Where can I learn to shoot without giving a single penny to the NRA?
November 16, 2016 3:10 AM   Subscribe

In case this really is the darkest timeline in the US, I would like to know how to shoot and operate a gun. However, I hate guns and I don't want to pay any money that will support the NRA or its fans. Is there such a thing as an anti-NRA gun training facility? I don't want to own a gun and, unless necessary, I never actually want to be around guns. I just want to know how to use one in case. Any advice? Southern California location would be easiest.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do you know someone who could teach you to shoot? I'm from Oklahoma and the "traditional" way to learn is to have daddy or grampa or uncle teach you.

Otherwise, you might look into the organization Pink Pistols. It looks like there are several chapters in California.
We are dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the sexual-minority community. We no longer believe it is the right of those who hate and fear gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or polyamorous persons to use us as targets for their rage. Self-defense is our RIGHT.
I have friends in Houston who are talking about organizing a Pink Pistol training program there. They are also talking about organizing krav maga and other self-defense courses for minorities and other marginalized people.
posted by Brittanie at 3:37 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would suspect the simple act of buying a firearm eventually results in a theoretical penny or two trickling down to the NRA, either through the seller or the manufacturer (the last one assumes you buy a new weapon.)
posted by Thorzdad at 3:50 AM on November 16, 2016

Does this site for "The Liberal Gun Club" help?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:23 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

You will find many, many gun ranges pay money to the NRA and offer discounts to NRA members because the NRA provides discounted business insurance for commercial gun ranges. And gun stores. And gun shows. And gun clubs. And hunting clubs.

The NRA is very deeply involved in the gun industry in America. It may not be possible for you to buy and operate a gun without some fraction of your dollars flowing to the NRA.
posted by ryanrs at 4:24 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

I think it is likely impossible to learn to shoot without sending a penny to the NRA unless you know someone with guns, pay them to reload some ammunition for you made from components from a few manufacturers who don't support the NRA, and go to do your practicing on public land.

But if you're willing to accept a few things, such as that basically all mass-produced ammunition will kick back a little money to the NRA (though not all that much per round, especially for something low-profit like .22LR), you could do so. But as RyanRS said, almost every gun range (where you'll need to go for training if you don't have a friend with guns capable of training you) will have a corporate NRA membership, if only so they can afford liability insurance.

Gun ranges are very heavily regulated. Lucky thing for you, southern California has deserts, which offer many opportunities for shooting without paying for a range. But it all comes down to knowing someone.
posted by DaveP at 5:31 AM on November 16, 2016

If you plan to not own guns, avoid being around guns, etc., etc. and only know how to "use one just in case," the manual of arms on most self-defense firearms is:

- grab
- point
- pull trigger with the index finger of whatever hand you executed step 1 with.

Not necessarily the best plan for the safety of you or those around you.

Direct answer to your question is - many police departments offer basic firearms familiarization courses. As stated above, every gun and ammo manufacturer is probably a member of the NRA in this country, and if you are ideologically opposed to them, you're going to have to make peace with that at some level.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:49 AM on November 16, 2016

UK shootist here. I love guns, I am appalled by US gun culture.

The problem is that you want to use guns for one of their intended purposes within US gun culture - violent resistance and self-defense - but you want to do it outside of US gun culture. The problem is, you can't. I therefore strongly suggest you don't try it.

I don't say this for moral reasons, but for pragmatic reasons. A house divided against itself will fall. You have to have a willingness to kill in order to protect yourself the way you're thinking of doing, and it's plainly obvious you don't have that. So don't try it, because you won't be effective in an emergency and will probably make things worse, and/or end up paying a psychological price that is not worth it for you.
posted by tel3path at 5:58 AM on November 16, 2016 [14 favorites]

To clarify, just in case that last post sounded like I think I'm a cold blooded assassin: in UK gun culture you can enjoy shooting for years on end without ever once pointing your gun at anything that's alive. Hunters exist, but there are no civilian, non-criminal shootists in the UK whose targets are human beings.

I'm passing on advice from the late tel3dad, who did not learn his shooting skills as a civilian. He would, I'm guessing, also tell you to stay away from guns.
posted by tel3path at 6:07 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would recommend you take a Concealed Carry Weapons course (CCW) for California. There are a few offered by Sheriff and police departments in SoCal, but most will probably be private. Some will likely just go over the laws and safety aspects regarding guns and the law, but all will likely have a shooting test component and will give lessons if you are not familiar. Plus, if you ever think you do need a gun, you will have a proper permit and know how the law applies to it.
posted by Yorrick at 6:14 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you considered just going to the least-insane-seeming gun club/school/class you can find, and then making a big donation to a gun control advocacy group?
posted by dondiego87 at 6:27 AM on November 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

My dad was into "cowboy action shooting" which is more or less what it sounds like. if you google SASS (that is single action shooting society - they only allow gun technology pre-1900) there are clubs in California. My dad was a died-in-the-wool liberal, but when he moved to North Carolina he had to choose between hiding his politics and continuing to enjoy one of his pastimes - he did not discuss politics with his shooting buddies.

its sort of absurdist - they dress up and have ol' west styles aliases . . . its also one of the absolute whitest things ive ever personally experienced (attending an event with my wife, who is not white, was interesting). id imagine there are folks like my dad, who grew up on western movies and boy scouting, who don't think much of the NRA and would be willing to talk to you and show you some things. but you'd have to check the website of your local chapter to see how loudly they are screaming about threats to the second amendment to be sure.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:02 AM on November 16, 2016

Lucky thing for you, southern California has deserts, which offer many opportunities for shooting without paying for a range. But it all comes down to knowing someone.

Please be careful in shooting lead bullets in the wild, as you can pollute the environment.
posted by coberh at 8:13 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Civilian Marksmanship Program used to be an Army run program, now its a 501(c).
If there's a closer club these people should be able to let you know.

My experience is if you want to maintain a minimal competence, you should plan on some practice at least once a quarter.

California Rifle & Pistol Association Inc
Club Mailing Address: 271 Imperial Highway #620
Fullerton, CA 92835
Range Address: 271 Imperial Highway #620
Fullerton, CA 92835
URL: www.crpa.org
Email: tcheuvront@crpa.org
Club Type: State Association
Phone: 8003052772
Membership: OPEN

For more about the CMP
posted by ridgerunner at 10:02 AM on November 16, 2016

Oops! The CMP clubs maintain more distance between the NRA back here. I'll call a friend at Pendelton for better info.

posted by ridgerunner at 10:29 AM on November 16, 2016

I like dondiego87's idea. Use normal gun clubs and make a donation to a gun-control group.

If you do decide to purchase a gun, buy one at a pawn shop; while the NRA might have gotten some money from the original purchaser, your financial arrangements will be pretty far down the stream from that.

Or, why not take up archery? You can kill a person with a bow and arrow too, and as far as I know, the NRA doesn't have its fingers in the archery industry's pie.
posted by Fister Roboto at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

BREA RIFLE & PISTOL CLUB Is a pre/WWII club and may just be a CMP range but probably is associated with the NRA for insurance reasons.

Bullets and Bagels is supposed to be very newbie and non Jewish friendly but definitely uses NRA certified instructors.

If you're seriously contemplating shooting, I strongly encourage you to get competent training, even if it involves the NRA Foundation. At least your money would not be going to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, NRA Civil Defense Fund, NRA Political Victory Fund or the NRA Freedom Action Foundation.
posted by ridgerunner at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2016

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