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
Washington: Attorney General Introduces Additional Gun Ban Legislation

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Washington: Attorney General Introduces Additional Gun Ban Legislation

Just months after pushing for the passage of Initiative 1639 to impose severe regulations on purchasing and possessing semi-automatic firearms, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has now introduced legislation that would outright ban commonly owned semi-automatic ...

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

News  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

On January 8, two bills were introduced in Congress to impose so-called "universal" background checks. The bills, H.R. 8 and S. 42, are being misleadingly described as simply requiring background checks on all sales of firearms, but this is ...

Law for Thee But Not for Me: Pittsburgh Officials Defy DA’s Legal Advice in Gun Control Push

News  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Law for Thee But Not for Me: Pittsburgh Officials Defy DA’s Legal Advice in Gun Control Push

Pittsburgh City Council member Corey O’Connor wants local residents to relinquish important aspects of their Second Amendment rights. If they refuse, he would have it cost them their liberty and treasure. But O’Connor himself apparently ...

Who Are the Real Extremists?

News  

Friday, January 18, 2019

Who Are the Real Extremists?

NRA is often vilified by the gun-ban community and its supporters in the mainstream, legacy media as an “extremist” organization because of its steadfast defense of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. A simple ...

New Mexico: Governor Lujan Grisham Highlights Gun Control In Opening Day Speech

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Mexico: Governor Lujan Grisham Highlights Gun Control In Opening Day Speech

In her opening day speech to state lawmakers, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called on them to pass various gun control proposals that she supported on the campaign trail and which have been filed in the ...

Now With More Banning! Dianne Feinstein Introduces “Updated” Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban (S. 66)

News  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Now With More Banning! Dianne Feinstein Introduces “Updated” Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban (S. 66)

On Wednesday, longtime gun control extremist Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the latest version of her perennial bid to rid America of its most popular types of rifles, as well as the standard capacity magazines that ...

Washington: Committee Hearings Scheduled on Anti-Gun Bills

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Washington: Committee Hearings Scheduled on Anti-Gun Bills

Anti-gun bills will be heard on January 21st at 10:00AM by the Washington state Senate Committee on Law & Justice and by the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on January 22nd at 10:00AM.

Illinois: Gov. Pritzker Signs Firearm Registration & Dealer Licensing Bill

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Illinois: Gov. Pritzker Signs Firearm Registration & Dealer Licensing Bill

Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 337 into law.  Passed by the previous legislature in 2018, SB 337 will establish a firearm registry and shut down your local gun stores with government red tape.  Senate ...

Wisconsin: Governor Evers Starts Session with Gun Control Push

Monday, January 14, 2019

Wisconsin: Governor Evers Starts Session with Gun Control Push

With the 2019 Wisconsin Legislative Session convened, Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul are already working with legislators to pass sweeping gun control.

Virginia: Bills Defeated in Committee

Friday, January 18, 2019

Virginia: Bills Defeated in Committee

This week, the Virginia Senate Committee on Courts of Justice and the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee heard and voted to defeat many of Governor Ralph Northam’s requested gun control bills.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.