ABOUT THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION

  • Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871.
  • After being 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.
  • The NRA’s interest in promoting the shooting sports among America’s youth began in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies.
  • Due to the overwhelming growth of NRA’s shooting programs, a new range was needed. Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, adjutant general of Ohio, had begun construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. Camp Perry became the home of the annual National Matches.
  • In response to repeated attacks on the Second Amendment rights, NRA formed the Legislative Affairs Division in 1934. In 1975, recognizing the critical need for political defense of the Second Amendment, NRA formed the Institute for Legislative Action, or ILA.
  • During World War II, 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.
  • 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.
  • The American Hunter and The American Rifleman were the mainstays of NRA publications until the debut of The American Guardian in 1997. The Guardian was created to cater to a more mainstream audience, with less emphasis on the technicalities of firearms and a more general focus on self-defense and recreational use of firearms. The Guardian was renamed America’s 1st Freedom in June of 2000.
  • Law enforcement training was next on the priority list for program development. Although a special police school had been reinstated at Camp Perry in 1956, NRA became the only national trainer of law enforcement officers with the introduction of its NRA Police Firearms Instructor certification program in 1960.
  • In civilian training, the NRA continues to be the leader in firearms education. Over 55,000 certified instructors now train about 750,000 gun owners a year. Courses are available in basic rifle, pistol, shotgun, muzzle loading firearms, personal protection, even ammunition reloading.
  • In 1990, NRA made a dramatic move to ensure that the financial support for firearms-related activities would be available now and for future generations. Establishing the NRA Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization, provided a means to raise millions of dollars to fund gun safety and educational projects of benefit to the general public. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible and benefit a variety of American constituencies including youth, women, hunters, competitive shooters, gun collectors, law enforcement agents and persons with physical disabilities.
  • While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world.
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