The National Shooting Sports Foundation revoked the Socialist Rifle Association’s membership on July 22, 2019. The NSSF is one of the leading trade associations for the firearms industry in America. Its mission is “To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.”
The NSSF is responsible for conducting industry research and provides grants to colleges for shooting sports. On Friday, July 19th, the Socialist Rifle Association became a member of the NSSF “with the intent of living up to the SRA’s goal of arming and training the working-class for self and community defense.”
The SRA noted the following:
While we understand the NSSF to be a fairly reactionary institution, our hope was to introduce the concept of left wing gun ownership and advocacy to the larger firearms community, especially through participation in events such as SHOT Show.
However, the SRA’s membership inside the NSSF was scuttled on Monday, July 22nd. The socialist organization received an email that their membership was revoked, and their 200 nonprofit membership dues were refunded.
A representative of the NSSF followed up with the socialist group claiming that the NSSF stands for “free market capitalism” and that having a socialist group under their fold would run counter to their “core values.”
The SRA Central Committee defended itself by claiming that “Gun control is a fundamental component of neo-liberal capitalism and its tendency to commodify, infantilize, and enslave working-class people.”
It added, “Socialism, on the other hand, is a philosophy concerned with emancipating working class people and allowing for their greatest development of individual will and expression. And the right to bear arms for self and community defense is a critical component of that mission.”
Although it is intriguing that an organization on the Left is in support of gun rights, the NSSF is within its rights to associate with whomever it pleases. Their recent decision, as controversial as it may appear, is justified. Despite socialism’s rosy appeal, it has a long track record of failure from countries such as the Soviet Union to present-day Venezuela.
One feature of these regimes has been the monopolization of force, where most citizens not attached to the governing apparatus are effectively disarmed. Even if socialists believe in firearms ownership, what happens when people dissent against their redistributionist schemes?
How will these people be handled? History shows that such desires for economic collectivization require a massive state to carry out those tasks. This is usually accompanied by the state holding strong control over firearms ownership.
To quell this dissent, the government steps in by using violent crackdowns and the eventual passage of gun control laws to keep future uprisings in check. The SRA may have noble intentions, but the long-term implications of the political system they push will ultimately undermine their pro-gun projects.
For that reason, the NSSF is justified in kicking the SRA out of its network.
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