The National Rifle Association
  
    Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis," according to a magazine editorial written by Church.
    Granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA's first president.
     Through the association's magazine, The American Rifleman, members were kept abreast of new firearms bills, although the lag time in publishing often prevented the necessary information from going out quickly. In response to repeated attacks on the Second Amendment rights, NRA formed the Legislative Affairs Division in 1934. While NRA did not lobby directly at this time, it did mail out legislative facts and analyses to members, whereby they could take action on their own. In 1975, recognizing the critical need for political defense of the Second Amendment, NRA formed the Institute for Legislative Action, or ILA.
     Meanwhile, the NRA continued its commitment to training, education and marksmanship. During World War II, the association offered its ranges to the government, developed training materials, encouraged members to serve as plant and home guard members and developed training materials for industrial security. NRA members even reloaded ammunition for those guarding war plants. Incidentally, the NRA's call to help arm Britain in 1940 resulted in the collection of more than 7,000 firearms for Britain's defense against potential invasion by Germany (Britain had virtually disarmed itself with a series of gun control laws enacted between World War I and World War II).
     After the war, the NRA concentrated its efforts on another much-needed arena for education and training: the hunting community. In 1949, the NRA, in conjunction with the state of New York, established the first hunter education program. Hunter Education courses are now taught by state fish and game departments across the country and Canada and have helped make hunting one of the safest sports in existence. Due to increasing interest in hunting, NRA launched a new magazine in 1973, The American Hunter, dedicated solely to hunting issues year round. NRA continues its leadership role in hunting today with the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC), a program that allows youngsters to build on the skills they learned in basic hunter education courses. YHECs are now held in 43 states and three Canadian provinces, involving an estimated 40,000 young hunters. [For more information on the NRA, please visit them at: www.nra.org
Copyright 1997-2012 John P. Kirkpatrick
All Rights Reserved

Page Last Updated:  30 January 2012
USE THE BROWSER'S   
"BACK" KEY TO      
RETURN HERE WHEN  
FINISHED...