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National Rifle Association

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a United States organization for firearms safety training, shooting skills and gun owners' rights advocacy. The organization was established in New York in 1871. The NRA often refers to itself as the oldest Civil-Rights organization in the USA.

Table of contents
1 Political Lobby
2 Current most important battles
3 NRA History
4 Current Leadership and Policies
5 NRA firearms safety programs
6 Second Amendment
7 Critics
8 External links

Political Lobby

The NRA is considered by many to be one of the most influential political lobbies in the USA because of its ability to consistantly deliver large numbers of votes on election day. However, in spite of the best efforts of the NRA, the gun control/gun ban lobbies have managed to enact many gun-control laws. These laws range from the federal laws prohibiting felons from ever touching a firearm, to the near-total ban on gun ownership in Washington DC, to the outlawing of entire classes of firearms in many states as well as at the federal level to the licensing of firearms owners in some jurisdictions.

Current most important battles

The current (as of September 2003) efforts the NRA is focusing on at the federal level are: first, encouraging Congress to enact a bill protecting manufacturers of products from certain types of lawsuits. S.659/S.1806, the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" is also supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. It is opposed by many gun-control groups.

Second, preventing the gun control lobby from expanding and re-authorizing the 1994 law that banned many types of semi-automatic rifles and certain types of removable magazines (which hold the unfired cartridges). This 1994 law is set to expire in 2004. The gun control lobby, on the other hand, wants to greatly expand these bans and make them permanent.

NRA History

The NRA was founded shortly after the American Civil War by Union Army officers who were appalled by the lack of shooting skills among the Union soldiers during the war and determined to correct this problem by encouraging the shooting sports and marksmanship among the general population, including former slaves in the former slave states. This made the NRA very unpopular in the former slaves states and the NRA was considered an enemy by the Ku Klux Klan.

Union Army Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate are the officially listed founders of the NRA. They were granted a charter from the state of New York on November 17, 1871. The first NRA president was Ambrose E. Burnside, a commander of the Army of the Potomac. Former US President Ulysses S. Grant, who had enacted the 1871 law declaring the Ku Klux Klan to be an illegal terrorist organisation, was elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1883. Nine of the NRA's first ten presidents had fought against slavery during the Civil War. Including: Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, Gen. Phillip Sheridan. During Reconstruction, Gen. Sheridan removed hundreds of local officials from office in Louisiana and Texas for violating the rights of former slaves and for failing to enforce laws for their protection.

Current Leadership and Policies

Wayne LaPierre has been the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the NRA since 1991. [1] Charlton Heston, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, stepped down as the organization's president and celebrity spokesman in April of 2003. Kayne Robinson took over Heston's duties.

NRA firearms safety programs

The NRA sponsors a broad range of safety programs to educate and encourage the safe use of firearms. Their "Eddie Eagle" video intended for school-age children encourages the viewer to "Stop! Don't touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult!" if the child ever sees a firearm lying around. The NRA has claimed that studies prove the "Eddie Eagle" program reduces the likelihood of firearms accidents in the home; opponents of firearm ownership generally reject these claims and condemn the video as an attempt to "indoctrinate" children into a "gun culture"; however, nothing in the "Eddie Eagle" program advocates gun ownership. Also, hunting safety courses from the NRA are offered all across the USA for both children and adults.

Second Amendment

In its lobbying for gun rights, the NRA asserts that the Second Amendment protects broad rights to individuals as gun owners and users. The NRA typically opposes measures which it asserts would conflict with the Second Amendment "right to bear arms" and or the right to privacy enjoyed by law-abiding gun owners.


This organization has been criticized by gun control advocates due to its policies on gun control, which said critics feel to be too lax. Additionally, some Americans who believe that the right for private citizens to own firearms is absolute have criticized the NRA from the other side, arguing that the NRA's support for some laws related to firearms abridges this right.

See also:

External links