Thursday, January 20, 2011

Controversy, we haz it, Part II

This was going to be part of my post Controversy, we haz it... from... a while ago--Holy Cow!, where did the week(s) go?!--but it got too long.

Anyway, last week I went and renewed our membership in the Washington Arms Collectors.

Lotta folks hate the WAC, for many reasons.  Many of these have to do with the way WAC conducts it's monthly gun shows.1

 One rule is that one must be a member of WAC to buy or sell at a WAC gun show.  Membership fees go to run a background check on members with the Washington State Patrol, so a member is de facto considered to be able to legally purchase a firearm.  This includes private sales at the show.

And if you forget, or get so busy you miss the fact that your buyer doesn't have a members badge, or flout the rules, and get get caught, you are banned from membership and the shows.  For life.

This may be overly harsh, some certainly think  so, and I could wish they'd devise a probation or a temporary ban, but it does tend to make it easy on the WAC if when any gun banners manage to sneak in.  Which they certainly do.2

 The prohibition on cameras is often thought of as silly, by members who do not remember attempts by local media outlets to sneak cameras in so they could make a "news" piece on the Scary Gun Show!  As long as they don't try to ban cell phones with cameras...

The ban on loaded firearms or ammunition feeding devices rankles many.  Guns are also supposed to be "safety tied" with a wire tie. It's a rule imposed by the owners of the property, but enforced by the WAC.  Maybe if the WAC owned it's own venue they would forgo this.  Maybe they would say "No loaded firearms", but not check.  I'm sure there are many who carry concealed and get away with it.

Recently there was another scandal, as a popular member of the staff fell afoul of what he described as a good-faith attempt to help out a member who was not receiving the monthly publication, The Gun News.  Unfortunately, when he attempted to correct the database, it would not let him save the changes unless he entered a financial transaction, which he did...

...Leaving him open to charges of fraud and/or embezzlement.

I've met the man, and I believe him when he says he was simply trying to help a long-time Life member.  I also recognize that the WAC had little choice in the matter. They may well have acted in a high-handed manner--by his account he was not even allowed into any meetings or hearings held--but the mere appearance of financial impropriety is the sort of thing that can tear an organization apart, lead to audits,a veritable three-ring media circus and give our political and social enemies so much ammunition that it does not bear demands thinking about.

So, those who refuse to join or renew their memberships in WAC, I understand where you're coming from, and I hope you'll consider a membership in the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association instead. 

But WSRPA is not as active politically as WAC, and SAF, et. al, are national organizations, not state. 

I've already told you what I think about the GOA...

1. More than monthly, actually: They have one big one almost every month at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup, and one almost every month at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.  They say they are planning to start having them at other venues as well, including Ellensberg and possibly the Tri-Cities, so as to hit Central and Eastern Washington.
2. Feds, too.  Recently a guy with a "All sales private, no paper!" sign on his table got busted; turned out he held a Federal Firearms License, and was transferring guns to his personal collection and then selling them.  Understandably, the ATFE regarded this as an infraction.

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