Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

NRA's Greatest Accomplishment

Saturday, December 1, 2012

By David A. Keene, NRA President

At a recent Capitol Hill breakfast, a congressman asked what I consider the NRA’s greatest accomplishment—a simple enough question.

I could have said our shiniest accomplishment was the leadership NRA provided Second Amendment supporters in the 1970s as powerful anti-gun radicals launched fierce attacks on the right to keep and bear arms, or the way NRA’s Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and the late Charlton Heston stood up to then-President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Perhaps the Supreme Court victories of the last few years or the successful passage of concealed carry laws in so many states were paramount. Or consider our successful effort to prevent gun-ban activists from using the courts to put firearm manufacturers out of business.

I could have, instead, cited our continuing and generally successful effort to mobilize gun owners to vote for candidates who support our Second Amendment rights and to defeat those who would strip us of those rights. On the international stage, the greatest accomplishment could be our continuing successful campaign to block attempts to use the United Nations to undermine the rights of America’s gun owners and sportsmen.

All are accomplishments worth celebrating, but I cited none of them. Instead, today when many sense a deterioration in traditional American cultural values, NRA members have against all odds changed public attitudes toward firearm ownership, the Second Amendment and the shooting sports in truly significant ways. The anti-gun hysteria that broke out in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the left seemed for a time to have struck a chord with the American public. Poll after poll showed support for more restrictive gun laws. Politicians talked about registration and confiscation of handguns and few then would have predicted legislative and judicial victories in any future.

Al Gore’s ideological and political decision to target our Second Amendment rights when he ran for President in 2000 backfired because he didn’t realize there was a real change taking place in the country; that the decades-long debate over gun rights and the Second Amendment was leading to a public consensus in favor of less rather than more restrictive firearm laws. The American people became convinced during those never-ending debates that gun-ban advocates were wrong, that criminals, not guns, were the problem, that firearm ownership was not only a constitutional right, but vitally important to a free society and that our laws should be structured to keep guns out of the hands of criminals without impinging on the rights of the rest of us.

As a result of this cultural transformation, more Americans are buying, collecting, shooting and enjoying firearms than ever before. Ten years ago, very few women could be found at gun ranges and not many hunted or carried firearms. Now women are joining the NRA in increasing numbers, gun stores stock “pink” guns with specialized handbags designed to appeal to female purchasers, and more women enjoy hunting and the outdoors. A gun show organizer who puts together many of the country’s largest gun shows told me that five years ago about 8 percent of attendees were women; today female participation at gun shows is 38 percent.  

For the first time in decades more young men and women are leaving their electronic games at home and taking to the field, high school shooting teams are forming and new forms of competition are attracting new shooters from all walks of life. When I joined the NRA Board, the NRA had about 4 million members. Yet today, 30 million Americans tell pollsters they consider themselves NRA members with millions more saying they look to the NRA for leadership and guidance on firearm issues.

Exit pollsters asked voters during the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election earlier this year if they “support the goals and principles of the National Rifle Association.” Forty-five percent of all those voting answered yes! Another poll of voters nationwide revealed that a majority of all households headed by a man or woman over 30 years of age are “gun-owning households” and that gun owners are more than willing to vote to protect their rights.

 Our greatest accomplishment has been to make guns “cool.” Anyone who thinks gun owners are a bunch of “bitter clingers” is making a huge mistake; today there are more gun enthusiasts in this country than ever in our history … and our numbers continue to grow.

When I finished my breakfast remarks that morning I was approached by a young lady interning for a congressman. “You’re right,” she said, “guns are cool. At our sorority we all go to the range every Friday to shoot and most of us have concealed carry permits.” Just so.

TRENDING NOW
Obama Says Goodbye to America’s Gun Owners with (a Likely Short-lived) Lead Ammo Ban

News  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Obama Says Goodbye to America’s Gun Owners with (a Likely Short-lived) Lead Ammo Ban

Gun owners knew that Barack Obama would not leave quietly. The only question was what else was coming.  

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Today, Senate Bill 12, legislation eliminating the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry, passed the Senate without amendment, by a 13-10 vote.  SB 12 will now go to the House of ...

Federal Appeals Court: Chicago Violates Second Amendment … Again

News  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Federal Appeals Court: Chicago Violates Second Amendment … Again

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that Chicago had once again violated the Second Amendment, this time with its regulations for gun ranges.

Gun Owners Welcome Donald J. Trump as President of the United States

News  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gun Owners Welcome Donald J. Trump as President of the United States

Gun owners across the nation breathed a sigh of relief as Donald J. Trump was sworn in Friday morning as the 45th president of the United States.

Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

On Monday, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) – joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the ...

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

Inspired, perhaps, by Oscar Wilde (“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess”), Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced two new sweeping gun control bills, with Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) and Rep. ...

New York Times Relies on Gun Prohibitionist Propaganda, Stigmatizes Suicide

News  

Friday, January 20, 2017

New York Times Relies on Gun Prohibitionist Propaganda, Stigmatizes Suicide

In a December 5, 2015, front page editorial, the New York Times finally admitted what discerning readers had long understood – that the paper advocates the prohibition and confiscation of certain types of now-lawfully possessed firearms. ...

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

On January 3rd, Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.8th) introduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which simply allows lawful firearm carriers from any state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state. The bill ...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Florida Urgent Alert! Self-defense Bill up in Senate Judiciary on Tuesday 1/24/2017

A critical self-defense bill will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, between 2:00-4:00pm.  SB-128 Burden of Proof by Senator Rob Bradley restores the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases ...

Web Scraping: A Means to Push the Anti-Gun Agenda

News  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Web Scraping: A Means to Push the Anti-Gun Agenda

You may have read recently about a “breaking analysis” that includes numbers derived from a “mass shooting tracker,” which purports to present to the world, real world cases in which mass shootings have occurred.  One ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.