NSSF chides Rotary Club for its new gun policy

Rotarian and longtime Ruger employee Randell Pence speaks at a Rotary Club in Lebanon, Tennessee, in Sept. 2016 (Photo: Lebanon Democrat)

Rotarian and longtime Ruger employee Randell Pence speaks at a Rotary Club in Lebanon, Tennessee, in September 2016. (Photo: Lebanon Democrat)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has lambasted the Rotary International Board for issuing a new policy that would limit gun-related activities at all Rotary Clubs around the globe.

According to a letter from Rotary International Director Bradford R. Howard, the 18-member board decided in 2016 there was “a lack of clarity around RI’s policy governing Rotary clubs, districts, and other Rotary Entities when participating in activities involving guns, weapons, and other armaments, and when interacting with gun companies, including for sponsorship purposes. To address this lack of clarity, the board and RI staff gave an extensive review of our current policy, the various factors to consider and the implications.”

So at its January 2017 meeting, the board decided to adopt some prohibitive changes. According to Howard, notable revisions include:

  • Prohibiting Rotary clubs, districts and other Rotary Entities from transferring ownership of weapons
  • Prohibiting clubs, districts and Rotary Entities from conducting or sponsoring gun shows
  • Prohibiting clubs, districts and Rotary Entities from accepting sponsorships from gun/weapon companies or stores, and preventing use of Rotary’s logo with the name or logo of a gun/weapon company or store
  • Prohibiting clubs, districts and Rotary Entities from using any visual that includes weapons
  • Prohibiting licensing by RI of guns or weapons

Despite the above changes, Rotary clubs will still be allowed to conduct shooting events, such as skeet shooting and turkey shoots.

Larry Keane, Senior Vice President and Assistant Secretary of the NSSF, has voiced stern opposition to the revisions, saying that the language “reads like a UN resolution written by bureaucrats who really don’t know much about firearms and certainly not how Americans lawfully use them.”

Keane argues that Americans “have a different view of firearms here and are proud of our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms and to participate in the various shooting sports. And while we are certain that firearms retailers and ranges and some of our manufacturing companies or distributors have worked with Rotary Clubs on fundraising projects and community events, we are not aware of any problems ever arising.”

As of now, the revisions to the Rotary code are scheduled to take effect on July 1.