Sunday, December 17, 2017

Doing Well By Doing Good

If Uncle Saw rewarded you for doing good would you consider doing it? Well, actually the government does reward you for doing good. It gives you a tax deduction for donations made to 501(c)(3) non-profits. Even if you don't itemize your deductions many states will give you a tax credit for donations to non-profits over and above the standard deduction.

So in this spirit, I thought I'd point out some organizations that support guns rights, promote (real) firearms safety, defend those who run afoul of arcane or absurd gun laws, and who encourage the shooting sports for the next generation. I have checked and all of these organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations. This is critical as donations to 501(c)(4) organizations are not tax deductible. The deadline for donations to be deductible is midnight on December 31st.

Supporting civil rights lawsuits, filing amicus briefs, and serving as organizational plaintiffs is critical in securing our Second Amendment rights. This is where the Second Amendment Foundation shines. They usually have a large number of lawsuits going in Federal and state courts all the time and are definitely deserving of your money.

Other organizations active in this category would include the Calguns Foundation, the Firearms Policy Foundation, and, to a lesser extent, the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Calguns has been very active in challenging restrictions in California and are often joined in this effort by the Firearms Policy Foundation. MSLF supported the lawsuits challenging the ban on firearms in post office parking lots and a case in Illinois regarding FOID cards for out-of-state residents. The Gun Owners Foundation, a sister organization to GOA, does help support some amicus briefs in important Federal gun rights cases.

Generating good policy research is important to Second Amendment litigation and advocacy in the legislative arena. This is where Prof. John Lott and his Crime Prevention Research Center plays a role. Unlike those in academia who get fat grants from Michael Bloomberg, the Joyce Foundation, and the California Department of Justice, Prof. Lott is dependent on grass roots donations. He runs a lean organization and could use your help.

Supporting those who have had their civil rights abridged like Shaneen Allen is the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. They have cases going in 20 states ranging from Alaska to North Carolina. In NC, they are fighting an improper zoning law decision in Caldwell County that would shut down a shooting range even though ranges are a permitted use. The NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund also is supporting a number of cases in California in conjunction with the state's NRA affiliate California Rifle and Pistol Association.

Supporting similar legal defense work but on a individual state basis are both the Calguns Foundation (see above) in California and the ISRA Legal Assistance Committee in Illinois.

If we want to protect our children in a meaningful sense, it requires safety training for children, community outreach, and defense training for teachers and other school personnel. The NRA Foundation provides grants for education, training, and safety. Likewise, Project Childsafe, which is sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, provides both safety education and devices for securing firearms. They have provided over 37 million gun locks over the years. Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response or FASTER Saves Lives started with the Buckeye Firearms Association and the Buckeye Firearms Foundation. The program provides rigorous violence response training free of charge to school personnel as well as trauma kits to schools.

A true grass roots effort that is deserving of our money is Operation Blazing Sword. Founded in the wake of the Pulse nightclub attack by my friend Erin Palette, it seeks to make firearm safety and familiarization training available to those in the LGBTQ community. It originated with Erin putting together a Google Maps page with links to those who had offered this training for free around the country. It has now become an official non-profit with a 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS.

Getting the next generation active in shooting sports is the mission of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. It both a clays and an action pistol program. The programs reach out to youth from elementary grades through college.

The Safari Club International Foundation supports wildlife conservation around the world, education programs including college scholarships, and humanitarian aid to veterans, food pantries, and many Third World Countries. Also providing aid to veterans is HAVA or Honored American Veterans Afield. This program helps wounded and disabled veterans to transition back to their lives in the US through outdoor and shooting activities.

There are many more state and local 501(c)(3) non-profits out there. These may range from a local 4-H program to a hunter's foot pantry program. Look around your community for these opportunities to do good.

If I have missed an organization that you think is deserving of attention for the good work they do and that are tax-deductible non-profits, let me know in the comments.

NOTE: The links above go directly to the donation pages of the organizations mentioned.

UPDATE: Colorado also has a teacher violence response training program which was modeled on that of Ohio.  FASTER Colorado was started by my friend Laura Carno to bring that training to her state. You can make a tax-deductible donation on the link above. Look at the bottom of the teacher registration page where it says "donate".


  1. HAVA and CalGuns are on my donate list.

  2. I'm struggling to figure out who's worth donating to. I have a Florida emphasis, and while we have some good laws, there are problems that need to be fixed and glaring deficiencies. I already support Florida Carry. For the last three years, NRA A-rated Republicans have killed any attempt to improve the laws in the state. In at least once case, it's the disadvantage of term limits. They don't have to be accountable anymore. Once they get the rating and get into office it's "screw all y'all; I'm taking the money and running for something else".

    At the national level NAGR was revealed as corrupt effort to skim donations a couple of years ago. GOA has got the "let perfect be the enemy of pretty darned good" thing down to a science. This time they have a problem with the FixNICS bill such that they'll kill national reciprocity to kill that provision and I haven't read a single person I respect say that's not minor tweaks to existing law.

    On the national level, is the 2AF all there is in advancing rights?

    1. You could look at something like Operation Blazing Sword which is Florida based or the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation which works with youth around the country. Is there an Izaak Walton League or 4H Club in your area that needs help?