Interesting that it is a woman with the cajones to speak out against the NRA. In a NYTimes Op-ed today, Lily Raff McCaulou expresses the sentiment of many hunters, myself included, regarding the NRA.
EARLIER this month, Mitt Romney delivered a speech at the annual National Rifle Association convention, calling for a president “who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen and those seeking to protect their homes and their families,” presumably with guns. I’d like to remind Mr. Romney that those are distinct groups. Too often — especially during an election year — hunters and N.R.A. members are lumped together as one and the same.
I’m a hunter and a sportswoman. I own guns, but not for self-defense. I support gun control laws. I would happily vote to repeal the Stand Your Ground law in my home state of Oregon. In other words, the N.R.A. does not represent me.
Among gun owners, I’m hardly alone. The N.R.A. has just over four million members. That sounds like a lot until you consider that about one in five American adults own one or more guns. That’s nearly 50 million people. That means roughly 90 percent of gun owners do not belong to the N.R.A.
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that every N.R.A. member is also a hunter — which is highly unlikely, considering that the most comprehensive national survey of firearm ownership to date found that only 35 percent of gun-owning households say they hunt. Even then, the N.R.A. would represent only about one-third of all hunters in the United States.
To hunt, yes, we need guns. We also need wildlife. We need healthy habitat that is protected from development and pollution. We need land that is open and accessible to hunters.
If Americans’ hunting traditions are threatened, it isn’t because of bans on rifles and shotguns. The more likely culprit is the oil and gas drilling proposed in the San Juan Mountains of New Mexico — a beloved destination for elk and antelope hunters. Or the devastating effects of global warming on migratory game birds like snow geese and sandhill cranes. Or the fact that thousands of acres of United States farmland — and deer habitat — are lost to sprawling development every day.
Thank you, Lily!