ARFCOM and the Future of the Right to Keep & Bear Arms
By Joe DeBergalis (DirectAction)
Honeoye Falls, NY –(Ammoland.com)- I was honored when ARFCOM asked me to write a monthly column for it’s latest membership benefit. First of all, it’s a great chance for me as an NRA Board Member, to help keep AR15.com members and other readers of this article up to date on legislative issues and to take the pulse of grassroots gun owners.
Second, in many ways this site represents the future of gun ownership in America. As with many things in the gun world, it’s a blend of new and old technology. Besides letting us talk about the great guns we all enjoy, the ARFCOM uses the latest Web technology to keep members and visitors informed about the latest developments that affect our right to keep and bear arms—a new tool for a debate that goes back centuries. ARFCOM’s members dwarf the readership of some nationally circulated gun magazines and even the membership of some national gun owners’ organizations.
As most of our membership knows, the AR-15 platform was launched in the middle of the last century, but it’s been honed by civilian and government users into one of the most popular all-around rifles of this century. With more than 2 million AR’s sold in the U.S. from 1986 through 2009, I am proud to say it is likely to keep that title for the foreseeable future.
That’s especially true with the boost the platform is getting from thousands of young Americans coming out of military training and deployments with the M16 and M4. Like the dough boys of the last century who trained and fought with the 1903 Springfield and 1917 Enfield, today’s servicemen and women like what they see. That coupled with the popularity the civilian market has added proves that the system is here to stay.
Likewise, more and more police departments are adopting AR-15's and other “Patrol Rifle “ configurations, often to take the place of or as an addition too the venerable shotgun as the “long arm of the law” in the effort to keep our law enforcement officers and the people they serve – safe.
But while ownership of AR-15's and other guns is growing, there’s a dark cloud. While the federal gun ban that dubbed the AR-15 and other semi-autos as “assault weapons” is, thankfully, gone due to NRA’s political efforts, too many states still have their own restrictions in place. And at the federal level, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has promised that she’ll “pick the time and place” to push for a new ban.
Outright gun bans aren’t the only threat. While the Supreme Court protected our right to keep and bear arms in the 2008 Heller case and the McDonald case this summer, there’s a real risk that new anti-gun Supreme Court justices could try to reverse those decisions. In the meantime, initiatives to drive gun stores out of business through legislation, regulation, or litigation are never ending. Shooting ranges are constantly under attack. Restrictions on ammunition such as Micro-stamping or California’s outrageous new laws on ammunition record keeping and shipping are also on the move.
Fortunately, our side is fighting back. Since the best defense is a good offense, the NRA has taken the fight to the enemy by passing new pro-gun laws all over the country. From the end of anti-gun lawsuits to destroy the firearms industry to the removal of restrictions on places where you can legally carry a firearm for self-defense, gun owners have kept the momentum on our side. I’ll cover all of these issues and more in future months. But we can only continue our victories if you take action. And since information without action is just as useless as a rifle without ammunition, I’m going to end these columns with things you can do to take action. If you aren’t already an NRA member—join. If you are a member—renew, upgrade or sign up your friends. Whether you’re a member or not, sign up for NRA-ILA’s free e-mail alerts at www.nraila.org. And if you aren’t registered to vote, or need to help a friend sign up, go to www.triggerthevote.org to get started.
Joe DeBergalis is a big contributor at AR15.com, a great representative for gun owners everywhere, and a great personal friend. He's also a member of the NRA Board of Directors, Vice President of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, and Moderator of ARFCOM’s NRA Activism Forum. A longtime NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator, he was named “Volunteer of the Year” in 2005 by NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
AR15.Com originated in 1996 as a mailing list for firearm enthusiasts. As the years passed and interest grew, a website came into existence to present those same enthusiasts with a means to collect, share, and explore information. Shortly afterwards, a bulletin board was added to create a more interactive experience for the growing list of users. The site was still in it's infancy, but was growing in popularity. Visit: www.ar15.com