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Sometimes The Enemy Wears Camouflage

Sunday, August 14, 2005

You might have recently heard of a new organization claiming to represent hunters and gun owners.  The new group calls itself the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a friendly sounding name designed to earn the trust of gun owners and hunters.  The reality is that AHSA is nothing more than the enemy in camouflage.

At first glance, everything about AHSA sounds just fine.  They even have one useful tool on the website, a history of wildlife conservation laws in America--strange thing is it was lifted nearly word for word from www.NRAILA.org.

In their "Firearms Safety and Training" section we begin to see some curious remarks.  For instance in the "Range Safety" section they never once mention that firearms should always be pointed downrange, the first rule in range safety.  Another section recommends that shooters use steel wool to clean the barrels of their guns, an idea that makes most gunsmiths cringe.  The rest of their safety tips appear to be written by someone who has never hunted.  Never once do they mention the three basic rules of safe gun handling by which all shooters know and abide.

A look deeper into the AHSA website quickly reveals that this is no hunters' rights group.  You quickly realize that they want to allow the FBI to keep records on law-abiding citizens who buy guns and put an end to gun shows as we know them.  Not to mention the fact that they want to regulate .50 caliber rifles in the same way that machine guns are regulated.

The most telling thing about AHSA is its leadership.  A quick look at their website shows that Bob Ricker is listed as AHSA Executive Director.  Readers will remember that Ricker is a former NRA employee who switched sides and has actively worked for gun control groups for many years now.  A few years ago, Ricker was part of an attempt to sell out your rights by brokering a deal with the most anti-gun administration in history.  He then appeared with Bill Clinton in a White House photo-op.  Most recently Ricker was paid by a Virginia based anti-gun group, where he lobbied to shut down gun shows and put further restrictions on gun owners.

A little further down in the leadership section John Rosenthal is listed as President of the AHSA Foundation.  Rosenthal is one of the founders of the Massachusetts based group Stop Handgun Violence, a group that has been a major force in passing some of the most Draconian state gun laws in the nation.  Gun laws that Rosenthal would like to see exported to other states.

With leadership like that, there is no doubt about the true goals of AHSA.  They are trying to fool hunters and gun owners with a soft sell--a la John Kerry--while working behind the scenes to end the sport that we all love.  I fully expect that in the 2006 elections we will see anti-gun Congressional candidates boasting about their AHSA endorsements.  Unfortunately, some gun owners will be fooled by this ploy, so help us spread the word that AHSA isn't what it claims to be.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.