Rotary International goes anti-gun
The group's international governing body has taken steps it says are intended to clear up any ambiguities in its bylaws regarding guns, gun shows, raffles, and sponsorships. But some see it as a move to make lawful gun owners unwanted inside its ranks:
A letter announcing the rules, set to take effect in on July 1, claimed they were a response to “a lack of clarity around RI’s policy … when participating in activities involving guns, weapons, and other armaments, and when interacting with gun companies, including for sponsorship purposes.”
The new rules – codified in Chapter II, Article 2, Section 2.100 of Rotary Code of Policies – unfortunately feature their own ambiguities and contradictions.
But one thing is clear: Those who prize America’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, or who simply appreciate the many benefits of owning firearms, are no longer welcomed within the group’s ranks.
The new policy bans any Rotary entity – including clubs and districts – from selling, raffling, or transferring firearms. It also bans these entities from participating in activities where any sort of firearm raffle or other transfer occurs, whether or not Rotary is the owner of the items. Rotary entities are also prohibited from sponsoring or conducting gun shows or other exhibitions involving guns.
The new policy even bans Rotary entities from “accept[ing] sponsorship from any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacturer of guns, weapons or other armaments.” The policy manual goes on to classify such items as “addictive or harmful products and activities.”
While the policy does not go so far as to completely ban Rotary events involving sport shooting or other handling of firearms, it does state: “In no instance shall any of the Rotary Marks be used in any visual that includes guns, weapons or other armaments.” Further, “The Rotary Marks may not be used in combination with the name or logo of any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacture of guns, weapons or other armaments.”
Some have pointed out the hypocrisy of the “primary business” clause, which would allow high-volume manufacturers or retailers of firearms to associate with Rotary and participate in its functions, so long as the company made more money from other lines of business. Yet that same language serves to punish and exclude small “mom and pop” type firearms dealerships.
Also, sport shooting events or firearms education are good enough to occur under Rotary’s auspices but they may not be memorialized on film as such.
Rotary International, a private organization, is prefectly free to set whatever bylaws, guidelines, and restrictions it wishes on its members. But those members who are also Second Amendment supporters are equally free to seek a change in those rules. Or to decide they no longer want anything to do with a group that appears to think Second Amendment freedoms are meaningless.