As a radical my interest in politics is probably far lower than most people involved in the gun rights community. But I’m a sucker for stories of political corruption. Like a fine mystery novel, stories of political corruption can keep me turning pages into the wee hours of the night. Although I’m not as integrated in the local gun rights movement as others I still keep my ear to the ground and have friends who are. That’s why I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about a new gun rights organization here in Minnesota calling itself Minnesota Gun Rights (MGR).
The organization came to my attention only recently. A few people, after expressing displeasure with the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA), have been pointed towards MGR. MGR describes itself as a no compromise gun rights organization. While I have had my disagreements with the tactics of GOCRA in the past, the organization has a long track record of getting things done in regards to gun rights and consists of some damned good people. Unlike GOCRA, MGR has no track record to speak of but their site is pretty boastful (without providing specifics).
Thankfully we have the Internet so it’s easier than ever to research a new organization. My search for information on MGR lead me to a series of posts on Shot in the Dark, a website operated by local gun rights activist Mitch Berg. The series starts with this post, which covers the organization know as Iowa Gun Owners (IGO). Post two is where the story became interesting. It seems that IGO was responsible for sinking an Iowa billion that would have allowed veterans who suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome (a medical condition that can prohibit you from legally owning a firearm) to get their gun rights restored. In its zeal IGO reintroduced some additional pro-gun legislation as an amendment to the above mentioned bill. This additional legislation effectively killed the bill. It also appears that the people in charge of IGO are also in charge of MGR, which is important to note because the third post indicates one of them was involved in some political shenanigans of a corrupt nature. The series is a great read if you’re into political corruption or curious about MGR.
This brings me to a subtopic I wish to discuss: being unwilling to compromise. As my long-time readers know, I have a no-compromise position on many issues. For example, I want to eliminate the state in its entirety. When it comes to masters I have a zero tolerance policy. So I have respect for individuals and organizations that are unwilling to compromise on issues (even when I disagree with those issues). With that said, I must also point out that not compromising requires a different set of tactics. I learned some time ago that politics is not the realm for radicals. Radicals, by definition, wants something radically different. For example, I find the very concept that people with guns taking guns from nonviolent people will somehow reduce gun violence. Because of this I oppose gun control. Instead I focus on the reduction of violence in society as a whole. Even though I acknowledge that completely eliminating violence from a society is impossible I believe there are methods that can greatly reduce the amount of violence present in a society. But these methods are not achievable politically because they rely on the destruction of the state, which politics cannot do.
My point is this: if you’re not willing to compromise then you are a radical and you need to seek nonpolitical strategies. Any organization that labels itself as a no compromise group and a political group should be treated with a great deal of caution. In my experience such groups are perfectly aware of the incompatibility of their position and methodology. They don’t care because their actual goal is different from their stated goal. These organizations tend to exploit groups of political activists in order to extract cash from them. Gun rights activists are a great target for such a strategy because they’re passionate and willing to give their time and money in the pursuit of winning their fight. Proof of this fact can be found by looking at the number of members the National Rifle Association (NRA) has. If an organization is able to position itself as fighter for gun rights it stands to make a good amount of money.
Based on what I’ve found it seems MGR is an organization created to extract money from gun rights activists without sincerely investing itself in the fight for gun rights. Any new political organization should be taken with a grain of salt until it demonstrates its trustworthiness. Even though I have disagreements with the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and GOCRA they have demonstrated trustworthiness. If you’re going to support gun rights organizations those are good candidates. MGR has, so far, failed to demonstrated trustworthiness in my opinion and their list of accomplishments is nonexistent.
I won’t tell you to support or not support MGR. You’re all adults (I think) and can make your own decisions. But I urge you to research the organization, and all other political organizations, to determine whether or not you want to support it. What I can tell you is that MGR’s stated position and methodology are incompatible, which raises red flags for me. Finally I will close by offering to hear counterarguments to the claims made on Mitch Berg’s blog. Any members or supporters of MGR may post whatever counterarguments they wish in the comments section. Due to spambots I must manually approve all posts by first time posters, so if your comment doesn’t appear immediately please know that I will get around to approving it. You can also feel free to e-mail me at blog[at]christopherburg[dot]com.