How to build a gun club

How to Build a Gun Club: A Guide to Organizing and Starting Your Own Local Gun Club
By Sam Jacobs - January 06, 2021

There’s never a bad time to start a gun club, but there are maybe better times than others. With an emerging global medical police state, the spectre of the most anti-Second Amendment administration in history hanging over the United States, and recurring left-wing riots, now is perhaps the ideal time to start thinking less in terms of gun rights exercised individually and more in terms of collective preparation.

Beyond even preparing for potentially disastrous scenarios, starting your own gun club is just fun. In a time when the powers that be are trying to lock us all in our homes and isolate us as much as possible, forging new social connections might be just what the doctor ordered for you. Practical considerations aside, your own gun club can offer you a kind of social outlet you might not have had since high school or time served in the military.

But saying “start a gun club” is only a good idea – it’s not practical advice. So if you have any interest in starting a gun club, this article will walk you through it. It won’t be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life and, unlike starting a gunsmithing business or some other commercial enterprise, it will likely start to pay dividends sooner rather than later.

Learn by Watching Other Gun Clubs

The best way you can get started with your gun club is by being a member of another one or, at the very least, observing one in action if this is impractical. Even attending a handful of meetings will give you a good idea of how these clubs operate on a weekly basis. While it’s not necessary to have any experience, even a little bit will help you to avoid potential pitfalls when organizing a new group.

You can also use the opportunity to speak to the officers of such a group and to pick their brains. What would they do differently if they had it to do over again? What mistakes did they make when they were first opening up their gun club? Do they recommend incorporating as a for-profit or a not-for-profit enterprise? Why? What are the relative advantages of each? While these are all things that you can easily research for yourself using the Internet, it’s worth talking to someone who has walked the path before you to get a sense of how they would walk it if they had it to do over again.

Another option is to find someone in your area who ran a gun club that went silent. They might be the person to speak to about why they dropped off the radar, what they would do differently and any advice, support or materials they might be able to provide you in your quest to get your gun club up and running. In some cases, it might make sense to restart this gun club if other members are interested in “getting the band back together,” because you start with a built-in community of like-minded folks.

Meeting With Interested Parties

Once you know enough to have a meaningful discussion with interested parties, it’s time to host your first meeting, which won’t be of the gun club itself. Rather you will meet with interested people, as well as members of the community who have valuable input to provide on starting and operating a gun club. Some people you should actively court for their appearance at your first meeting are:

  • A representative of the NRA and potentially other gun owner organizations and Second Amendment advocates. While we understand that there are many who do not like the NRA, they are a valuable resource for anyone wishing to start a gun club and their participation is a must.
  • Government representatives are another area you should scout out. This includes local fish and game wardens, members of the state hunting department or hunting safety coordinators. Such people have a vested interest in ensuring that your gun club operates safely and within the bounds of the law. They will also have valuable advice to offer regarding what works and what doesn’t.
  • People that you met at your adventures scouting out other gun clubs should likewise be invited to your first pre-meeting. Even if you were unable to do this, you should invite officers from local gun and sporting clubs for the input they can provide. While such people tend to be busy, they also tend to be eager to offer information to those seeking to follow in their footsteps.
  • A member of the local planning or zoning board can provide information about legal and logistical hurdles that your gun club will likely encounter.
  • A representative of the local parks and recreation department can advise on similar issues, but also provide you with resources and information about using local outdoor resources.
  • A representative of the local newspaper, particularly if it is a smaller, community-oriented paper will help you to get the word out and likely provide a bit of positive press for your fledgling gun club going forward.
  • A friendly member of the local city council or similar can go a long way toward avoiding any potential legal problems, as well as provide you with information and connections with other people in the community who might be interested in joining or helping out.
  • Representatives from local businesses are always solid invites, and it’s important to be open and broad-minded about who you will invite. Yes, certainly invite the owner of the local guns and ammunition store, but try to think outside the box a bit. Who in your community owns a business that can get a steady stream of paying customers from your gun club?

While you don’t need to have each and every box on this list ticked, the more people from each of these you can have, the better. Chances are good that you’re going to wish you had more input, not that you have too many cooks in the kitchen. That said, as the person organizing the gun club, you will be responsible for sorting through a vast mountain of information and deciding which is best.

Typical Committees of a Gun Club

You might be the one to start the gun club, you might be elected president and you might even have an outsized share of the work. But what you will not do is run the gun club single-handedly. There is simply too much to be done. Thus the work is typically delegated to a variety of committees who are in charge of different aspects of running a gun club. When you first start out, these “committees” might simply be a chair and whoever is willing to help out. It is also likely that there will be a lot of overlap between the memberships of the various committees.

Some common committees in a gun club include:

  • Finance Committee: As one might expect, this is the committee that deals with all financial matters. Balancing the club’s books, raising money, spending money, deciding where money is best invested – these are the tasks of the finance committee.
  • Application and Permits Committee: If you have a gun club, there’s almost a 100-percent chance that, at some point, you’re going to have to fill out an application or obtain a permit. Any legally-minded members of your club would be a natural fit for the application and permit committee, ensuring that all of your paperwork is in order.
  • Clubhouse Committee: What is a club without a clubhouse? A clubhouse solves the problem of where to meet and ultimately should also solve the problem of where you and the boys do your shooting, training and other education together. A clubhouse committee doesn’t simply select the spot, it is responsible for the upkeep of the facility and all related expenses.
  • Facilities and Site Selection Committees: Depending on the size of your club, these committees might be folded into the clubhouse committee, or you might have these instead of a clubhouse committee, or they might be two separate committees entirely. Anything to do with securing a place to operate will fall under the jurisdiction of these committees.

There might be other committees that make sense for your gun club, but these are the main ones you’re going to find at basically any gun club across the country. They also provide you with a good idea of how many members you will need to operate effectively, as well as what tasks are involved in starting and maintaining a gun club.

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