The Herald Bulletin

February 23, 2013

Local NRA support crosses political lines

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — After taking its time to craft a response to the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association took little time identifying its enemies.

The gun-lobby giant posted a list of more than 500 “anti-gun” people and organizations on its website on Feb. 6.

From the AARP to sports teams to celebrities, a cross section of America could be found on the list, which was recently removed from the site.

Though the national face of the NRA is drawing lines in the sand, local NRA member Jay Stapleton said the organization has widespread support locally.

“I think the NRA here crosses party lines, to the point where there are just as many Democrats and progressives that support us as conservatives,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton said a common misconception about NRA members is that they don’t support gun control. He said most of the members of the local group are level-headed, conservative and believe there should be checks and balances on the possession of guns.

“The biggest responsibility should be enforcing laws on the books right now,” Stapleton said. “There’s really nothing wrong if they’re properly enforced. Some loopholes need to be closed, particularly sales of guns or magazines at gun shows.”

Local NRA member and Anderson Police officer Scott Calhoun said one of the biggest roles the NRA plays at a grassroots level is education and training.

Calhoun is vice president of the Fall Creek Valley Conservation Club, a firing range in Markleville where classes from NRA-certified instructors are offered. He said demand is always high for classes, and being familiar with the features of a gun should be a cornerstone of ownership.

“We have a lot of participation, especially among women,” Calhoun said. “It’s a great place to learn and have fun.”

Gun-control movements are common whenever tragedies happen, Stapleton said. The public shrugs off education and safety in favor of fear and more rules. But he feels the Second Amendment is not outdated and is still as relevant as it was when it was written in the Bill of Rights.

“Every few years it seems like it comes under some type of public scrutiny and people say it outdated and should it be changed,” Stapleton said. “I don’t think it is. And I don’t think gun ownership is in danger if we are doing it in a legal fashion and if we are doing it in a responsible manner.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.