Gun owners are generally more politically engaged than most segments of the population. They’re engaged and willing to battle to preserve their Second Amendment rights.
However, there are groups out there that talk a big game but don’t seem to do much of anything, at least as far as some folks can tell.
One group–or, more specifically, a network of groups–is being called out by the media as being just that.
Minnesota Gun Rights, a group that promotes itself as a registered nonprofit, had its tax-exempt status revoked in 2016 and hasn’t been reinstated, a FOX 9 investigation has found.
The group’s nonprofit status is the latest question to be raised about the group’s operations in Minnesota. For years, lawmakers and other pro-gun organizations have accused the organization of taking donations while doing little to advance the cause of gun owners.
Ben Dorr, the group’s political director, initially told FOX 9 that Minnesota Gun Rights is an active nonprofit and said questions about the issue were “fake news.” But later, he and his brother Chris acknowledged that they had not filed the proper forms with the Internal Revenue Service and would correct the issue.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s officeissued a Feb. 6 inquiry requesting that the group register with the office or cite an exemption.
“It has come to the attention of this office that Minnesota Gun Rights may be soliciting charitable contributions in Minnesota without being registered as required by the Minnesota Charitable Solicitation Act,” wrote Julie Brengman, the attorney general’s charities registrar.
Now, of course, this is the mainstream media, and we all know how trustworthy it is.
However, Minnesota Gun Rights is part of an entire “network” of groups in ten different states all with websites boasting an identical layout.
In and of itself, no big deal. Why wouldn’t groups share information and personnel when they’re all ultimately in it for a common goal? However, I’m going to urge you to read the whole of the above-linked article, because some hinky-looking things are going on.
For one thing, there’s this part from the article:
Concerns about the group’s lobbying efforts have been raised for years, and many of the concerns have come from Republicans.
Sixteen state representatives — five Democrats and 11 Republicans, including then-House Speaker Kurt Daudt — wrote a 2015 letter to constituents and gun owners warning them that Minnesota Gun Rights was a “fake” group. The organization “relies on constant postal mailings, warning you of terrible gun control if you don’t send them money,” the lawmakers wrote.
“They’re not working with us, and they’re not working for you,” they said.
I’m troubled by this. Groups like this can bring in a whole lot of money, yet it sounds like at least this one isn’t bringing any results for those who “donate.” It’s not a non-profit, yet it’s presenting itself as such.
At least one group in the “network,” Georgia Gun Owners, fails to show up in Guidestar as well. Another, Missouri Firearms Coalition, does, however.
Look, I’m not sure what’s going on here. I will say that when a group is hitting you up looking for money, it behooves you to make sure it’s legitimate. If it’s not registered as a non-profit, don’t treat it like one. Further, make sure it’s doing work it says it’s doing. Talk to lawmakers to see if they’re seeing lobbyists from these groups. Make sure the group’s legitimate.
Now, what constitutes legitimacy? That’s your call. Minnesota Gun Owners (which shouldn’t be confused with another group, Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus) does appear to be involved in rallies and things of that sort, which certainly make them look legitimate and may well be enough for you.
Just be cautious and expect to see more on this topic in the future.