I recently had an opportunity to sit down (virtually at least) with Anthony Colandro, who was elected as the 76th member of the NRA’s Board of Directors last year. For those who don’t know who Colandro is, he’s the man behind Gun For Hire which is a New Jersey staple in the realm of firing ranges. He’s also the voice behind Gun For Hire Radio as well.
Also, like many 2nd Amendment supporters, he’s also no stranger to attacks on his character and conduct via online hit-pieces.
We discussed matters related to online shadow banning and censorship, to the economic effects of the pandemic in New Jersey, to the battle regarding the 2nd Amendment, and the many ongoing caveats related to modern media and the bias that transpires throughout it.
Colandro recently had his LinkedIn and Twitter account suspended, coincidentally right after having attended and posting a video of a rally in New Jersey pertaining to the crisis:
“I woke up Wednesday morning and my LinkedIn account was suspended with no further information. My Twitter account was locked down. All three videos were removed from YouTube, [and] all my Facebook platforms.”
Facebook has noted that the promotion of such events in various states will have event pages removed that promote those efforts.
While speaking with Colandro, I brought up the obvious issues that come with being outspoken about supporting law enforcement. Being the man behind Gun For Hire in New Jersey, he’s worked alongside law enforcement when they’ve utilized his facility to qualify on the range.
More recently, since the range has been closed due to the pandemic, Colandro decided to donate some masks to first responders in his area. The response he got online was mostly great, but there was some mockery he had to endure as well:
“I donated 1000 PPE masks to the police department, EMTs, and the ambulance squad in my town; because we use then to clean my range at night and the range is closed.
I got about 80% positive comments, and about 20% from the people [saying] I’m a boot licker because I gave them away to the police department.”
Colandro also remarked on how certain media outlets are quick to jump on a click-bait title to demonize the likes of him, while conveniently ignoring the giving back he’s done in his community:
“We’ve donated over $400,000 to local charities and other businesses – in and around town. I’m the benchmark when it comes to giving back, because I believe in paying it forward. You never see any of those articles come up when you Google my name on the first five pages of your search.”
Perhaps one of the most resonating notions brought up by Colandro is how modern media is vying to find that one shred of something to paint someone as a villain:
“The media has gone apoplectic; they look for anything.”
During our conversation, Colandro explained that he welcomes any and all at his gun range. He was jovial when he noted the amalgamation of people who come by to Gun For Hire to check out the facility:
“If you visit my range on a Saturday or Sunday, it looks like a combination of the United Nations and Noah’s Ark. And I don’t care what color, what religion you are, you’re welcome to come shoot. And I will come to your house and break bread with you and your family.”
We also talked about the hardships that have been ongoing in his state pertaining to the economic impacts of the pandemic. From what Colandro says, the everyday people of New Jersey are enduring some financially tough times:
“People in our state haven’t gotten unemployment for a long time. I was in ShopRite the other day and an elderly gentleman in front of me went to pay cash, he was $4 and change short. I took a $5 dollar bill out, and I payed it forward, guy had tears in his eyes. He was telling the cashier he had no money left. Like…this was it…this is what he had.”
NorthJersey.com reported on April 23rd that over 850,000 residents from the state had filed for unemployment benefits since the onset of economic shutdown. Yet, the time from one filing to receiving the monetary benefits is all over the place since applications radically surged due to several jobs being deemed “non-essential”.
One thing that Colandro has done with a passion in New Jersey is fighting to uphold the 2nd Amendment. Yet, it’s been an uphill battle for him when going to bat against one piece of legislation after another:
“In New Jersey, fighting gun and civil rights violations – just holding the line – is considered a win for us.”
During the closing of our interview, I asked Colandro what he would say to a non-enthusiast of the 2nd Amendment that he thinks might shift the manner in how they view guns. He offered these words on the topic:
“So, if you were a kid, and your parents told you to list what you wanted for Christmas or Hanukkah and you had to make a list of five things.
You would list important things like a bicycle as number one, and a catcher’s mitt number two. The 2nd amendment is number two for a reason.
Because when this country cut the chains from King George, they had to fight tyranny from the government.
The 2nd Amendment was not designed for hunting; it’s for you to protect yourself and your family from criminals and government tyranny.”
He then offered an analogy that summed up the importance of the 2nd Amendment beautifully:
“Everyone should learn how to use a gun. Because, like a fire extinguisher, you should have it and hope you never have to use it. But if you have to use it, you’re gonna be glad you have it.”
There was a myriad of topics covered during the discussion. You can view the entire 40-minute interview below.
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