Well we’ve come to a close on the first LGC Membership survey, and it was an interesting exercise to go through. I’m not going to dissect all the bits and pieces in this spot, but there were some things that we felt were worth highlighting as we begin to go through the numbers. But before I do that, it’s probably important to talk a bit about why the survey in the first place- as in why now, and what are we hoping to accomplish with it.
In 2008 the Liberal Gun Club was founded by Mark who saw a need in the world for a place that would help those of use who were left of center (and given the changing politics in the United States, that encompasses some folks who traditionally would have certainly been considered conservative 30 or 40 years ago), and that there was a need for those folks to be able to get training without feeling like their personal politics were under attack just by the nature of being in the room with a right wing instructor. So we grew, in fits and starts, over the next couple of years, after getting our first training certified by a couple of states, including MA and MI, and as happens sometimes with volunteer organizations, Mark had to step away from the organization due to life, and Ed took over as the Executive director- Formally in 2014.
Over the years we’ve had annual meetings every year, worked on policy issues with tons of helps from our active membership,which had plenty of disagreements, and in 2016 after our 2015 annual meeting in Vegas, decided to take some additional steps to adapt our organization to the evolving desires of our members to be more active in a couple of areas. With that we set out to add our Defensive Pistol Course to our instructors class roster, working with Grant Cunningham to create what we feel is one of the finest classes out there that can, in a single short day, leave students with useful information whether they decide to Concealed Carry or not. Over the 2014 through 2016 time frame, some additional pressures came on to the club, as the California Chapter grew it’s membership substantially thanks to some great efforts in getting press and attention on the chapter and club as a whole, but it also pushed us into a slightly more political role, as we realized, as most of our members do, that particularly in some states, it’s inexorably linked with our mission of education, getting groups on the left to understand that firearm rights are indeed a leftist position as well, and that gun restriction laws are firmly rooted in our countries racial oppression laws from the last few centuries.
So on to the present- our membership survey. In order to get a better feel for the folks that are a part of the club, we issued three separate surveys. One to our existing members, one to our lapsed members, and one to our Facebook followers who are not members. We also have a ton of new people on board, with just over half of you being new members!
We learned some interesting stuff about each of the three groups, and it was an important gauge of our folks to ensure that our currently outlined policy positions were still in line with what you want us to stand for. Overwhelmingly on the issues, our members agree with the the stated positions of the club.
We also found that there were some things we can improve on. Some folks are members with us but don’t follow the forums or Facebook- in some cases they weren’t aware that we’ve been out in the press, tackling complex issues, and growing the audience. So m ore work to be done from a communication perspective- as it doesn’t matter what you do if people don’t realize it.
The poll also showed that folks want more in person meets, so we’re putting together an online calendar where those can be organized, along with getting a calendar in place for our instructors so that in the states where we have folks certified, we can point prospective students to the calendar to sign up for classes.
Speaking of communication, in case you missed it, we DO have three different levels of classes now! We have an Introduction to Range Shooting, Basic Firearms Safety, and Defensive Pistol. Each one is designed to ensure that our students are walking away with useful knowledge that they can apply immediately after the class. They are all designed to have live fire exercises, and are only taught by LGC certified instructors!
One of the other key things that came to light from all three surveys is that there is a desire to have the club get more political. We’ve shied away from most of that at the national level, leaving it up to the local clubs to take a more political stance in their states, but over the last couple of years we have had added a national spokesperson, Lara Smith, as well as dissecting some of the more egregious gun laws that have come to light.
More to come on the survey overall, but I’ll leave you with this.
Overwhelmingly on the “Are you interested in volunteering time and/or expertise for the LGC?” question people indicated they wanted to help. And we could definitely use your help! Here’s some things that you can do to help right now:
- Be willing to teach a basic range safety program. It’s short. You’ve probably already taught some version of this to friends and family members- email us to talk about a basic certification. Whether you want to charge for it or do it pro-bono, we have new shooters reaching out to us all the time, and having a friendly face to get them out the first time is huge!
- We could still use a Merchandise Director. It’s an area that really needs some work, but it’s also not something that will take a ton of time. You don’t have to create the art!
- Form a chapter! You just need 5 like minded folks to get the chapter set up, and in a good chunk of the country, the people are there, they just need a push- that can be you
- Coordinate the annual meeting activities! We are working on the agenda/location, and volunteers are what we need to make for another great annual meeting.
Anyway, thanks for taking part in the survey, and thanks for being a part of this- we are serious when we say that we wouldn’t be here without your support!
In the next few weeks, we’ll add some comments about the other two groups we surveyed, Facebook followers and prior members.
If you’ve made it this far and haven’t donated or joined yet, we would love to have your monetary support. Helps to keep the lights on and whatnot- and memberships start at just $10 a year.
The Liberal Gun Club