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
Sporting Rifle Association of America
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:
- Where is your organization incorporated?
- Are you filed or do you plan to file with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) or (c)(3) non-profit?
- Who are on your Board of Directors?
- What’s your corporate mailing address?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.