“When I come off I93 sometimes [sic] & see a poster advertising MACHINE GUN SHOOT TODAY – frankly I am turned off & really annoyed to see that in our area – great advertising for our corner of NH with all the other gun violence in the nation. Is this what we want our area to be known for?” —Martha “Ma” Richards, Holderness, NH
The Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club in Holderness, started in May of 1941 through the efforts of it’s founder, Rosco Whitcomb with by-laws drawn up by local sportsmen. The “Pemi” remains today, an active and vibrant local community sporting club, and like so many other Fish & Game Clubs, adheres to principles of Conservation of habitat, fish and wildlife propagation and good and ethical sportsmanship. It’s members hail from all ends of the socio-economical demographic and is truly a representative microcosm of the larger society and culture of the area.
In its 70 years of endeavors, The Pemigewasset Fish & Game Club has been both a good neighbor and responsible citizen in Holderness. Several of it’s members teach New Hampshire Hunter Education and Bowhunter education and their instructors can often be found nearby at the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center. I personally know many of them. I have taught Hunter and Bow Hunter Education along side them. The Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club is not only a valued community partner but the club “IS” the community! Most of its’ members, directors and officers were born and raised in this very community and surrounding towns.
Presently, The Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club has come under attack from a small group of elitist leftwing progressive anti-gun neighbors and activists. Martha Richards and her gaggle don’t like guns. We in the gun and sporting arms community fully get that. But what we don’t get is the level of rank ignorance, “Ma Richards” and her merry band of rabble rousers cling to so fervently.
Aside from writing for GraniteGROK, I am the President of the Londonderry Fish & Game Club, The LFGC has, in the past, endured expensive litigation, financial challenges and yes, “bitchy, whiney neighbors.” As a club president, I find something fundamentally wrong with the very notion that people move to a particular area where a long-established sporting club is present, (often times, before those very people were ever born) knowing full well its presence, yet thereafter proceed to cause trouble for clubs through frivolous legal action with lawyers, and misuse and abuse of clubs using zoning as a pretext. That is exactly what this is. Zoning used as a tool and bludgeon for the personal ideological goals of the few noisemakers. The LFGC bore witness to how this emerged as shown in 2009 with this recent New Hampshire Supreme Court Decision.
People disagree. Disagreement and dissent are long-held facets of public discourse. The real problem here is not that Ma Richards and her crowd disagree. We all get the fundamental opposition to guns. We hear it day-in and day out. But to disagree and advance ones’ agenda with rank lies, mischaracterizations, pandering and demagoguing speaks directly to the morality (or lack thereof) in that person…specifically, Martha Richards.
In a recent e-mail, “Ma Richards” states in part,
“( The Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club) have already clear cut a 1000 yd. swath [sic] without permission to start building a 1000 yard (yes, you read correctly) shooting range in order to accommodate big caliber guns…”
Rank untruth. Prior to any tree-cutting, the club underwent the correct permit process for tree cutting and timber harvesting. Richards relies on people not looking at public records. Rather, she hopes they take her at her word…which is false and clearly eschews the truth.
“Big caliber guns” I do not know what that means. I have been to events at the Pemi and the only firearms I saw in use were popular sporting arms in familiar and common calibers. But, not unfamiliar is that particluar demagogic phrase to an anti-gun crowd who knows what they know about guns based on what they see on TV…Many have never been around guns, let alone fired one. This is pure pablum…and rank charlatanry. Perhaps they watched the Terminator too many times when they should have stuck to “Barney and Friends”.
The next statement “Ma Richards” makes is this clown-fest styled iteration…sans bright red nose…
” More machine gun shoots, AK47’s, cannons, who knows what else!”
“AK-47’s” Bet she heard that from a newscast. “Machine Guns” and “cannons” are legal to own and possess (Class III —National Firearms Act.) To own such firearms, the process is very detailed, expensive and not at all easy. Machine gun use at shooting ranges is a lawful activity. This characterization by Ma Richards is merely gratuitous demagoguery intended only to smear the Pemi. Ma Richards obviously seeks a template appeal to the anti-gunaudience. Misnomers like “assault weapon” are bandied about by this crowd. They love that one, so look for it in the future. Right up there with, “Jumbo Shrimp,” and “Military Intelligence.”
Ma Richards continues,
“Weekend campers/RV’s (no proper disposal dump is ther either) .”
I am curious how she knows this. In checking with folks, I know of nobody that can attest to Ma Richards ever showing up at the Pemi during events. The larger question is, “Has she ever been to the Pemi?” I have been to the Pemi during a whole bunch of events and can tell you this is a lie.
And yet, more from Ma Richards:
“For years they have done as they wanted & sadly our town officials have not always enforced the RSA’s that govern many of these activities.”
Ma Richards fails to make that case. I am curious exactly what Revised Statutes Annotated that, a) the club has disregarded; and, b) the town has failed to enforce. Noisy prune-picking liberals like her can be counted on 100% of the time to hold our feet to the fire and insist upon (often times, for nothing more than pedantic reasons) clubs and ranges following the strictest letter of the law.
Clubs now have the budget line item “Legal” for this very reason. Any effort undertaken nowadays nearly always involves costly legal hurdles and noisy opposition. We as Club administrators and executives have sadly accepted this new reality. Yet, Ma Richards and her ilk will still paint clubs as “lawbreakers.” It is a lie that persists like herpes and cheap luggage.
Lastly, I fail to understand why the The Pemigewasset Valley Fish & Game Club is even seeking a variance. A variance defined is a process where an applicant requests deviation from municipal zoning rules pertaining to land use and land development..i.e. a zoning ordinance, building code or municipal code.
The range in question is not an expanded use, nor is it a deviation or alteration outside of its current and present use. 159-B:3 Expansion, states,
“Subsequent physical expansion of the shooting range or change in the types of firearms in use at the range shall not establish a new date of commencement of operations for the portion or portions in existence prior to the expansion for the purposes of this chapter.”
Martha Richards is dishonest and a liar. Her Charlatanry in linking gun violence across the nation with the events of this club is not only ignorant, but uncreative and lacking novelty. We have all heard it before. Does it get any more dishonest than that? She attacks Law abiding citizens lawfully using guns at a range…and yet, that isn’t even the issue here!
Ma Richards is an anti-gun liberal…A Moon bat. But, the real problem is that many “sheeple” will listen to Ma Richards. This is why it is important for Club leadership everywhere to be open and transparent with their processes as they undertake these efforts. People need to decide for themselves, but Ma Richards would gladly decide for them, if they allow her to do so. Lets not adopt the dictates of the stupid few…