Do you really know what the NRA is and fully understand its purpose? If you watch the mainstream media, the answer is most definitely a “no.” In fact, the media portrays the NRA as exactly the opposite of what it is. Intrigued? Read on.
The National Rifle Association, or NRA, is the longest standing civil rights organization in the United States. Despite what you may have seen on TV, the NRA does not sell guns or lobby for gun manufacturers. It has one single purpose: to preserve and protect the integrity of the Second Amendment.
NRA: Brief History
The NRA was formed in 1871, just after the Civil War. Many of the casualties on both sides were from friendly fire, and American troops needed a way to improve their marksmanship skills. Chartered in the state of New York, the first NRA training center was started by Union veteran officers Colonel William Church and General George Wingate. All American citizens were welcome to come for training, education, safety, and marksmanship.
In 1903, the NRA expanded their mission onto college and military campuses, by promoting shooting sports teams. As interest and needs grew, many public ranges and training facilities were built across the country. Here is a brief timeline of the last 150 years:
- WW2 government trained all troops at NRA facilities
- In 1949, the NRA rolled out the Hunter Education program, which is still the most comprehensive gun safety course in existence.
- By 1956, the NRA was the ONLY national trainer of law enforcement
- In 1985, the Youth Hunter Education was rolled out, and is still free to take
- In 1988, the Eddie Eagle program began and focuses on kids pre K to 4th grade. This program teaches kids to stop/don’t touch/run away/tell a grownup if they find a gun.
- In 1990, the NRA Foundation was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to raise and fund gun safety and educational projects.
The NRA is the premier firearms education organization in the world. It was formed to teach safety and marksmanship, and still does to this day. There are over 125k certified instructors that teach gun safety to millions of Americans each year, and I am one of them.
It wasn’t until 1975 that the need arose to defend our Second Amendment rights, so the NRA stepped up to the task and created the ILA.
The Institute for Legislative Action is the arm of the NRA that lobbies for our gun rights. The biggest lie told by the media is that the NRA ILA is a gun lobby organization. This group does NOT lobby for gun manufacturers; it lobbies for us. A more accurate description would be to call it an American Citizens Bill of Rights lobby.
The ILA is committed to preserving the right of all law abiding citizens to purchase, possess, and use firearms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. In addition, the ILA also oversees issues concerning wildlife conservation, public hunting access, public use ranges, crime victim rights, criminal justice reform, and law enforcement issues.
The NRA ILA defends citizens rights through legal defense funds. Often together with the ACLU and NAACP, money and lawyers are provided to help citizens fighting an infringement of their Second Amendment rights. The funds also help fight legislation that unlawfully restricts our right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment is short and sweet. It needs NO “sensible” changes.
Myth 1: The NRA is THE Gun Lobby
I have already talked about how this is not true, but it is too important not to mention again. The NRA does NOT lobby for gun manufacturers or trade associations within the firearms industry. To state that not only makes the NRA sound sinister and secretive, but is also a flat out lie.
The NRA is actually voluntary citizens group focused on firearms rights and safety. The group is very well informed, active, and involved in their cause. Power lies in information and knowledge, and the truth is getting out.
Myth 2: Membership is Shrinking
Oh how the gun grabbers wish this were true. However, the more negative coverage the press gives to the NRA the more growth it sees! After Parkland, google searches to join the NRA were up 4900%. While the NRA publicly states it has over 6 million members, the surge in 2018 alone is astounding. It now takes up to three weeks to be processed if you join online and even longer if you use snail mail.
Being in the business, the biggest shock to me are the amount of Democrats joining the NRA. I welcome them and everyone else with open arms. This is not a partisan group. People from all backgrounds are finally realizing that destroying the Second Amendment directly leads to destroying the First. And then the rest. There are plenty of gun laws on the books not being enforced. We don’t need any more.
One of the weird blessings in this mess is the media constantly showing the chaos in Europe. Do they not realize that any sensible person can see that this is not the direction we want to head down? The Second Amendment was created to protect us from government tyranny. The same tyranny that is on full display today all over Europe and much of the rest of the world.
Myth 3: The NRA Is Just For Old White Men
Another myth. While this may have been true in past, the NRA is seeing its largest growth today in women and minorities. The Board of Directors is now just over 30% women. Carrie Lightfoot, founder of The Well Armed Woman, got the second highest amount of votes on the ballot this year!
Still unconvinced? Fortunately, facts do not lie. The United States owns 46% of the entire worlds firearm stockpile. There are over 400,000 million guns in the US alone, and up to 24 trillion rounds of ammunition. While exact numbers are difficult to nail down, over 12 billion rounds of ammo are sold to US citizens each year. There is absolutely no way all of this is owned and bought by old white men.
For the record, Black Americans have been instrumental in guaranteeing our 2A rights. After the Civil War, they wanted assurance that the Second Amendment included them because whites were taking their guns and killing their families. The result of their efforts was the 14th Amendment, which gave all Americans, regardless of color or gender, the same protections under the law.
But perhaps the most instrumental 2A case in history was the most recent one. In 2010, the NRA fought for a black man in Chicago in the now historical McDonald vs Chicago case. The result of this case concluded that (finally) firearms ownership is an individual, not a collective right. Please read my Second Amendment post for full details.
Why You Should Join
The Bill of Rights, in its entirety, needs to be preserved at all costs. It is what sets us apart from the rest of the world, and what the rest of the world wishes it could have. Even if you do not own a firearm and never plan to get one, you should still consider joining. The Second Amendment is the only thing that stands between us and a tyrannical government. We, the people, are the fourth check of the checks and balances system.
Do you love this country and wish for it to stay free? If you are not an NRA member yet and want to learn more about becoming one, please click on one of the many NRA links on this site to learn more. You get a big discount, I get a few bucks, and we all get non partisan representation in Washington, D.C.