American Rifleman - July 2011 - 20

ila story
ban low-income residents from legally
possessing firearms to protect their
homes and families.
NRA also filed a lawsuit against the
San Francisco Housing Authority, forcing the agency into a settlement under
which it removed a firearm ban that was
very similar to the one in Delaware. (This
is a long-running issue for the NRA; in
1995, we won a suit against the public
housing authority in Portland, Maine
over the same issue.)
Of course, public housing agencies
are part of the government, and their
anti-gun actions can readily be fought
in the courts and the legislatures. But
these sorts of restrictions go beyond
public housing-and fighting private
discrimination is a battle that often must
be fought by individiduals.
For example, we recently were
asked about a clause in an apartment
lease that read, "You will not engage
in, and you will not permit Occupants
or Guests to engage in, the following
activities in the Apartment Community:
...displaying or possessing a gun, knife
or other item, which is intended to be
used as a weapon."
A lease that tries to prevent the
possession of any kind of weapon at
all-even non-lethal items such as
pepper spray-is clearly designed to
deny tenants the basic right to selfdefense. And this was no mistake, since
the management company's "rules and
regulations" also included this:
"We have no sense of humor at all
when it comes to weapons. Carrying,
displaying or discharging fireworks,
guns, slingshots, or any type of firearm
or weapon is strictly prohibited. Violation
of this policy by any resident, occupant
or guest will result in the immediate termination of the lease contract. It's that
simple. It's that serious." (And yes, those
are the company's boldface and italics.)
We don't have a sense of humor, either,
when it comes to denying law-abiding
people their fundamental right to selfdefense. Fortunately, when challenged
by the potential tenant, the property
managers backed down and deleted the
unreasonable language from the lease.
This is an important lesson. We have
to stand up to these tactics. If we do,
we will win many of these battles. After
all, private companies are in business
to make money-and they'll only know

18 J

uly

2011

www.americanrifleman.org

"I believe that we are
again engaged in a great
civil war, a cultural war
that's about to hijack your
birthright to think and say
what resides in your heart."
		 - Charlton Heston
they're about to lose a customer if the
customer tells them.
In the apartment lease case, the management decided it would rather sign a
new tenant than enforce an outrageous
policy. But it can be much harder to
change the minds of huge corporations.
For instance, online auction giant
eBay and its payment subsidiary, PayPal,
will not allow their services to be used
for the sale of firearms or many firearmrelated products. And search engine
leader Google refuses to accept paid
advertising from similar businesses.
To justify their policies, these businesses
cite vague claims of potential liability, but
it seems far more likely that the policies
are really based on anti-gun bias, born
out of a lack of familiarity with firearms, or
outright hostility toward gun ownership.
Whatever the real reasons, these companies have chosen to deny their services
when firearms are involved, and there is
little recourse to change their positions.
This is the difficult part of fighting the
culture war. A company with anti-gun
leadership may not respond to any appeal.
In the end, a company that adopts antigun policies will keep them in place until
it hurts their bottom line.
These sorts of anti-gun policies
are certainly not restricted to Internet
companies and they are often not well
publicized, even to potential or ongoing
customers.
For example, we've heard of many
cases where banking services have been
denied to firearm-related businesses. In

other instances, insurance policies have
been denied based on firearm ownership.
Fighting these sorts of anti-gun
corporate policies almost always requires
moving up the corporate ladder, sometimes far up that ladder. Sometimes,
managers at these companies have overturned these decisions when challenged,
but the damage to small businesses is
often already done.
NRA has and will continue to look
into these problems, but we encourage
all gun owners not to let these denials
stand. Always ask to speak to the next
person up the ladder until the problem is
fixed, or until it's clear that the corporate
policy will not change. It will take some
time and effort, but you will be surprised
how often things can be worked out-
and if not, you can be sure you're doing
the right thing by looking to take your
business elsewhere.
The battles of the culture war aren't
just fought in the media or in the business world. They include "zero tolerance"
policies that have been taken to absurd
extremes. When a second grader can be
suspended for drawing a picture of a gun
or for picking up a stick and calling out
"bang-bang," we know rational thought
has been abandoned.
These challenges require that gun
owners fight back. And the best weapon
we have is the truth.
We know the truth about guns. We
know the truth about the fundamental
right that is protected by the Second
Amendment. We have to stand up and
teach others those truths. When we
come across irrational anti-gun policies,
we can't retreat; we have to engage in
the debate.
Whether it's one-on-one with a friend
or neighbor, before a group at a community forum or civic clubs, or at a meeting
of the city council or local school board,
each of us must be an ambassador for
responsible gun ownership. We must
show respect for those who disagree
with us, but we must never stop telling
our fellow Americans the truth about
firearms and the Second Amendment.
The anti-gun groups' efforts to stigmatize gun ownership will never stop, nor
will the anti-gun rhetoric in the media.
But if we continue to fight, we'll have the
reward of knowing that future generations will still have Second Amendment
rights to enjoy and protect.


http://www.americanrifleman.org

American Rifleman - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2011

American Rifleman - July 2011 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 2
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 3
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 4
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 5
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 28
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