In the US, the right for every individual citizen to bear arms is a contentious one. It is laid out in the original constitution that US citizens may own and carry firearms – and this has led to organizations such as the NRA, or National Rifle Association, to set up for the protection of such rights.
While many people see the NRA as a force for good and a force for gun control, it has over the years come under controversy. Political commentators such as Michael Moore, through his documentary Bowling for Columbine, brought the inner workings of the NRA into sharper focus than ever before. Right here and now, however, we’re just going to share a few facts with you!
Believe it or not, the origins of the NRA lie in gun training and marksmanship, not control and rights protection! The National Rifle Association was formed back in 1871. It actually started life as a training program following the US Civil War, where may Unionists were disappointed in the marksmanship performance of soldiers fighting against the Confederacy.
Despite concerns over how much control or authority the NRA has over gun ownership and firearms promotion, the organization has actually helped to support the long-running civil rights movement. In fact, on many occasions, African American householders turned to the NRA for support and armament when under threat from the Ku Klux Klan.
The NRA has had a number of famous people support its work and endeavours. Its former President was the late Planet of The Apes actor Charlton Heston, while other supporters and active members have included Tom Selleck, who many will remember as TV’s Magnum PI.
It’s thought that the NRA spends much more on its advocacy and general running than the rest of the country’s gun advocacy groups in total. This, according to recent statistics, appears to be around $250 million per year. This is said to go towards gun range control and education on how to safely own, use and control personal firearms.
However, it’s thought that the amount of NRA campaign spending, since the election of Donal Trump to the Presidency, has shrunk considerably. It’s thought that this is the case as a result of new control groups and boards rising up to oppose the NRA and its policies.
There is split debate over just how much influence the NRA currently has or should have in total. For instance, within the NRA itself, only around 9% of those currently on board believe that the organization influences US law too much. This is a resounding majority who believe that the NRA is doing just enough to protect and uphold civil rights.
That said, polls over the years do actually show that US citizens believe that the NRA is doing good work on behalf of the country. Polling has generally shown over half of the US believes the NRA to be doing a good job regardless of membership or non-membership.
Many Presidents of the USA have been full members of the NRA. These have included John F Kennedy, who was in fact the only Democratic President to have been a full member. Others included George HW Bush (who later rescinded his membership), Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.
The NRA’s headquarters in Virginia has a huge driving range! It hosts 15 different lanes and is said to be up to 50 yards long. It’s the perfect place for members to practice their shooting skills.
While many see the NRA as something of a political force – in that it has been associated closely with the Republican Party for some time – the organization actually didn’t start supporting political parties outright until 1980. It was at this time that the NRA publicly threw support behind Ronald Reagan for election to President. He was successful in his election, beating Jimmy Carter.
In fact, data shows that the NRA has supported Republican candidacies six times more than Democratic ones. However, it’s interesting to note that it was only recently that the organization started associating itself with a particular party and policies. However, the NRA represents all US citizens with rights.
Do you have any interesting or notable facts about the NRA that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!