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The National Rifle Association

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The National Rifle Association (NRA)

As George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton spokesman once said:

Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their Congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time.(qtd. in The NRA is indeed all of these things, with programs to benefit a variety of Americans, sponsorship of one of Americas oldest sports, and as an organization that will stand up for its political beliefs regarding the Second Amendment. (

Formed in 1872 when military leaders were disappointed with the marksmanship of their soldiers, the NRA has always faced political opposition for promoting marksmanship. Although it was founded largely with the aid of financial help from New York state, in 1892, opposition forced it to close its first range in Long Island and relocate to New Jersey. This is dually discussed (;

The NRA's began promoting shooting sports for youths in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones encouraged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. By 1906, more than 200 boys were competing in matches. This tradition is carried forward to today, where more than one million youths participate in NRA and affiliated group events such as 4-H, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, U.S. Jaycees to name a few. (

In 1934, the Legislative Affairs division was formed in response to repeated attacks against the Second Amendment. Since the NRA did not directly lobby during this time, the primary responsibility of this division was to notify the members quickly of legislative events and facts. The NRA magazine, The American Rifleman, published the information, however it was not disseminated quickly enough to achieve any effect by the members in response to these attacks. In 1975, they realized that this was not effective enough. The NRA formed the Institute for Legislative Action(ILA) to focus on the politics that effect the NRA and the Second Amendment. (

When World War II happened, the association volunteered its ranges to the government, developed training materials, and encouraged members to support the military any way possible even if it was reloading ammunition for those guarding war plants. Also in the 1940's, the NRA also began to branch out into different areas of gun use. In 1949, the NRA, in conjunction with the state of New York , established the first hunter education program. Due to increasing interest in hunting, NRA launched a new magazine in 1973, The American Hunter, and began the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). (

In 1960, the NRA became the only national trainer of law enforcement officers with the introduction of its NRA Police Firearms Instructor certification program that is still in use today. In 1980's, they established the Eddie Eagle® Gun Safety Program to teach young children to: STOP. DON'T TOUCH. LEAVE THE AREA. TELL AN ADULT. (

In the 1990's, they introduced Refuse To Be A Victim® seminars to help people develop their own personal safety plan using common sense strategies. Also in the 1990's, the NRA decided to secure the financial stability of firearms-related activities would be available now and for future generations. To facilitate this they established the NRA Foundation. The NRA Foundation is the country's leading charitable organization that supports shooting sports, awarding more than $70 million during the last two decades . Foundation grants provide program funding to ensure that training and gun education are available throughout the nation. This is addressed multiple times in (;

Some people feel that the NRA are only representatives of gun manufacturers and promote extremist values regarding the Right to Bear Arms that have no consideration to the safety or violence in our society. This is not their purpose, however, and they are not just a faceless Association. They are composed of over 3 million law abiding American citizens that have the common goals of encouraging safe and responsible gun ownership and of helping protect constitutional rights. (web wonks. org)

One of these 3 million NRA members, Gary L. Simmons (, clearly illustrates the strong feelings behind the NRA purpose of protecting constitutional rights by saying:

If you can just put aside the demonizing words of a partisan and unabashedly biased national media for a moment and do your own research into the facts you will see that the Second Amendment to the constitution of the United States is not an outdated 225 year old mistake that needs to be erased from the constitution any more than the freedom to assemble peaceably and yes, even the "freedom of speech". The right to keep and bear arms is at least as important as any of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights that our ancestors have continued to fight and die for to protect since the founding of this nation. These rights and the body of the Constitution of the United States of America are vital to maintaining this fragile thing we call freedom.

The NRA Foundations mission statement is also indicative of the purposes of the NRA by stating:

[In] support of a wide range of firearm related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations that defend and foster the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans. These activities are designed to promote firearms and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills of those participating in the shooting sports, and to educate the general public about firearms in their historic, technological and artistic context. Funds granted by the NRA Foundation benefit a variety of constituencies throughout the United States. (

According to Congress (qtd. in information on foreign country gun laws states:

From available statistics, among the [27] countries surveyed, it is difficult to find a correlation between the existence of strict firearms regulations and a lower incidence of gun-related crimes. [I]n Canada a dramatic increase in the percentage of handguns used in all homicides was reported during a period in which handguns were most strictly regulated. And in strictly regulated Germany , gun-related crime is much higher than in countries such as Switzerland and Israel , that have simpler and/or less restrictive legislation.

This further illustrates why the NRA feels so strongly that more regulations would not only impede our constitutional freedom, but do little to modify the gun violence that



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