December 15, 2018

Yes to Gun Ownership. No to the NRA.

Joshua Greer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and gun owner

It might surprise you that this Canadian-born, gun-fearing ‘libertard’ became a proud gun-owning American.

It took me years before I ever considered bringing a gun into my home with my wife and two of my children. But now, I cannot imagine my house without guns. Besides feeling more secure, I have come to love the history, the engineering and the skill required to accurately fire these weapons.

I find most gun owners to be incredibly decent human beings, and respectful of the powerful and potentially deadly tools they use. But you’d never know this from listening to anti-gun coalitions, who castigate gun enthusiasts and ignore the existence of America’s responsible gun culture. This creates an “us versus them” mentality that pits gun owners against gun control activists — and with serious consequences.

The NRA understands these divisions and is masterful at exploiting them. The organization channels this reactionary and hysterical politics and uses it to fire up its base. And this is where I part company with many gun owners: I am not a member of the NRA.

I find its messaging disturbing, dangerous and un-American. It is the height of hypocrisy that it purports to defend American Constitutional liberties even as it attacks other democratic institutions, such as deriding the media or stoking fears about “big government.”

I really enjoy owning and using guns, but I am sick of seeing the endless cycle of a violent massacre followed by a failure to pass effective legislation. I would happily give up some of my Second Amendment rights — such as private ownership of semi-automatic rifles — if it meant fewer innocent people would be murdered.

It’s time to take a different strategy. Instead of demonizing gun owners, let’s enlist them in this battle for a safer country.