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Liberal Gun Club in the News Again

A 1200 person gun club probably wouldn’t be a big news item if it weren’t for the fact that the club were made up of gun-loving progressives who had a few bad things to say about the NRA. In that case, the press is all over it. I wrote about this group a few weeks ago, when The Blaze first did an article about them. I do think this group is serious and not a false-flag front for interests that are pushing for more gun control.

It’s a difficult issue, because I can understand how they might be turned off by the gun rights being branded politically as a right-of-center belief, and a lot of gun rights groups don’t really do a whole lot to try to dissuade people from that viewpoint, and a few actively use gun rights as a lever for other right-wing causes.

But it is a fact that NRA endorses far more Republicans than Democrats because far more Republicans are better on the gun issue. I still challenge the Liberal Gun Club to outline a viable political strategy for starting a pro-Second Amendment insurgency from within the Democratic Party, which is where they could be the most useful. If being part of the Liberal Gun Club means loving your guns, but continuing to vote for the very people that vote for gun control because they are a-okay on other issues, you’re just window dressing. More importantly, your window dressing for those very people who defile the Second Amendment, because you’re advertising that you love guns and are fine with their policies. Do you love your guns enough to vote your gun rights? That’s the question they should answer.

60 Responses to “Liberal Gun Club in the News Again”

  1. Brandon says:

    There’s real opportunity for outreach in the LGC.

  2. CarlosT says:

    I was a member for a while and hung around the forums but left both in disgust after getting repeatedly scolded for being “uncivil” when I made such comments as saying I thought requiring several hundred dollars worth of training to receive a carry permit was ridiculous.

    Whatever individual members say, the organization as a whole is just fine and dandy with “reasonable restrictions”. That’s why after I moved on from them I joined the SAF and eventually the NRA.

    • RP says:

      I think that’s probably LGC’s potential value. A liberal discovers guns, joins LGC, and hopefully progresses from there and realizes what a right is. That sounds like the progression you went through.

      It would be difficult for someone who has spent their whole life in a left-wing echo chamber to suddenly join The Evil Corporate Gun Lobby NRA and start voting Republican. The evolution from being an Occupy hippie to waving a Gadsden flag doesn’t happen overnight.

      I don’t know if a goodly number of people actually make that progression through LBC, but I hope so.

    • ErikO says:

      Wondered why I hadn’t seen you around for a while, you have been missed. :(

    • John says:

      I left because anarcho-communists like myself don’t fit in with authoritarian Democrats or with authoritarian Republicans. The apologism for imperialism and drone warfare got old.

  3. beatbox says:

    Spare me. I guess you can’t be a pro-choice republican either if you voted for Mitt. What is your plan? or I guess you can’t support Gay marriage because it is against the republican platform.

    I am a liberal gun owner…but I am not a single issue voter.

    • Sebastian says:

      You can be, but if you voted for Mitt Romney, and vote for Republican generally, then you don’t really care a whole lot about it, do you? I am nominally pro-choice, but I don’t vote abortion, because in the big picture it’s not one of my big issues. I’m not saying these guys can’t support gun rights, but at some point if it’s important enough to you to make a big deal out of it by creating your own organization, you have to vote it. That doesn’t necessarily have to mean voting for Republicans, but primary challenging some anti-gun Dems, or even some wishy washy Dems, would be a nice strategy.

      It’s kind of like if I started my own pro-choice organization, that lamented the left-wing politics of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, chiding them for supporting so many Democrats instead of Republicans, without acknowledging that maybe there’s a good reason those groups don’t support more right-wing Republicans.

      • RP says:

        primary challenging some anti-gun Dems, or even some wishy washy Dems, would be a nice strategy.

        Have they made any organized effort to help pro-gun dems over the antis? Even if they’re too small to influence primaries, getting the foundations of an insurgency in place would be great.

        They can gay marry each other, have abortions, and trash “rethuglicans” all day long, I don’t care.
        If I thought they were doing anything to advance gun rights I’d support them anyway. But if they do nothing but give the media fodder to bash the NRA with, they can piss off.

        And does that ABC news article seriously use “gun industry” and an exact synonym for “NRA”?

        • Sigivald says:

          And does that ABC news article seriously use “gun industry” and an exact synonym for “NRA”?

          Probably.

          People on The Other Side seem to really think that’s how it works.

          Perhaps because of absorbing so much anti-”corporate” propaganda, and because, well, so much on the left is top-down organization, not real-grass-roots.

          When all you know is getting your marching orders from Move On, that’s all you know how to see…

        • Sebastian says:

          I don’t think they were using it as a synonym, but I think the purpose was to show the gun industry would only back the NRA, because they are evil, and shit like that. It was ABC’s ignorance on parade, for sure. And as the previous commenter notes, they really do believe that. I thought it was just rhetoric until their communications among themselves because more out in the open.

      • beatbox says:

        Why is it incumbent on them to do so for your support? You should be like “Great. Glad to have them on board. We need reach deeper into progun progressive circles.” But it is not.

        I suspect it is because of their criticism of the NRA. I enjoy this blog because it doesn’t have the usual “obama socialist” rhetoric, but you almost slavish bristling whenever someone criticizes the NRA can sometimes cloud your vision.

        Again, I like this blog and your opinion. Just a little tough love.

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          I don’t think anyone here has a problem with criticism of the NRA. But we are going to ask you on what basis is your criticism founded, and what your criticism actually is. I would suspect most here have a bone to pick with the NRA on SOMETHING, but that we aren’t approaching it as a full scale attack and we aren’t jumping on them because they didn’t support universal background checks, AWBs, and magazine limits. So what is your beef with them? Mine would be that they are weak on the NFA.

          • HSR47 says:

            “Mine would be that they are weak on the NFA.”

            This and issues I have with the ILA (You’ve probably seen me going back and forth with Sebastian over some of this) are my big issues with the NRA.

            • Sebastian says:

              They are going state to state trying to liberalize suppressor laws, and now it would seem passing shall-sign provisions is on the nationwide agenda considering 41P. I would say that NRA does what it can with NFA stuff. It’s a difficult topic, and there has to be a larger constituency for it before it’s something that can be pushed at the federal level.

        • Sebastian says:

          They don’t have to support the NRA for me to support them, but they have to be about something more than not being NRA and being uncomfortable in a center-right coalition. There’s enough of that coming from NRA’s right.

          The reason I’m being a bit hard on them is that I believe a genuine center-left gun rights movement would be very beneficial, but in order for it to work they have to be willing to act on the issue politically, and that involves a lot more than just being gun owners who don’t like right-wingers and don’t like the NRA. I’m not certain they are serious about actually doing anything.

          • beatbox says:

            It’s nowhere near there yet. It is basically just a forum for pro gun people to talk.

            • Geodkyt says:

              If you’re not doing anything to protect 2nd Amendment rights, especially from already existing infringements, you’re not “pro-gun”.

              At best, you’re “people who like guns”.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’d also accept that maybe they aren’t quite to the point where they are ready to mount primary challenges, and are at this point working for hearts and minds within the center-left coalition on gun rights, and that’s the best place for them to be. I could buy that. But all I’ve seen from this group is “Ewww… icky right wingers,” rather than people who are looking to do what they can with what they’ve got.

  4. beatbox says:

    …and when the NRA, over the past 5 or 6 years, has sought to increase its membership by cozying up to the Tea Party and giving out gold plated rifles to Sarah Palin, what do you expect?

    • Sebastian says:

      Sarah Palin is a solid supporter of the Second Amendment. Regardless of what she might have done on other issues, she deserves NRA support from that perspective.

      • beatbox says:

        Sarah Palin was Governor of a very pro-gun state. As far as I know, she never took any political leadership or accomplished anything for our second amendment rights. Why was she “honored”?

        See what I am saying? Take Palin, the Reid issue, bat-shit crazy Ted Nugent in the leadership…and it all comes together in many peoples minds that the NRA has moved very right of center.

        • Sebastian says:

          She was a Vice Presidential candidate who was willing to be very outspoken on the issue. I don’t think anyone is paying much attention to her now. That AR-15 was given to her in 2009, which was only a year after she ran. As the first female GOP VP nominee, who looked like a rising political star (in 2009, at least until July), and was willing to be very outspoken about gun rights, the NRA would have been foolish not to try to cultivate that relationship.

          The closest NRA has gotten to someone like that on the Dem side was New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who was invited to speak at several NRA events, and did. But his political career is pretty much over at this point, and pro-gun Dems are an endangered species at this point.

  5. Sertorius says:

    I don’t understand these people’s (the LGC people in the article) disdain for the NRA.

    The NRA is really a one-issue group. Although, as a whole, NRA members are probably in favor of low taxes, the NRA doesn’t lobby anyone on taxes or abortion or school prayer or any other issue. I don’t see why a person who was a raving liberal on other issues wouldn’t happily join the NRA if they are pro-gun.

    • beatbox says:

      Let me help you out. I used to live in DC. Every action for gun rights in DC has happened despite of the NRA. Heller? They were against it. After Heller, with the draconian laws, the NRA had a chance to make them more reasonable by attaching a bill to one giving DC voting representation in the house. In a sop to anti-statehood Repupicans, they supported a poison pill bill that was guaranteed never to pass.

      The laws only got better after Emily Miller started reporting on them.

      And then there was the abandonment of Harry Reid…risking a Schumer led Senate. Again, this was obviously a move to align further with the Tea Party.

      I mentioned their love-affair with Sarah Palin..and the fact that they don’t support nearly as many Dems as they used to.

      The NRA SAYS it is a one-issue party, but they don’t act like it.

      • Sebastian says:

        NRA was against Heller because before there was a change on the Court, it would have lost 4-5 instead of winning 5-4. There was good reason to believe O’Conner was a “no” vote on the Second Amendment.

        The abandonment of Harry Reid was a mistake. I believe NRA knew it was a mistake. The reason Harry lost his endorsement is because NRA’s membership would have eaten them alive if they had, so they decided to grade the votes on court nominees and used that as the pretext to pull the endorsement. Harry Reid hasn’t been very friendly to the issue since. I think it was a horrible mistake, but it was a horrible mistake by members who were riled up by people on the right about the possibility of an endorsement. Ultimately, NRA is a membership-driven organization.

        They don’t support Dems like they used to because all the Dems that supported them were voted out in the 2010 wave election. Everything we’ve been dealing with since then is a consequence of losing those blue dogs. Maybe a lot of members think it was worth it because of other issues, like Obamacare or what have you, and I might even agree in some measure. But there were going to be consequences to having that many endorsed Democrats swept from office.

        • beatbox says:

          Okay, so you are proving part of my point. The NRA flip flopped and abandoned Harry Reid to placate its far right membership base instead of doing the politically right thing to move 2A rights forward.

          Why would a self-identified liberal want to be a part of this organization?

          • Sebastian says:

            The point about Reid is a fair one, and I’d love to have an organization of 5,000,000 people who understood politics very deeply, and understood why NRA shouldn’t give a crap about issue X and Y as long as candidate Z is good on gun rights. But an organization of that many rational people is asking for a lot, and to NRA’s credit, I’ve not noticed too many cases of their grades and endorsements being right-politicized to the degree that other groups are guilty of it.

            It’s a fair point, but I do think on balance that if it weren’t for the NRA, there would be no gun rights for anyone, left, center, right or libertarian to celebrate. Even the modern court battles are being won with scholarship that NRA largely funded.

            • beatbox says:

              …and Nugent, let’s not forget Ted Nugent.

              • Sebastian says:

                Yeah, I’d prefer members stop voting for him too, but I don’t share quite as much revulsion for him as many of the left because I don’t expect rock performers to be even slightly sane.

                • Joe says:

                  Glad to say I didn’t vote for Nugent last year, I mean honestly if you look at him from a purely qualification-based standpoint, what has he really done for 2A rights? I don’t really care how many records you sold or how much of a public face you have, I rather put someone who has legitimate accomplishments on the board.

                  • Sebastian says:

                    I’ve heard Ted Nugent rallying grassroots into action, and he’s actually very good at motivating people. I would not argue he’s not done good work for the issue. What I would argue is that the baggage he comes with makes the proposition unattractive for me.

              • HappyWarrior6 says:

                Agree with you there. I have had some problems with the Cam and Co. radio show and some of the other issues they get into that are not gun related, too. I understand when Sebastian says that he needs to cover issues for the good of more airtime. But there’s a point where I could turn him off and listen to Sean Hannity and it would be exactly the same.

                Problem is some issues do beget other issues. When we talk of the militarization of police, liberty, etc. and the only person actually talking about these issues is Rand Paul, you’re probably going to cover and tend toward covering the politics of Rand Paul.

                • Sebastian says:

                  I should probably disclaim that Bitter and I know Cam personally, so I’m biased to want to see his show continue. I do think he is a very good spokesperson for the issue, even objectively, and his show on Sportman’s Channel seems to be getting some real penetration. Even my Dad knows who Cam is at this point. And to be honest, I’d like NRA to have more public faces than just Wayne LaPierre and Ted Nugent.

                  One could always raise the question of whether NRA ought to be sponsoring conservative talk radio, and I certainly think that’s a legitimate question to ask. But there is the issue that NRA has limited channels by which to get its message out there. Granted those channels have grown greatly in the past decade, but in order to have a large base of members, which translates into political power, it has to be able to reach those people. So I give NRA some leeway to be a little center-right, because that’s where the members are, but I still expect them to treat friendly Democrats fairly. That’s hard these days, because there are precious few friendly Dems left at the federal level.

            • alcade says:

              How is the point about Reid fair? Approving a supreme court nominee who is hostile to the second amendment is far more dangerous than I think either if you are giving credit. Kagan and Sotomayor will serve life terms with no possibility of an election and their decisions will be used as court precedent for centuries to come. I think grading based on their nominations was very wise.

              • Sebastian says:

                Nominations are perceived differently than votes on legislation, especially when both sides know there’s not really much hope for a positive outcome. I completely agree with you that it’s important, but generally speaking, the way to stop bad nominations is not to vote for a guy who will make them. The President has the upper hand in that area, and Senators know that… and thus tends to get a bit peeved when that’s made to count against them.

                I agree it ought to be counted, but I’m not sure it was worth pulling Reid’s endorsement over it. For a Majority Leader to stand against his President’s nominee on ideological grounds would have been unprecedented. It would have been asking someone to get up at a company-wide meeting where the CEO is speaking and moon him.

        • tincankilla says:

          i’ve actually spoken to Heller the man about the NRA. he’s about as outspoken an advocate on the 2A as we have and, while wearing an NRA hat, he gave the impression to me that the NRA pursues its own agenda.

          • HSR47 says:

            “…he gave the impression to me that the NRA pursues its own agenda.”

            From what I have seen and heard, this largely seems to be correct.

  6. beatbox says:

    At the end of the day, the LGC is like the “Gungeon” on the Democratic Underground. The same discussions and outrage over infringement on our 2A rights as any other gun blog, but without the “Send Obama back to Kenya” language. Give it a try. It’s refreshing.

  7. dave says:

    beatbox is a concern troll. he should at least learn to change his screen name between targets

    • beatbox says:

      Nope

    • Sebastian says:

      No… he’s a pretty regular reader and commenter here. I don’t believe he is a concern troll. He’s among the liberal gun owners I meant to engage with this post, so I’m not surprised or offended that he’s being hard on what I said here, and he makes some valid points.

      I’m sympathetic to the argument that NRA branding is a problem for liberal gun owners, but ultimately I’d like to understand what their political philosophy is in regards to how to promote the RKBA from within the center-left part of the political spectrum. I get that they might be small now, and lack the capacity to be much more than a forum, but I think one should be open about that and open for a discussion.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        Agree. I can say the same of other communities I’m involved in (pro-life for instance) that can span the political spectrum. This is where the new boundaries are, and they don’t cut as easily between D and R party lines. They are more cultural or even cross-cultural in some cases.

      • Beatbix says:

        Thanks. To xlose out my comments on the, I think you are giving the ltc too much credit. Despite what the press may want to play up, it is pretty much an online forum. It is not really and advocacy group ad it is a bunch of liberals who like guns. I like your “hearts and minds” comments. That is their value

      • beatbox says:

        And if the NRA is looking for pro-gun dems to honor. Look at the state level. Brandon Phelps was instrumental in getting a (mostly) quality shall-issue bill passed.

        • Sebastian says:

          Phelps was graded A+ and endorsed in the 2012 election.

        • Bitter says:

          I totally agree with you on Brandon Phelps deserving some more recognition. But, I think you also have to recognize that as just one state rep, he’s not exactly high on the totem pole of recognizable names or even someone of interest to many people. That said, I think there would be some great places for someone like him at Annual Meetings nearby. He’s not going to be a headliner, but getting him out to, say, do a talk during the Grassroots session on reaching ways to promote the gun issue in Democratic circles or even just giving one of the shorter speeches at the Leadership Forum would be reasonable. (All of this assumes he would be up for it.)

          Do also remember that another Democrat is actually on the NRA board ballot this year – former Rep. Dan Boren. I know I voted for him, and he is an incumbent, so the membership has supported him in the past.

      • dave says:

        My apologies. I was confused with a commenter polluting the threads on Volkh Conspiracy. I knew should have been more careful.

    • RP says:

      I think people like beatbox should ask themselves: What am I doing to help?

      Voting for anti-gun politicians doesn’t help. Publicly bashing the NRA doesn’t help.
      I guess you could be donating large sums to the SAF/state-level orgs and teaching boy scouts how to shoot. But I bet you’re not.

      • Beatbox says:

        I vote against the anti gun pols when I can. At other times I’ve held my nose and voted for an anti knowing that you right wingers (since we are throwing around labels) will keep them in check.

      • John says:

        I took an anti-gun politician to the range and demonstrated the very guns that DiFi wants to ban, and let her shoot them, and now I don’t see nearly so many pushes from this particular politician to ban guns. I made a tangible effort to change a mind by engaging in a civil manner. It’s not putting a “Molon Labe” bumper sticker on my SUV, but I think it helped.

        • Geodkyt says:

          And I agree that is a more effective effort than merely putting a sticker on your car (says the man with a “Guns Save Lives” VCDL sticker on his car. . . but that’s not the end of my efforts)

          Definate thumbs up.

          Also, an example of something that someone who is known as being left-of-center to the politician in question would have an easier time doing than someone who is known in political circles as frequently thinking Rush Limbaugh is a tad moderate. (Just a little advice for anyome who is more comfortable with the DNC generally than the RNC, but wants to work for gun rights.)

  8. Here’s my issue with “gun people” who don’t vote the issue.

    The antigun people want to put you in prison. They are actively doing so in many states already.

    To top things off, the warrant will be served with a SWAT team who will have a high probability of shooting your dog and potentially hurting you or your family.

    How many gays have the Governors of GOP states sicced the state police on?

    How many women who have gotten abortions have been arrested by SWAT teams and thrown in prison?

    I have ideological sympathy for many of the left’s social issues, as I have a libertarianish bent anyways. But despite the much-ballyhooed media storm about the “war on women” or the “war on sodomy,” I don’t see SWAT teams kicking in doors and shooting dogs over man-on-man anal sex, even in deep red states.

    I fail to understand why gunowners would support politicians who are actively putting people like them in prison. The only parallel I can see with a similar level of state-on-citizen violence is the War on Drugs.

    • Oh, and pileon:

      Firearms. We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements—like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole—so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.

      That’s the official Democratic party platform.

      The AWB went down hard in the Senate. It was the most extreme of what the gun grabbers put forwrad, and frankly even their less extreme bullshit was unacceptable. The Dem party platform thinks that reasonable common sense gun control STARTS with an AWB.

      If you vote for a Democrat who doesn’t have proven credentials bucking the party line on this issue, and you claim that being pro-2A is important to you, you’re a lunatic.

      • Sebastian says:

        Or other issues are just more important to you, and that’s fine, but in that case you’re not really helping any from a gun perspective. You are not part of the gun vote in any meaningful way. As I said, it’s just window dressing.

        • Its hard to enjoy consensual homosexual sex with a partner of your choice while smoking a doobie after having an abortion and getting/paying for social welfare programs if you’re in prison for loaning a shotgun to your hunting buddy, or owning a rifle with a shoulder thing that goes up.

          It was one thing when the Dems laid low on the gun issue. But the last year or two has proven that they WILL put you in jail over this. It is hard to think of any issue that is higher priority if guns are truly important to you.

      • Windy Wilson says:

        For them to utter the words, “Gun Show Loophole” is a poker tell the size of the moon that this is just another false-flag operation and it’s all window dressing. They’re attempting to siphon off whatever number they can who have ANY beef at all with the NRA.
        This could have been a play out of CHEKA head Dzerzhinsky’s playbook forming “The Trust”, the “anti-communist” group in Paris that purported to coordinate the various anti-communist groups fund raising and spy missions while actually suborning them (it got Sidney Reilly in iirc 1925).

  9. Mr Evilwrench says:

    Ok, great, we have some leftards that sort of agree with us on one thing, but they’re still going to be voting for the communists, who correlate very strongly with the traitors that oppose the 2nd, and they can’t as a group seem to get over their NRA cooties. I haven’t joined “conservative” gun groups, just gun groups. I’m more the libertarian type, pretty socially liberal, but hard right fiscally, because while the social issues kind of take care of themselves, I can’t bide people taking more of what’s mine than they already do and telling me what to do with what’s left. When I vote that issue, the gun issue tends very much to follow. If the issue’s important enough to them, they’ll vote it, but that will mean they’re voting conservative. You like guns? Fine. Get back to me when the rest of your politics aren’t fubar.

  10. jake says:

    Sebastian, if I haven’t said it before, you are a great writer! To prove this point (this time), all I would need to do is just put your entire post in quotations. Doing so would be silly, so I won’t (this time). Thank you for your great blog!

  11. dustydog says:

    A liberal local gun club is a horrible place. All the petty desire for control and bureaucracy blooms into arbitrary enforcement of arbitrary rules, double standards. The only solution is to get a friend to join and trick him into running for office.

    The range is only open at times convenient to the board. Board members can schedule special uses of the range, so general members can’t shoot after work or weekends. No holsters (except some people have holsters, and shut up that’s why). No shotguns under 22 inches on the shotgun range. No lead shot for new members (except old members grandfathered in to continue using lead). Range is closed today because someone was waiting at the range for 8 o’clock, and somebody else called the police because gun. Range is closed today because somebody asked an old man to hurry up with his targets so the range could go hot, and because gun. Range is closed today because a member forgot the gate combination and cut the lock off to use the range, and of course, police. Range is closed today because the club president got a lot of strange hang-up phone calls from an unlisted number last night, because better safe than sorry, and because gun.

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