Letter: Gun club should drop NRA requirement | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Gun club should drop NRA requirement

I’ve spent a couple of days trying to understand Paul Smith’s Letter to the Editor wherein he stated, “City Councilman Jonathan Godes incorrectly labeled the National Rifle Association as a ‘political organization’ during his interview for a Glenwood Post article on the Glenwood Springs Gun Club.”

I think what Paul thought Jonathan was saying was that the NRA is a political party. Paul went on to state, “Mr. Godes would have the reader believe that the NRA equates to the Republican Party.” Nowhere in the article did Jonathan say anything partisan.

The issue that Jonathan brought forward is not about the NRA but about the city of Glenwood Springs allowing a private entity (the gun club) to lease city-owned land wherein that entity then requires people to be a member of a political organization in order to be a member of the club. That would be the same discriminatory policy as if the gun club disallowed NRA members from being members of the club. It’s just not right that the city can effectively tell us that we have to be members of the NRA to be members of the club: in fact, it’s unconstitutional because it’s discriminatory.

Also, to say that NRA membership is required in order to get insurance is erroneous because the NRA makes no requirement in its insurance policy that the gun club require an NRA membership for the gun club members or potential users of the gun range. That requirement is 100 percent imposed by our “local” gun club. I put “local” in parentheses because their mailing address of record with the Secretary of State is Silt. Additionally, there are at least a half-dozen insurance companies that insure gun ranges that are not the NRA, as a 30-second Google search will show.

To be clear, the NRA is indeed a political organization the mission of which is to influence gun policy in the United States. They have every right to do so, because that’s how politics works in America. They are not controlled by the Republican Party, but, according to the Pew Research Center, “Roughly three-quarters (77 percent) of gun owners who say they belong to the NRA are Republicans or lean Republican, while only 20 percent are Democrats or lean Democratic.” Additionally,  in the 2016 election, the NRA’s Political Action Committee (PAC), called the Political Victory Fund, donated $1,071,000 to Republican candidates and $10,500 to Democratic candidates.

I hope the point will be taken that the city of Glenwood Springs needs to make the gun club remove the NRA membership requirement to make it fair for all citizens to be members of the club without supporting the powerful NRA political lobby — whether they support it or not.

Steve Barbee

Glenwood Springs

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