I had a little extra time to kill this weekend so I went into the National Firearms Museum at NRA HQ in Fairfax, VA.

First, the signs are clearly posted outside how to get in.  Good.  Then, when I get to the clearly marked door, I find it is locked.  So I loiter, looking for a sign posting the hours of the museum so I can see if it is closed.  While I wait, I hear the voice of a foreign guy, speaking to me through a speaker, mounted near the door.

He tells me I can come in, but I can’t bring a camera, camera bag or smartphone (one with a camera).  Then he mumbles something about “promising not to use it”.   So, I promise and then go inside.

I understand why they have such a stupid policy.  But did I mention that it is a stupid policy?  Did I mention that they have their own security cameras inside?  Did I mention that I would think they would be negligent if they did not have those cameras?

So, what’s the point of telling the general public, “no cameras”?  This isn’t 1985.  Everyone has a phone with a camera on it.  Even my 70 year old parents.  You have to pay extra for a phone without a camera. 

Seriously.  The NRA needs to update their risk assessment and determine if they are really protecting themselves from anything with this policy or if it is just stupid.  I can save them some effort:  It’s just stupid.   The ubiquitous camera phone is a part of modern life.  Deal with it. 

Cameras are also not permitted in the shooting range.   Again, deal with it.  Cameras do not create an unreasonable safety hazard.  But those anal retentive gun safety nazis at the NRA think every possible distraction is a reason to throw you out.  (we won’t discuss the possible distraction of a 30-06 going off in the position to your left). 

Come on guys, just be rational and have policies that reflect the real world. 

Highlight of the Gun museum:  2 genuine Light Sabres from the movie Star Wars (used in the filming).

Letdown:  I like the engineering and manufacturing story behind weapons development.  I like to see the machines that made them possible,  not just row upon row of flintlocks and wheel locks. 

Why I had time to kill:  2 hour wait to get a lane in the shooting range.  i finally gave up and went home without firing a shot.  All those other newbies with their brand new guns fresh from last week’s gun show needed it more than I.  When all those guns  get put away and forgotten on some back closet shelf (unloaded, locked with the approved locking device and out of reach of children), as they will as surely as a new years resolution to lose weight will fail by February 1st, then I can go back again.

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About Professor Hale

Currently living in Virginia
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3 Responses to The NRA

  1. heresolong says:

    The rows and rows of nearly identical old guns was equally uninteresting at the museum in Cody. Unfortunately my buddy thought they were great and had to look at every single one. I started wishing there was a movie theater.

    Sorry to hear about the two hour line ups. The club I belong to has never had more than six people shooting at one time any time I have been there. Not sure how they stay in business, but since it’s a club, not a for-profit range, I guess they can afford to have slow times.

  2. Tarl says:

    What is the ostensible purpose of the “no cameras inside the museum” policy?

  3. The nominal purpose is crime prevention. Criminals ALWAYS use their camera phones to case a joint (technical terminology–try to keep up) before they hit it. If they can’t take pictures of the potential loot and security arrangements, they will just call the whole thing off. Terrorists behave the same way. And criminals and terrorists don’t know you can buy concealed pin hole cameras on Ebay for under $50. So this policy totally works.

    The more important and higher probability use is to control the information campaign. News organizations would love to take pictures of all the window-lickers in the museum with their little pig noses pressed up against the glass admiring one of the 63 Assault weapons of 1875: the 45-70 Govt Sharps rifle. No stock pictures = less interesting footage = less convincing arguments for low-information voters.

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