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NRA Hails West Virginia University <BR>For Reinstating Rifle Team

Thursday, March 25, 2004

FAIRFAX, VA -- After an outpouring of support from the National Rifle Association (NRA), the state Legislature, shooting sports enthusiasts, alumni and the community, West Virginia University (WVU) officials have agreed to reinstate the school rifle program. Just days ago, the West Virginia Legislature approved $100,000 to help revive the team, which had been disbanded by the University last year.

"WVU`s outstanding rifle team has long been representative of America`s strong and proud history of participation in the shooting sports," said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. "Clearly the Legislature understands the importance of the WVU rifle team to the people and heritage of West Virginia by providing funding to reinstate it. We commend WVU officials for recognizing the extraordinary talent of team members and their significant role in the shooting community."

West Virginia`s rifle team has a longstanding tradition of excellence, including 13 national championships. The school has produced numerous Olympic shooters and NRA All-American athletes. Although WVU cut the team, members continued to operate on a club basis through their own fundraising efforts. Even with such limitations, one of their shooters, Nicole Allaire, was named by NRA as a First-Team All-American in smallbore rifle, an honor shared by just eight other competitors in the nation.

"The citizens and gun owners of West Virginia consider the team`s achievements a great source of pride for the entire state," added Cox. "Unfortunately the battle to keep the WVU rifle team alive is far from over. Budget constraints still threaten to dismantle the team in the future. We encourage the Legislature, the University, as well as private individuals to continue to support of the West Virginia rifle team for years to come."

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The 133-year-old National Rifle Association is the nation`s oldest civil rights group, and advocates enforcement of existing laws to prosecute and punish violent criminals. The NRA is the nation`s leader in teaching gun safety and promoting marksmanship among law enforcement officers. The Association has approximately four million members across America.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.