Members FAQ

OMNI Nicolas Johnson Summer 2019 1024x578 - Members FAQ

Newest update of this page: 17 August 2020

Who Is TheGunBlog.ca?

Who owns TheGunBlog.ca?

TheGunBlog.ca is owned, run and published by me, Nicolas Johnson.

It is personal, independent and unaffiliated.

But it is more than a solo project. I count on experts, advisors and contractors for info and analysis to publish TheGunBlog.ca and keep the website running. I benefit every day from reader tips, ideas and info.

Importantly: TheGunBlog.ca wouldn’t exist without the financial support of members and patrons.

The About page has more info about our influence and work methods. You can read my original introductory message from 04 January 2015 here. (Some stuff on that page duplicates the info below.)


Membership & Sponsorship

Where can I sign up as a member or sponsor?

Thank you for your interest, we’d love to have you on board! Please pick your plan below.

Note: All membership levels offer the same access for one person.

Change levels or cancel anytime. Contact us for group discounts. (If you already have a membership login, Log In and click your choice.)


What’s the difference between a “subscriber,” a “member” and a “sponsor.”

It’s confusing because the words mean different things to different people in different contexts.

For us, and many other media/blogs:

  • A “subscriber” is anyone (paying or non-paying) who subscribes to our e-mail newsletters.
  • A “member” is someone who pays, i.e., a paying subscriber.
  • A “sponsor” is someone who gives more than a certain amount.

About 95% of our subscribers sign up without paying and will never pay a penny, in line with industry trends. It’s our members and sponsors who keep TheGunBlog.ca alive, strong and free. (Freedom is so expensive, it’s priceless.)


Why do you charge money? TheGunBlog.ca is so important and valuable that it should be free, especially during this critical time.

Almost everything at TheGunBlog.ca is available to everyone at no charge, and we prefer to keep it that way. That’s how we reach our Five Ps: politicians, policymakers, press, public, PAL holders.

Almost everything we publish is info, intel or insight you can’t find anywhere else. See our Exclusives. (In reality, everything is out there. You just need to look, to know what to look for, where to look, who to ask, what to do with it, how to present it, and how to share it with the right people. Very few professionals have the skill and resources to do all that, which is where our expertise comes in.)

We view our members-only reports as a mix between a premium service and a bonus or perk.

We invite fans to donate and join as members if you want to support our mission and get the extras. It’s completely optional. It’s easy to join or leave whenever you want.


What do members get that free subscribers don’t?

One of our goals is to offer paying members the best info, intel and insight on Canadian gun rights, gun politics and gun policy, as well as media monitoring. We also cover the business side of the industry (as opposed to the product side), something nobody else does.

The members-only reports and e-mail updates are generally more raw, personal and “insidery” than the public reports.

Many of our members are insiders: firearm-industry professionals, political and policy staff, firearm lawyers, high-level athletes, club and and range executives, journalists … and many concerned citizens.

We assume members know basics like what a PAL is, so we don’t explain it the way we do in some of our open-access public reports.


How do you decide which reports are public and which are for members only?
We don’t have a rule or policy on this.

Some reports start public, then become members-only. Some start as premium reports for members, then become public.


One-Off Donations

Where can I donate?

Thank you! Please use this page.


Discounts

Do you offer discounts? I want to contribute, but $10/month is too much for me right now.

Yes. Many of our members are seniors on a fixed income, people who’ve been laid off, or in another situation. We don’t want cost to prevent anyone from getting the benefits of membership. And for us, every dollar helps.

Please e-mail me at [email protected]


Do you offer discounts for groups?

Yes. Please contact me.


Cancellations & Refunds

How do I cancel automatic payments?

Log in > Your Membership > Cancel your membership

(For a few people who joined before November 2019, log in here.)

If you cancel future renewals, you’ll still have full access for the remainder of the billing period (month or year.)

Or e-mail me at [email protected]


How do I get a refund?

We offer refunds, no questions asked: within 3 days of starting or renewing a monthly membership, or pro rata for the remaining months of an annual membership.

Please e-mail me at [email protected]

Nobody has ever requested a refund.


How do I update or change my credit-card info?

Log In > Your Membership > Update payment method

Or please e-mail me at [email protected]


Can you cancel someone’s membership manually?

Yes. We can cancel for you if you want.

We also reserve the right to block and/or stop any subscription, donation, membership or sponsorship at any time without warning or justification. (We’ve never done this. We never want to.) We also make it easy for you to cancel anytime without warning or justification. We like freedom.


Why Should I Pay?

Why should I pay for something that is almost entirely free?

Paying is completely optional for fans who like TheGunBlog.ca or professionals who need it.

It says: “Hey, I like what you’re doing. Please continue.”

We are thankful to everyone who supports us, whether it’s $2 or $2,000. Without your support, this website wouldn’t exist.


Advertising & Sponsorship

Why don’t you run ads?

First, for integrity, independence and incentives: We don’t run ads because it creates an incentive to work for advertisers instead of for readers.

  • It leads to clickbait.
  • It leads to “sponsored content” — ads disguised as news.
  • It leads to secretly collecting data about your online behaviour and selling it to advertisers.

We publish what we believe is important and interesting, and we don’t want to worry about whether we might lose a big client.

We also prefer a simple, clean, minimalist design. Ads are often distracting clutter.


What influence do sponsors or others have over what you publish?

Zero. We decide what we publish, nobody else.

Period.

We welcome tips, ideas and info, and we benefit from those every day.


Publishing & E-Mail Schedule

How often do you publish reports on the website?

We don’t have a set publishing schedule.

We aim to keep you up to date on what matters most, when it matters most, as well as sharing articles of general interest to Canadian firearm owners.

We usually publish reports a few times a week. We are constantly doing research and interviews to break news and share exclusive features.

Canada Gun News is updated for members daily (usually several times a day.)

How often do you send e-mail newsletters and updates?

We generally e-mail members once a week, and we e-mail all subscribers once a week.

We do our best to find the sweet spot between: news junkies who want everything immediately, and more casual gun owners who’d be OK with weekly or monthly updates.


Our Origins

Why did you start TheGunBlog.ca?

I started the website in January 2015 as a counter-force to certain politicians and large media.

They are hostile to liberty, rights and responsibilities, and focus exclusively and obsessively on the disadvantages and costs of firearm use.

We focus on the benefits and advantages, and we seek to inform and educate. We are particularly proud of Canada Gun Facts & Stats. It’s our most-popular page. Nothing like it exists anywhere else.


Business Model

What’s your business model?

Besides offering a unique and powerful voice for Canadian gun owners, we have a unique approach to the publishing business.

It’s expensive to run one of Canada’s most-popular firearm-related websites, break news, produce professional reports as an independent publisher, and pay for technology that can deliver info, intel and insight to thousands of readers every day.

(With well over 1 million pageviews annually, this isn’t your average blog.)

We count on donations to pay our bills. That has pros and cons. It may change.


How do you compare to CCFR, CSSA and NFA?

We view them as allies and occasional partners/collaborators working towards a common goal via different methods.

Many of our fans, members and clients are also theirs.

Over the years, we’ve supported their work, they’ve supported ours, and the editor of TheGunBlog.ca is a current or past member of all three groups.


Are you for a profit, not-for-profit, a charity?

We aren’t a charity.

We want to make tons of money to invest in civil liberties and good policy related to firearm ownership … and far beyond.

We want to hire teams of writers, editors, videographers, graphic designers, researchers, coders, etc. to create more content across more media, plus lawyers to take on high-profile winning lawsuits, and more.

We aren’t there yet. Your support brings us closer every day.


Our Readers

Who reads TheGunBlog.ca?

The leaders and influencers of the shooting community and firearm industry: Everyone from gun-industry executives, federal and provincial politicians and policymakers … to federal agencies … to gun clubs and target ranges … to media, lawyers and academics … to hundreds of thousands of concerned firearm owners and users.

Our work has been quoted in the House of Commons, mentioned in the Senate, distributed in government ministries, copied or plagiarized by our allies, and attacked by our adversaries.


Who are the paying members of TheGunBlog.ca?

We mostly don’t know, because we don’t ask. We don’t ask for your name, address or postal code to protect your privacy and anonymity.

What we do know: Our members include some of the biggest names and most-influential people in the Canadian shooting community, firearm industry and government, as well as many concerned men and women across Canada. (To put it simply: The Who’s Who of Canadian gun rights reads TheGunBlog.ca.)

Most members are fans and superfans who pay because they love how our work informs and inspires the community, sets the agenda and shapes the debate.

Some of them are professionals who pay because they need our work to do their work. (Example: People involved in politics, policy, regulation, industry, intelligence, law, …).

Many members are both fans and professionals who love our work and need our work.

Check out our Reader Comments & Testimonials.


Your Privacy & Security

How do you protect privacy and security?

We are aggressive on privacy, anonymity and data security, and have invested in the best systems, technologies and processes we can afford.

We don’t reveal the identities of our subscribers or members. (As we said above, in all but a few cases, we don’t know their identities.)

We don’t store your credit-card info on our computer servers. That’s handled by our payment processor, Stripe.

We disable digital surveillance (“cookies” and “trackers”) as much as we can.

We are fans of VPNs and privacy browsers like Tor.

See more disclosures on ethics, privacy, and work methods on the About page.


Our Editorial Mindset

What makes TheGunBlog.ca so effective and powerful?

We take the point of view of free, empowered, responsible citizens who act from choice.

  • You will love TheGunBlog.ca if you have or want a victor mindset.
  • You won’t like us if you have a victim mindest.

We advocate for personal freedom and individual civil liberties, and believe that any restrictions on freedom must be justified to a high standard.

We view the increasing regulation and legislation of private firearm ownership as a symptom of broken politics and policies pretending to be about public safety to win votes. We view this as immoral and dangerous for society.

Read: Dangerous Fallacies at the Heart of the Gun Debate

We take the point of view expressed by David Yamane: “Guns are normal and normal people have guns.”

We take the point of view that private gun ownership doesn’t need to be justified or defended, and that restricting private gun ownership is what needs to be justified to a high standard. This is the exact opposite of almost everyone else in “gun rights,” which is why they fail.

We know how journalists think, we know how newsrooms operate, and we know how to — and how not to — talk to the media. The editor understands politics better than many people because he ran as a political candidate.

We state our views boldly, unapologetically, and when warranted, aggressively.

We don’t back down from attacks by firearm prohibitionists. Unlike others who kneel or bend over, we counter-attack.

We take the position that modern firearms and ammunition are valuable — possibly the best — tools for personal safety, protection and self-defence, and we oppose measures that threaten innocent life by restricting access to firearms.

We take the position that supporting the right to own firearms in the context of personal protection and safety gives us the moral high-road in the gun debate. Prohibitionists have no counter. We’ve seen this in meetings with one of Canada’s highest-profile prohibitionst activists. It’s fun to watch.

(Claims that self-defence is un-Canadian are absurd. People weren’t buying up every handgun and short-barrelled shogtun available in response to the Covid-19 crisis and economic crash of March – April 2020 because they took a sudden interest in sport shooting. They were snapping up gear to protect themselves and their families in case things went belly up.)

We avoid discussing crime and violence. We believe it hurts “gun rights” to talk constantly about crime, violence, homicide, murder and death. Anti-gun activists know those topics hurt us, which is why the only thing they ever talk about is crime, violence homicide, murder and death. If that’s what you mostly talk about, we know whose team you’re on, and it isn’t ours.

We avoid countering prohibitionists’s claims that restrictions on gun ownership boost safety. We believe it hurts “gun rights” to get into this debate. Of course restrictions don’t boost safety. That was never the point of the restrictions. The entire “restrictions for public safety!” tactic is a fabrication. When we argue for it or against it, we legitimize it.

We avoid many words and phrases that others use because of how language shapes mindset, beliefs and culture.

‘Gun Violence’ and Other Phrases Smart Shooters Never Use

Why You Should Never Call Yourself a ‘Law-Abiding’ Gun Owner

Many gun-rights advocates are playing to lose.

We are playing to win.


Our Journalism Values

Aren’t you biased? Are you a journalist or an advocate/activist?

All journalism is activism. Advocacy is the DNA of journalism.

Almost every major media was founded by a politician, political party/organization, business person, or labour union to promote or prevent some sort of social-political-cultural change.

One of the most brilliant marketing tactics used by journalists is to pretend they are neutral and objective, and that they deliver “just the facts.” (I once believed it, too!)

Think about it: If it were really “just the facts,” you wouldn’t care who gave you the facts. In reality, you know you prefer certain media and avoid others because of how they present the facts, and which ones they include or exclude in the story.

Bias, assumptions and an agenda are natural and unavoidable. What leads to distrust and accusations of #MediaBias and #FakeNews is journalists and media who pretend they don’t have a bias or an agenda.

We are biased, opinionated and we have an agenda. We aim to be transparent about it.


Are you a member of a professional association?

The editor (Nicolas) is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, and we like their ethics guidelines, including accuracy, fairness and transparency.


What are your top journalism values?

Trust, accuracy and transparency.

We know trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.

Accuracy is the most basic step to winning your trust. We’ve got to get the right story (expertise, analysis, judgment, …), and we’ve got to get the story right (logic, facts, details, evidence, …).

Transparency is also critical to trust. The most basic skepticism when anyone tells you anything is to ask: “How do you know?” That’s why we include names, dates, details, links, images and/or PDFs to every source of information, speaker, data, research, etc. behind every report we publish. You can see for yourself, fact check, and decide if we are accurate and if you agree with our interpretation and analysis.

Many media don’t do that. They keep their sources secret so that you can’t fact check. You can’t assess if the report and analysis is accurate.

Transparency also means showing the publication date at top of every article, and saying in the first few paragraphs when the action or event happened. We don’t want you guessing if something is from today, last week or last month.


How do you handle mistakes?

We aim to correct our mistakes immediately, and we aim to be transparent about our corrections. If you see a mistake, please contact me asap.

Depending on how serious it is, we’ll mention it in the headline, at the top of the report, or at the bottom.

We might start with flagging it at the top on breaking news, leave it there for a few hours or days, and then move it to the bottom.

You can see some of our corrections here.