If It Is To Be,
It's Up To Me:

The Little-Known Backstory of the United States Concealed Carry Association

If It Is To Be, It's Up To Me:

The Little-Known Backstory of the
United States Concealed Carry Association

Chapter 13:

And Then I Went to Atlanta and Walked Around All Alone

Tim: Well, I decided to attend the NRA Annual Meeting anyway.

Roy: Wait, I thought they said you couldn’t attend?

Tim: No, they just said we couldn’t have a booth there. I’m a Lifetime NRA Member, so I just figured I’d show up by myself and say hello to some of my fellow USCCA members and supporters.

Roy: Oh, OK, that makes sense.

Tim: So I’m walking around the NRA Annual Meeting as an outsider because my company wasn’t allowed to be there anymore. As I’m walking around, I see banner after huge banner advertising the NRA’s new Carry Guard program.

As it turns out, the one employee who spoke up at the emergency meeting was right. The NRA Carry Guard program was designed to compete directly with USCCA Membership.

That meeting back in late 2016 with Wayne LaPierre’s right-hand man was ALL about intelligence gathering. I have to hand it to them; they really pulled the wool over my eyes.

Roy: Wow, how did that make you feel?

Tim: Hmm … I guess I felt a bit betrayed, but at the same time, I felt excited. I was excited because the USCCA had become big enough to get noticed.

And the groundswell of support from USCCA members was overwhelming.

Roy: What do you mean, “support”?

Tim: Well, there are over 80,000 NRA members at these annual meetings, so it makes sense that I’d run into some of my fellow USCCA members as well.

And that’s exactly what happened!

I could barely walk down the corridors without people coming up to me and saying things like:

“Hey, Tim, sorry to hear what the NRA did to you. I’m a proud USCCA member, and I don’t think they should have kicked you out!”

It was a tough weekend for me, but I was really glad I attended.

Oh … one more thing. You’re not going to believe this.

Roy: What?

Tim: Halfway through the second day, a messenger reaches out to me and says Colonel Bob Brown wants to see me again.

Roy: You’re kidding.

Tim: Nope. I’m not kidding.

It was hard not to reflect back on that first meeting with Colonel Brown back in 2006.

Roy: You mean the meeting when he crushed your dream?

Tim: He didn’t crush my dream. He just gave me some honest feedback on just how hard it is to publish a successful magazine, let alone start a national firearms education and training organization. I honestly think he was just trying to save me from certain bankruptcy.

Roy: Well, how did the second meeting go?

Tim: I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

As it turned out, Colonel Brown had no memory of our first meeting 11 years earlier, and that’s OK. So now I’m sitting down with this famous veteran who was also a famous mercenary for many years and he publishes a hugely famous magazine. AND … he’s keenly aware of the USCCA and what we do!

This is the meeting I was hoping for back in 2006.

Roy: It must have felt good.

Tim: Yeah, it really did.

I’ll never forget sitting in that VIP lunchroom and listening to Colonel Brown talk about how pissed he was over the NRA’s lack of character and how furious he was about them screwing us over.

He said, “Tim, anything I can do to support you, let me know, because this is bullshit. The NRA shouldn’t be dicking around in your space.”

I politely listened and then I thanked him for the lunch he bought me.

Roy: So how does the NRA Carry Guard Membership compare to USCCA Membership?

Tim: Well … why don’t you Google “NRA Carry Guard” and see what it says. I’m not a big fan of throwing rocks at my competitors.

Roy: [30 seconds later] Wow. Wow. Wow…

Tim: What did you find?

Roy: This is from a website called “TheTruthAboutGuns.com:”

“The NRA rolled out its Carry Guard insurance program in 2017 with great fanfare. Now, a mere two years later, not only has NRA Carry Guard ceased accepting new customers, but existing participants have received notices of cancellation.”

Tim: They lasted two years. Now they’re gone.

Roy: What is your honest opinion of the NRA?

Tim: Roy, I believe in the natural born right of free people to defend themselves … to defend their families and loved ones. The founders of our country understood this, and they affirmed this right in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We talked about this before: Police officers are not here to be our personal bodyguards. If you want your family to be safe, well, then that responsibility is on you.

And that’s what I do at the USCCA. I give everyday citizens the tools, the training and the education to be the protectors and defenders of their families. It’s simple, and it’s effective.

I feel like I mentioned this before, but our training and education has saved over 100,000 lives.

Nobody wants to use their gun in self-defense. And the more USCCA education and training you get, well, the less of a chance you’ll ever have to pull the trigger.

Roy: Tim, you’re dodging the question. Please tell me your honest opinion about the NRA.

Tim: [Sigh] OK. At this moment in time — September of 2020 — I feel the NRA has turned into primarily a political and legislative organization that, for the most part, attempts to affect laws by using fear and the threat of mass gun confiscation.

I feel the NRA has turned into an organization that is not responsible with the money that their members give them when you consider the value that they actually provide. I feel like they’ve kind of been corrupted, from the inside, mismanaged. I don’t think they’ve come up with any new safety curriculum since the ’70s. They’ve just gone in a very different direction.

Roy: Do you ever worry that your organization will be seduced by the fame and money of political influence?

Tim: No. I’m going to tell you something here that’s going to blow your mind: The United States Concealed Carry Association is ALL about education and training … and that education and training allows our members to avoid danger, save lives and keep their families safe.

We’re primarily an organization of learning and knowing what to do and what not to do with the gun so that you never have to use the damn thing. Because the last thing you want to do is pull the trigger, because nothing good is going to come out of that.

I mean, if you have to, if you’re going to save the life of someone, then, of course, you have to do it, but then you also have to be prepared to deal with the consequences.

But with our education and training, there’s a very, very high chance that first of all, you won’t even be in that situation. You won’t allow yourself to get in that situation. You’ll be able to de-escalate the threat because you have threat de-escalation skills. You will have been taught hyper-awareness skills that will help you mitigate those situations.

Save lives. Keep your family safe.

Avoid danger. Avoid danger. Avoid danger. Avoid danger.

This is the heartbeat of every employee and every certified trainer. Avoid danger. Avoid danger. Avoid danger. But when danger can’t be avoided, you have to know how to overcome it.

Your only other option is to be a willing victim and allow others to be victims as well.

Roy: That was a pretty good sermon. I was starting to get worried you were about to take up an offering.

Tim: [Laughter] I guess I can get a little bit worked up.

Roy: You guess?

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