Can the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights Save Us?

The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights aims to be up and running by the time we elect our next government on Oct. 19, pushing for less red tape to own and use guns and greater rights to armed self-defence.

The group expects to start selling memberships within three weeks, President Rod Giltaca said in a video last night.

“When we throw the doors open, we want to be an organization that’s completely ready to take political action, like Day 1,” he said. “We want to work with the public, it’s a public-awareness campaign. We want to work with the media. We need a resource for government to go to.”

This is exciting. If the coalition can deliver on the goals and approach outlined in the video, I’m in!

That’s a big “if.” I’m hopeful, but hesitant, uninspired or disappointed by existing gun groups, and feeling burned by the National Firearms Association.

The NFA seduced me with its goals and tone, its awesome “No Compromise” logo, and I joined last December. A few weeks later, I had second thoughts as I learned about the management infighting and other struggles. In May, a video of the NFA’s annual general meeting repulsed me so much that I wanted out.

“We’re an organization that will never embarrass you, at least I hope we won’t,” Giltaca said in the video.

Canada has three main gun organizations: the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, with more than 100,000 members, according to its website; the National Firearms Association, with about 75,000 members, and the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, with more than 15,000.

Those membership numbers are pathetic. With 2 million to 3 million (or more) Canadian gun owners and enthusiasts, representing somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of the adult population, we could be one of the country’s most powerful political forces.

We need an organization that can inspire us and bring us together, that is ethical, professional, organized, well funded, transparent, forceful, reasonable and credible. An organization dedicated to its individual members, not political parties, police, shooting clubs or the gun industry (even if it works with those groups.) Most importantly, we need an organization that is effective at fixing our flawed firearms laws.

Nobody knows if the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights will become that organization, but it’s off to a promising start.

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