The city of Durango has given notice to the Durango Gun Club: The nonprofit must either abandon its new requirement that each of its 700 members join the National Rifle Association, or the club must vacate its Florida Road premises, which the club has leased free from the city since 1963.
The Durango Herald first reported the clubâ€™s December decision to become a â€ś100 percent NRA clubâ€ť last week. According to the clubâ€™s new bylaws, membership in the club is dependent on continued membership in the NRA; if you quit the NRA, you quit the club.
A few things. First, it is clear (if you read the entire article) that it is the Durango Herald (an anti-gun newspaper) that stirred up all the trouble in the first place. They are the ones that encouraged citizens to petition the city to revoke the lease.
Secondly, it is obvious that the City of Durango itself is biased against the NRA because the city attorney wrote this to the club:
â€śAs I am sure you are aware, the NRA has changed rather significantly over the years and has now become, through the choice of the organization, a symbolic agency for relatively extreme political conservatism. There certainly is nothing inherently wrong with this,â€ť Smith wrote.
Well obviously there is, Mr. Smith.
If the city is going to allow private clubs to lease public property, does that mean the clubs give up their right to freedom of association?
Update 3/21: The club has dropped the NRA membership requirement:
Days after being threatened with eviction by the city of Durango, the Durango Gun Club, a nonprofit, is dropping its new requirement that each of its 700 members join the National Rifle Association.
In a letter from Durango Gun Club President John Malarsie delivered by hand to the city Wednesday, Malarsie writes that the club â€świll voluntarily suspend this membership requirement.â€ť
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