RAMBLINGS OF A NB SHOOTING BUM - Part II - Oct 24,2014
The 2014 RNBRA AGM came off without a hitch. I must thank all those who gave up their Sunday to come to Sussex and participate in the meeting. Without membership involvement it is difficult to get a sense of what people expect from the Association and where we should focus. One wise and experienced Board member told me that the limited attendance was likely a vote of confidence in our effort. I hope that is the case, and the limited attendance had nothing to do with there being no free lunch offered.
We should soon have our meeting minutes and reports, as well as our now approved revised Constitution and By Laws, available on our website. We would like for our Affiliated clubs to forward a brief yearly activity report for inclusion in our archived records as well as general information. I also ask that you consider volunteering for a committee position on one of our standing committees published in our Constitution and By- Laws.
I want to get up on the soap box a bit now! The RNBRA, formerly the NBRA, was founded in 1866 with the purpose listed in our Constitution. At that time, shooting proficiency was highly regarded and considered to be indispensable in promoting civic stability and the defense of the realm. The Rifle Association was financially supported by the Military and largely run by the Military. For many years the Association was strong and well supported. Shooting was a good thing and strongly encouraged.
Shooting is no longer encouraged and since shortly after the 2nd world war the level of Government or Military support has steadily decreased to the point where it is almost nonexistent and what there is available requires a lot of time and work to access. We are grateful for the support we receive but the national commitment to support shooting sports is very limited now.
I am often asked what the RNBRA has to offer to clubs and their members, and I'm also often asked what personal benefit a membership in the RNBRA would provide. These are good, relevant questions and they are not easy to answer. I can give you my personal reasons but most of that would mean little to a firearms enthusiast who does not compete in organized high level shooting sports that are regulated by standard rules, and those that do already understand the addiction. Many people believe the RNBRA's focus is on competitive shooting and I believe they are right, but that is primarily brought on by the fact that competitive shooters often make up the majority of the labor force among the members. With the limited time and manpower available, the RNBRA usually defaults to the programs that we have been running successfully for years. These programs and initiatives will continue to take the majority of time and resources currently available. Without a much larger membership base we cannot stray far from the traditional role in the province, which has lead to nonexistent growth and a struggle to support even some traditional programs.
Provincially organized shooting in the province is in trouble. We need new people to help take the Association into new areas that will help support the activities and the needs of the club members. The clubs have done a fantastic job of developing shooting facilities. I hope we can develop more provincial level activities that will strengthen our shooting community.
Without a strong voice from all firearms people, firearms legislation will not support shooting sports (actually a heritage sport in Canada) and organized sport shooting will continue to die a slow death. Once the shooting sports are dead in the country how long will it be before all private firearms ownership is deemed a threat to public safety?
The National Firearms Association recently published their opinion and explanation of the new (common sense firearms) legislation that is coming. They don't like it! After much work, including research by our firearms community, the Feds have chosen to ignore the recommendations of the NFA. The only way to exert influence is to have a well organized and united community and that is something we seem unwilling to commit to as we have many small organizations all fighting for the same thing, hence easily divided.
What I really want to say is that the RNBRA belongs to its members and exists for the purpose stated in our Constitution (available on our website). With more people we can grow the Association as directed while at the same time push the goals of Association and the skills that teach responsibility, awareness and focus which, in turn, will strengthen our communities. The time to start is now - today. Apathy and procrastination will destroy shooting sports and the life skills that it teaches. To paraphrase a progressive leader, "ASK NOT WHAT THE RNBRA CAN DO FOR YOU, INSTEAD ASK HOW CAN I HELP" my provincial association of shooters to grow our sport that is so much a part of my Canadian Heritage.
President, Royal New Brunswick Rifle Association