I’m writing this in response to a recent stir about my intent to run for an NRA board seat.

I first joined the NRA when I decided to attend the NRA Range Development course in 2005. I was there to learn about private range operations and the hurdles of getting shooting ranges approved in California. I learned that getting a shooting range approved in California is almost harder than getting Spotted Owl on the menu at a Sierra Club gala.

I took military leave from the SEAL sniper course to attend the Las Vegas NRA Range Development conference in 2005. I remember sitting in the conference room as the attendees were going around the room introducing themselves, “Joe from Colorado, gun show owner”, “Bob from Montana, gun smith…” When it came to my turn, I stood up, kept a straight face, and told them I was a representative of the Sierra Club who was attending to find ways to shut down shooting ranges across the nation. I’m pretty sure one guy had a stroke, and the rest were just north of apoplectic. When I told them I was bullshitting them and gave them my background as a Navy SEAL, the tension disappeared and the room erupted in laughter.

I never shot much as a kid, aside from shooting clay pidgeons off the bow of the boat I worked on. I hunted quite a bit, but it was with my spear gun, not a rifle. I learned to shoot in the Navy, and only became an expert with a weapon by the time I finished my first SEAL platoon work up. It was there that I was given a shot to attend sniper school with my best friend Glen Doherty (later killed in Benghazi, Libya).