Firearm enthusiast Jeff Young posted a great quip on Facebook recently.
I am a law-abiding Canadian firearms owner. The scandal-plagued NFA (Canada’s National Firearms Association) does NOT represent me.
His message was in response to news reports the National Firearms Association used a mailing list stolen from the Conservative Party of Canada to solicit memberships and donations.
Stupid. Classless. Moronic.
Those are just some of the ways to describe the actions of the National Firearms Association, its President and CEO Sheldon Clare, its NFA Executive Vice-President of Communications Blair Hagen, and its entire NFA Board of Directors.
I’ve contacted both Sheldon Clare and Blair Hagen repeatedly via email but, predictably, neither one will respond to my requests for information. Then I called Blair Hagen on the telephone. A long silence ensued after I told him who was calling. When he finally responded I asked him about the NFA using the CPC’s membership list.
“I can’t talk to you about that.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“That’s the decision.”
And that was the end of the phone call.
It would seem the NFA is burying their heads in the sand in the hopes this will just all go away. It won’t, for a whole host of reasons.
First and foremost, do you really want to be a member of an organization willing to profit from using stolen property?
By using the stolen CPC membership list, the NFA alienated the only political party in Ottawa that might view them favourably. Not an intelligent move.
Imagine this scenario:
Sheldon Clare picks up the telephone and dials Andrew Scheer’s office. The phone rings once, then twice.
“Andrew Scheer’s office.” answers Mr. Scheer’s assistant.
“Hello, this is Sheldon Clare from Canada’s National Firearms Association. I’d like to speak to Mr. Scheer.”
Mr. Scheer’s assistant hangs up the phone.
Sheldon Clare hears only a dial tone. He pulls the phone away from his ear and stares at it.
“Hm. Ottawa must be having telephone troubles.”
How can the NFA advocate for gun owners when no Member of Parliament will take their call?
Bluntly put, they can’t.
Since they can no longer advocate for gun owners, effectively or otherwise, there is not reason for gun owners to join the NFA.
The terrible thing is the NFA did it to themselves.
Blair Hagen cannot claim ignorance. His title is Executive Vice-President of Communications. It’s his job to know where the list came from. More than that, it’s his fiduciary duty to know where that list came from. Same goes for NFA President and CEO Sheldon Clare.
These two men, presumably with approval from the NFA Board of Directors, either knew the list was stolen, or they were willfully ignorant and refused to determine where the list originated.
Regardless of which wall the NFA chooses to hide behind, they possessed stolen property and attempted to profit from that stolen property.
The individual or individuals who stole the list and gave it or sold it to the NFA are guilty of theft of an incredibly valuable resource – the Conservative Party membership list. That list is likely valued in the millions of dollars, given how much the Party generates from it every quarter.
That means theft of that list carries some serious jail time and, presumably, so would the crime of possessing and attempting to profit from that stolen list.
If you think this is no big deal, that I’m just ranting about something petty and inconsequential, or I have a hate-on for the NFA, you’re not paying attention.
This is an issue of integrity and of honesty. It’s an issue of credibility for every single gun owner in the country. By using this stolen list, the NFA successfully tarnished the integrity and credibility of every single law-abiding firearm owner in this nation.
All so they could make a few bucks.
A wise man once said
Integrity is a something you can only sell once.
Am I angry about the NFA’s stupidity?
You bet, and I’m not alone.
Tony Bernardo of the CSSA said:
The CSSA condemns the actions of the NFA and its use of improperly obtained data to solicit membership and donations. The use of the improperly obtained membership list demonstrates a failure to comprehend the violation of the property rights of another organization, the Conservative Party of Canada, and the privacy rights of every individual on the list, including many CSSA members.
Tracey Wilson of the CCFR wrote:
As the most law abiding sector of Canada, I’m ashamed today that a member of my extended community intentionally broke a law protecting Canadians personal privacy. Violating Canadian’s rights to further financial aspirations or membership drives is an unacceptable practice and I condemn it.
Daniel Fritter, editor of Calibre Magazine, wrote these thoughts in a series of Facebook posts:
“The NFA obtained private Conservative Party membership information, including addresses, and used that information to send unsolicited membership surveys and forms to CPC members. This is nothing short of reprehensible. Such conduct is, in the opinion of everyone at Calibre, disgusting.”
“We [gun owners] sure will take flak for it, but #goawayNFA.”
“And just how on God’s green earth does the NFA hope to represent gun owners to the one gun-friendly party in this country after stealing their most important data and using it for profit? They’re done. It’s an incredible shame, but this is the sort of transgression that gun owners cannot allow, and cannot forgive.”
One member of Canadian Gun Nutz message board wrote:
How dumb is the NFA?
“HEY maybe we should send unsolicited mail to these random people who we don’t know if they like firearms or not.”
“Where did you get the list?”
“I don’t know!? Let’s send it anyways!”
This is some really Mickey Mouse practices.
Your information wasn’t disseminated, it was stolen. Simple as that. The NFA needs to held to account in a big ####ing way. If they weren’t dead before, they should be now.
The social media outcry over the NFA’s actions was both swift and harsh.
- Mike Kean – Calibre Magazine, I could not agree with your comment more. The NFA has lost all credibility in my opinion. If this is how it’s members want to be represented then so be it. If I were a member, I’d be rethinking my association and pulling all their stickers off my vehicle. Thankfully, I never was nor will I ever be.
- Shane Martin – I have not been a member of the NFA since Sheldon Claire accused me of being a RCMP spy and government crony because I disagreed with the stance of us having an American system with zero firearms laws.
- Tyler Mathewson – Was literally hauling out the credit card to renew when I read this. NOPE!!!! NOT HAPPENING NOW!!!
- Nathan Montague – I would love to know who at the NFA thought this would do anything but blow up in their faces.
- Randy Coombes – Typical behaviour from NFA leadership. They are fully aware of the ethical issues involved but chose to do it anyway.
- Christian Bullas – I thought they were defunct. Hopefully they are now. They do a disservice to gun owners.
- Ray Morrell – NFA have been a loose cannon for a long time. Stunts like this are why I’ll never join.
- Dean Larsen – I am pro gun but wrong is wrong. People will join if they want there is no need to steal a membership list.
- Bert Leslie – I am “pro gun” but will never again give money or my information to this group.
- Andy Mike – I got one of those letters, I was wondering where they got my information from. Apart from their uselessness as an organization their recent infighting and antics made up my mind to never join them. This simply reinforces that decision.
- Peter Evangelidis – The NFA is technically dead and insignificant at this point
- Tand R Siwak – Desperate measures for desperate people. Enjoy obscurity NFA!
- Ian Thomson – I got one too, but it was delivered to the address of the person who signed me up for a CPC membership so I could vote on the CPC Leadership Election.
1. The Address had to come from the CPC membership list.
2. Who from the CPC released that private information?
3. Was this a ploy to further damage the CPC, et al?
4. Whomever it was that broke the trust must be named and punished.
As a side note: I got the boot from the NFA because I questioned the financial records, they didn’t add up. Sheldon took that as a personal attack; why, I don’t know???? Complicity perhaps?????
Anyway the NFA does not want me as a member, so why ask me to join again?
This whole thing stinks!
The Amusing Underbelly of this Issue
The NFA has a long history of kicking people out of the organization for expressing opinions other than those approved by the NFA leadership.
Dozens and dozens of those former members received the solicitation letter according to posts on Facebook.
It’s awfully telling about the NFA’s attention to detail when they couldn’t be bothered to purge (or were so lazy they didn’t bother to purge) the stolen mailing list of hundreds of people they previously kicked out of the organization.