Imagine if you will, a small gun club in upstate New York, over 100 years old, quick to cow to government decree and comfortable censoring its own members and anyone else who disagrees.
Wait, an American gun club, super-submissive to questionable governmental edicts, embracing the muzzling of speech and censoring its members? I thought the general position of the “gun culture” was anti-government, anti-edict, and general apprehension of authority?
The leadership at this Binghamton rifle club apparently needs a reminder from Thomas Jefferson who told us that, “Government is best which governs the least because its people discipline themselves.”
Apparently not so here. I am an eighteen-year member and I questioned the decision that closed the club to all activity due to the Corona virus outbreak. While I understood and supported suspending activities that congregated people in close groups, my point was that individuals could safely use the facility while practicing appropriate social distancing.
The club has 24/7 access and I posited that surely 3-5 members could occupy a 12-lane shooting range in 3,000 square feet of space while keeping distancing protocols. I reasoned that members could decide for themselves the risks, just as they do at the grocery store, pharmacy or hardware store. President Trump later reinforced this by specifically adding shooting ranges to the list of critical pandemic infrastructure that should remain open.
At first, I lobbied club leadership privately via email to re-open the club. When my concerns went unresolved, I reasoned that perhaps other club members felt as I did. To find out, I posted my correspondence with leadership on the club’s Facebook page in the effort to engage the 600 plus members and get their feedback. The club quickly took down my posts.
Flabbergasted, I posted a picture of the club with the words “Frozen by Fear” photo shopped onto the building. The club took down the photo and blocked me from posting to my own club’s Facebook page. Then a friend of mine posted an inquiry asking what happened to my posts and he too was blocked.
Rod Serling, the creator of the popular 1960’s Twilight Zone TV series was born in Binghamton. What a coincident that the story of our rifle club now feels like a twilight zone episode. Who would have thought that a 105 year-old rifle club could morph itself into a warped mentality that believes censorship and compliance with extra-Constitutional edicts is the right way to lead?
I wonderhow many other gun clubs and organizations traditionally thought of as “conservative” are likewise losing their way? Might the Coronavirus epidemic be providing a beta testing laboratory [or just “an opportunity”] for those in positions of power to see just how far the American people can be pushed?
Conservative Americans, especially those of us focused on the Second Amendment, should maintain a healthy skepticism towards government. Voltaire made this point when he said, “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”
Hopefully, my gun club is not a canary in the coal mine for the trajectory of political philosophy in our nation. We must assert ourselves as citizens, not subjects, and heed Thomas Jefferson, who said “A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take all that you have.”
—Bob Kingsley is a private investigator and writer from New York. He is a Life Member of the NRA, a certified handgun instructor and an educator for the program, “Refuse to be a Victim.” He blogs at BobKingsley.com.