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I feel the need to address the community due to what appears to be some misunderstanding about what Northwest Firearms is and is not.

To put it plainly, the current atmosphere in many parts of this site is downright toxic. I've said many times before that this liberal vs conservative, non-firearm content is going to tear gun owners apart, and I'm watching it happen right before my eyes. We have longtime members complaining about the hostility here, some asking for their accounts to be deactivated and citing the belief that the site has become too extreme. My own co-workers and two of my family members have said the same thing, and they're not wrong. I'm done with it. I'm done with working 60 hours a week, 40 of those for less than minimum wage, and not getting to enjoy the fruits of my labor because I'm dealing with issues caused by content never meant to be posted on NWFA.

Northwest Firearms was built to support gun owners of the Northwest by providing them a place to learn, converse, trade, volunteer, and organize. Political action carried out ourselves was never a goal, the reason being that there are already many more qualified organizations to which we would direct people. Our goal with Northwest Firearms, as far as 'where we fit into the landscape', is to be the very first step for new or potential gun owners, working with every party to bring people together on the topic of guns and guns only. I'll say it again, Northwest Firearms should be political party agnostic, focusing only on whether one is pro or anti-gun. I'm not saying don't fight that political fight, only that this is not the place for partisan politics. We're not playing the 'firearm-related through connecting the dots' game anymore.

I have more political experience that most, and I'm not stupid. I know that by and large Democrats favor gun control and Republicans generally support our rights. However, for the work we're trying to do here it's nearly irrelevant. We are not positioning ourselves to take part in that fight, let alone get involved with the anti-government movement. In my lifetime I've never seen people so divided among political lines, which is exactly what both parties want. If you think the Republicans wouldn't repeal the 2nd Amendment in exchange for a guaranteed 20 years in office you're fooling yourself.

Our goal of getting new people interested and involved in gun ownership can't possibly be achieved if they come here and see anything other than a warm, welcoming environment. How many people do you think would join the military if they were given a tour of a war zone beforehand? Anything other than a respectful, friendly, mature atmosphere is absolutely, unmistakably counter-productive, regardless of the 'issue of the day' picked up by the media (this includes WND and Infowars!). I know what the battle lines look like, and we need more soldiers on our side of the fight. Being divisive, boorish, and unwelcoming is not how we get them. A friendly, approachable, moderate person who gets ten new people shooting during his lifetime is far more valuable than one who votes 'correctly' every time but alienates those around him. It is *impossible* to defend firearm rights in solid blue states (and growing more so each day) by alienating people who identify with the party in total control of the government. Identify the ones who are pro-gun and befriend them; stop throwing them out with the bathwater.

I put the blame solely on myself for letting things get the way they are here, and thereby allowing us to stray from our intended goal. While we want as many members as we can get, there are literally thousands of other websites which would gladly welcome those who don't understand what I'm trying to get across here. I've put everything I have into this site, time, money, my youth, and the most productive working years of my life. Win lose or draw, I personally can't continue working as hard as I do here while others more or less work against my goals. I'm not saying you have to agree with me, I'm not even saying I'm right, but this is my baby and nobody has more invested in this than I do. If I'm wrong here I will surely face the consequences, but that's a gamble I'm taking (versus taking a six-figure offer to sell).

In the coming months I'm going to be focusing efforts on getting us back on track. For starters, I'm introducing a new rule today pertaining to acceptable behavior between members. It's more of a behavioral guideline, but it will allow us to take corrective action. This pettiness and negativity has got to stop if Northwest Firearms is to continue. We can't do this alone, this is going to have to be a group effort. If everyone could help out by reporting posts that go against this rule it will go a long way in making this community a better place. Some, maybe many, will find new favorite websites. I wish them luck but I won't be dwelling on it. I'm confident the core group of people here who do understand will stick around and work toward this goal with me.

Thank You,
Joe Link

Note: This thread is locked. If you would like to talk about it privately feel free to <broken link removed>.
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