn’t be any less informative if it was blank.

    “NRA, We Love You. But…
    …the times we live in are changing quickly. The SRAA and it’s members keep an open-mind on the topics of today.

    We must be open to new ideas while at the same time, standing firm with our core beliefs and principals.

    It is okay for new voices to be heard and new ideas brought to the table.”

    • Sebastian says:

      Your credit card number is a new idea!

    • Motor-T says:

      By “this website” I, of course, mean the SRAA website. SNBQ is quite informative.

    • Zermoid says:

      Last I checked The Constitution was still The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights was still The Bill of Rights.

      Doesn’t seem like anything has changed to me……

    • comatus says:

      Wait. You’re telling me they can’t even spell “principles”?

      In that case, I have a new idea to bring to their table.

  6. ChrisJ says:

    At least on my end, it looks like the SRAA page is already toast. It’s been replaced by the usual seedy looking cheap airline tickets, migraine pain relief, and designer apparel page.

  7. Thirdpower says:

    They’re threatening to lawyer up:

    NOTICE:
    The SRAA has recently received a large increase in new visitors. While you are free to disagree with our message and site, you are not free to make slanderous and defamatory comments about us or our members. We have sought legal council and are aggressively and actively pursuing such individuals and groups that make such statements and will hold them liable for damages. If you have seen somebody making slanderous and defamatory comments about our group, either in person or on social media websites, please report them to legal@sraahq.com.

    • Andy B. says:

      It seems to me that if they haven’t done much to identify themselves or to offer proof of their bona fides, they can hardly charge anyone with slander, for what necessarily has to be speculation, including negative speculation.

      I really don’t think any of these outfits are worth worrying about — I think anything that pitches itself as a “sensible alternative” to anything at all, has to ping most people’s bullshit detectors — but I would seriously doubt they have the chops to want to get into baseless slander/libel litigation as their first political action out of the box.

    • Kirk Parker says:

      We have sought legal council

      Should have sought spell-check first.

    • Jay says:

      Someone call Popehat…censorious thuggery alert.

    • comatus says:

      They can’t spell “counsel,” either.

  8. mina says:

    I am a web developer. have you looked at their web site? someone explain to me how a BRAND-NEW, supposedly GRASS ROOTS organization can afford a site like that! I’d say minimum dollars estimated at least $25K AT LEAST $25K

    Someone big is funding them.

    • mike says:

      This comment doesn’t speak much for your skills or experience. The site looked like a cookie-cutter template thrown together in a few hours, with some pictures and copy thrown in. $25k? Hardly. Maybe one or two guys, a six pack, and some pizza.

  9. Peter O says:

    The AR-15 logo in the Name is a little reassuring, but as third power pointed out, they seem to have gone all lawyer-up.
    Their Latest news is RSS feeds from TTAG, GunWire, Gunnews.com

    If you want to even SEE the store, you have to join.

    This line from their ‘about’ page, on Responsible Gun Ownership is giving me suspicions:
    It is your right to gun ownership, but we must always practice it responsibly. The SRAA advocates for responsible ownership.

    Owning a firearm comes with great responsibility. Our biggest fear is that sometimes that gets forgot and guns are handled carelessly. We must always remember the power that every firearm possess and ensure that our firearms do not fall into the hands of untrained people, children, and criminals.

    • Andy B. says:

      Might we also speculate that a “Sporting Rifle Association” advocates only such rifles as are suitable for a Sporting Purpose?

  10. KevinC says:

    The greatest trick that the Sporting Rifle Association of America ever pulled was convincing the world they never existed.

    And just like that *poof* they were gone.

  11. The latest message on their page includes this line, “We are just regular people like you that tried to sell some cheap ammo.”

    If they were using Paypal to sell ammo, you’ve just done a huge favor for SRAA/ARAA. They could have lost a ton of money as a result of Paypal’s anti-gun policies.

  12. Bitter says:

    It does appear that they have announced they are closing up shop and offering refunds according to one posting that appeared on their website this evening. They claim that they are people just like us. I’m a tad insulted by that claim since I actually understand basic grammar rules.

    • Brad says:

      Running off and closing shop? After just some unwanted attention? Really?

      Refunds? Okay then, who are they? How does a ‘member’ contact them for refunds?

      I’m very very skeptical. From start to finish their behavior has been secretive and suspicious. I think the early skeptics, who thought this was nothing but some kind of phishing con designed to scam money or id from suckers, were probably right.

  13. ern says:

    Their snarky response about “rumors” at the end just makes me think the whole thing was a scam of one sort or another. As for refunds–so they say. But it’s not as if they’ve earned a lot of trust at this point, so who knows.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      Refunds for what? “Membership” in their secret organization, or the ammo sales?

  14. Patrick says:

    A lot of snake oil being sold these days. While “The Community” can fisk these apart (thanks again PAGunBlog), the simple truth is that if you can snag a return on a Google search then you will be rewarded by those who don’t know where to go to ask questions and check reputations.

    A lot of people are getting guns because they think they have to do it now or never (thanks Obama!), but their understandable naivete creates all kinds of risk for them. So I think seeing responsible blogs like this shut down yet another questionable organization is a good thing.

    I say “questionable” because we still don’t know who or what this was. I know of one or two legit outfits that are banding together to buy ammo for competition and personal use. People are doing it. But if you want to be seen as legit, you need to be upfront about who you are and what you intend to do. Hell, the guy who started one of the private ammo gigs I am aware of actually uses his real name in his domain name!

    • Whetherman says:

      “you will be rewarded by those who don’t know where to go to ask questions and check reputations.”

      That seems to be equally true for some gun rights organizations that have been in existence for some time.

  15. Rob Crawford says:

    Soo…. they were trying to make a buck off the ammo shortage by attacking the NRA…

    A few crackers short of a box, I think.

  16. Jim says:

    Well, they sure didn’t last very long. They are already out of the game. This is now up on their site:


    Message From The SRAA
    The Sporting Rifle Association of America was started by a group of guys that were tired of seeing ammo being hoarded up by people that only purchased it with the intentions to re-sell it to our fellow firearm owners at inflated prices.

    We tried to help rectify the problem by offering lower priced ammo and in return, our members paid a small membership to help cover the cost of getting the ammo. While trying to sell low priced ammo, we thought we could take advantage of the opportunity to help promote the 2nd amendment.

    We used an ill-advised slogan regarding the NRA and we regret that. We are human too. Our intentions were only to help our fellow firearm owners, however, the people have spoken.

    We regret to inform our members that the SRAA is closed. All members will be refunded this week.

    We did get a kick out of some of the wild rumors circulating the internet…

    – President Obama is not behind the SRAA.
    – Mayor Bloomberg is not behind the SRAA.
    – Anti-Gun groups are not behind the SRAA.
    – NOBODY is funding it other than the members.
    – The SRAA is not a phishing scam. All members were charged only for what they subscribed to and ordered.
    – Card #’s were not “packaged and sold” to illegal people.
    – The SRAA is not some sort of government “false flag”.

    We are just regular people like you and tried to sell some cheap ammo.

    Any questions can be sent to contact@sraahq.com

    We truly appreciate the support we have received from our members.

    Thank you.

    SRAA”

    If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

  17. Thirdpower says:

    Their FB page is gone as well.

  18. brobrandonb says:

    Am I the only one who saw their name and thought they should add another “A”, become the “American Sporting Rifle Association of America” and bring on Patches O’Houlihan as their sponsor?

    Legitimacy!

    (maybe I’m just sleep deprived – forgive me)

  19. Shootin' Buddy says:

    This was a false start from Soros, right?

  20. tincankilla says:

    First they are an ambiguous policy group, then an ammo discounter? The first is chasing money from pro-2A (and even anti-2A!) supporters, then chasing money from reselling ammo.

    honestly, these seem like simple run-of-the-mill money grubbers that populate the gun community by stoking fear while selling something.

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