By John Brown
I have had the distinct honor, and pleasure, of serving as the President of the NFATCA for over a year now. I have met and advised a lot of NFA owners on the importance of our efforts. Most, unfortunately, don’t feel the “squeeze” or pressure that anything is on the horizon that may threaten the ownership of NFA weapons; let alone the significant financial investment that they have made in the single gun they own or the collections they have accumulated. It is a familiar wind that blows with the reign of a Republican Congress.
During the last year, recruiting efforts have been launched on many fronts; from the halls of the SHOT Show and the SAR show to the firing line at Knob Creek. Yet, still today, I get the same old feeling that I am bothering a fellow NFA owner when I speak of the importance of the NFATCA. It always seems strange to me that when a person’s livelihood is at stake, let alone another person’s life savings, they don’t feel the need to join up and make a difference. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s just there doesn’t seem to be any pressure to help out. I often get the response of, “You guys go knock yourselves out, and when I see you are making a difference, I’ll join.” As incredible as it sounds, many of us don’t ever react, unless there is a threat to us on a personal level. And so goes the recruiting effort, not just for the NFATCA, but for every gun organization in the country. We are feeling pretty “fat and happy” and don’t feel like we need to get out of our seat and get involved – on any level. There seems to be nothing looming on the horizon that we need to worry about. Well, some pretty serious elections are just around the corner.
With elections at all levels on the horizon, the NFATCA is not sleeping at the wheel. We have developed for the first time a true representation at ATF and are working in a collaborative effort to institute change in the government. Best of all, despite the general lethargy in the NFA community, we are making a huge move forward with the experience and expertise with not nearly enough resources.
What amazes me the most is the fact that few NFA owners understand what a few lost seats in Congress can do to the entire NFA infrastructure. It is so hard for me to understand why we can’t move as a community together in protecting our second amendment rights and the rights of every gun control bill that we live by. I find it difficult to believe that many of you who would never talk about your collections or even use the words “machine gun” or “silencer” in an open conversation, don’t care more about protecting yourselves from further regulation. There is no single organization anywhere in the United States that is working as hard as the NFATCA to protect all NFA rights. I am astonished that I still hear, “Oh, that’s just an elite group of guys forming a club,” or “What has the NFATCA done for me lately?” Shocked and surprised, the board still presses forward – depending on the membership to drive home the points on why we need the NFATCA. I can now laugh about the “elite bunch of guys” comments because the NFATCA has managed to gather the top industry experts in every field on NFA issues. If that is what you want to call an elite group then I guess I would have to say we are darn lucky to have people of this stature as founders of our organization.
Once again our motto “Power through experience” rings loudly through the community.
This time last year no one called my office and asked about the NFATCA. This week I have fielded 8 calls alone on various NFA issues and it’s only Tuesday. Today, a massive number of collectors, manufacturers, and dealers are coming together with the NFATCA because they see and feel the connection and can see the results. I have spoken to large manufacturers of NFA weapons to a concerned Class 2 manufacturer that is worried he took the wrong route in getting a approval for a design. When it came time for help the call came to the NFATCA, and we are all over the issue in question. We will get the results and carve another notch in our list of accomplishments.
But, I remind you, we are in a mostly gun friendly Congress and being lethargic about supporting an organization like the NFATCA is not an option. We must all join together and represent ourselves as a rock solid community that is making a distinct difference in NFA ownership. Sit on your laurels later, but today bring us your strength, your ideas, and most importantly your experience. Join the NFATCA today, not after the next election.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V9N11 (August 2006)