National Rifle Association
In the American history, organizations have rapidly emerged for the purpose of advancing their own interest. Likewise, the democratic form of government has invited the free exercise of the people to organize or unite with one common goal. Through time, several organizations have been formed as many interest are available and needed to be addressed. In the arena of gun use, the organization that has developed into a remarkable and influential one is the National Rifle Association. The emergence of the National Rifle Association can be surprising because of the purposes it advances.
In addition, it is originally perceived to be inessential because only few people can benefit there from. But the rapid increase of the organization’s member can prove that gun is one among the important interest of the people. Aside from that, the remarkable rise of the organization can be doubted because its purpose seems to stray from the conservative society. But then, it will also prove that the American people have braced the new society after independence has been granted to them. Among the interest groups in the country, the National Rifle Association is boasted being influential in political era.
It also acquired the highest number of members in the history of interest groups. Interestingly, it has left to be the evolving organization that influenced several powerful people to be member. In addition, since its creation, it has maintained its capability of influencing public policy. It also remained to be strong and powerful despite the issues it faced in the past decades. Furthermore, the National Rifle Association has continuously active in pursuing its goals and in expanding its role in the society.
More importantly, it is an organization that has built its foundation on an obscure Constitutional provision which is the Second Amendment. Hence, in order to be clarified about the vagueness of the organization, it is necessary to present a full range paper about the National Rifle Association. National Rifle Association (NRA) By definition, National Rifle Association (NRA) is a “non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the legal use of firearms and protecting the right of United States citizens to keep and bear arms” (Walker, n. p. ).
Notably, the National Rifle Association has always been associated with the Second Amendment because it is in this particular provision which states; “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” that its goal has been founded (“U. S. Constitution”). Hence, the National Rifle Association can also be defined as the protector of the citizens’ Constitutional right contained in the Second Amendment. History of National Rifle Association
Historically, the emergence of the National Rifle Association can be traced way back 1871 (“A Brief History of NRA”). It was founded by Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Civil War Gen. George Wingate (“A Brief History of NRA”). The organization was established by the two officers out of their dismay or disappointment of the shooting skills of their troops during the Civil War. Primarily, the National Rifle Association was formed for the purpose of promoting and encouraging rifle shooting on a scientific basis (“A Brief History of NRA”).
Hence, the only purpose of the association was to train its men on the right manner of operating the gun. On November 17 of the same year, the association received its chart from New York State and it also marked the formal founding of the National Rifle Association. The very person who served as the president of the organization was Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside (“A Brief History of NRA”). Notably, Burnside also served Rhode Island as senator and then as Senator of the country (“A Brief History of NRA”).
In carrying out its mission, the very first achievement of the organization was the establishment of the training ground located in the Creed Farm in Long Island in 1972 (“A Brief History of NRA”). The training ground was called Creedmoor where the first annual firing matches were held. Unfortunately, in 1892, Creedmoor was surrendered to the state of New York because of the existence of the political oppositions to the promotion of marksmanship in the area (“A Brief History of NRA”). But the organization was able to settle and establish its new training ground in Sea Girt, New Jersey.
Since then, the National Rifle Association maintained training men in operating guns and in promoting marksmanship in the new area. After a few operation of the organization, it can be observed that organization has not freely existed because of several political oppositions. From the start, the organization was not politically powerful. At the onset of 20th century, the mission of the National Rifle Organization has developed and expanded. In 1903, Secretary Albert S. Jones initiated the establishment of rifle club in all major colleges, universities and military academies (“A Brief History of NRA”).
Eventually, shooting sports was among the fascinations of American youth. Through time, the population of young people participating in the shooting sports continued to increase. At present, shooting sports is still among the keystone of the organization and it affiliated with 4-H, Boy Scouts of America, American Legion, and U. S. Jaycees and others in the promotion of shooting sports in the country (“A Brief History of NRA”). According to the record, there are already more than one million young people participating in the shooting events launched by the organization.
As part of the organization’s development and the increasing participants in the shooting sports, the NRA has constructed a shooting facility in the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio (“A Brief History of NRA”). Through the shooting facilities, the membership in the shooting program continued to increase. Eventually, the organization has opened an annual shooting tournament with the use of not only pistols but also includes smallbore and highpower events (“A Brief History of NRA”). Today, the shooting matches have become the biggest sports event in the country (“A Brief History of NRA”).
It can be observed that since 20th century, people are already fascinated with the use of guns by shifting its use in sports. The idea of having sports using gun has also been a great idea in inviting more members and more people interested in guns. Due to the increasing popularity of the organization and the fascination of the citizens in guns, the organization has launched its first magazine entitled The American Rifleman (“A Brief History of NRA”). Through the magazine, the members and even non members are updated about new bills about guns.
Through the magazine also, many other people got interested in joining the organization and in guns as well. Though the passing of time, there had been development in the use of gun and of the right of using it. The National Rifle Association, on the other hand, was not only aimed in promoting marksmanship and shooting sports but has also started to fight its interpretation of the Second Amendment. It can be noted that in the early 1900’s, several individuals challenged the right established in the Second Amendment as a result of the use of firearms.
Through these events, the organization has expanded their mission in protecting the citizens’ right to bear arms. Consequently, in 1934, the Legislative Affairs Division as formed purposely to persuade legislatures to act on the issue (“A Brief History of NRA”). But then, the organization was faced by massive opposition especially through the assassination of then President John F. Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (Walker, n. p. ). Through these unfortunate events, most of the American citizens were calling for the laws controlling the use and possession of guns.
However, the organization was adamant in its fight to establish the right of citizens to bear arms and as a result it established the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) (“A Brief History of NRA”). Purposely, the ILA was tasked to focus on making the right to bear arms among pro-gun citizens. As part of its responsibility, ILA lobbied the right to bear arms in the Congress. Lobbying strategies consisted of making their views made known to their elected representative by calling and sending them letters. Through the technological innovation, the campaign of ILA has strengthened through the use of fax and e-mails.
This move has helped triple the member of the NRA (Wilson, 2006, p. 147). The extent of goals of NRA has also extended to hunting activities. The hunting education program was established by NRA in 1949 (“A Brief History of NRA”). Successfully, hunting sports became the favorite sports of the time. Subsequently, NRA launched The American Hunter, a magazine that contains issues related to hunting (“A Brief History of NRA”). This magazine was even followed by another one entitled the Guardian which was renamed as America’s 1st Freedom in June 2000 (“A Brief History of NRA”).
Today, the organization remained to be the leading provider of education and training in firearms. At present, the member of the NRA has reached to more than four millions outnumbering other pro-gun and anti-gun organization (Wilson, 2006, p. 147). The organization has also been perceived as essential in establishing that right to bear arms as an individual right. Operation of the National Rifle Association Primarily, the NRA has operated as a trainer of men in using their firearms. Through time, its mission has expanded to promoting sports using guns and fighting for the citizen’s individual right to bear arms.
In achieving its status at present, the operation strategies of the organization can be concluded to be effective. Aside from that, the multiplication of the members of the organization into almost four millions proves its success in influencing citizens to sympathize or join in its cause. Remarkably, the organization formed several branches with distinctive tasks. Some of the branches of NRA include the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) and Political Victory Fund (PVF) (Wilson, 2006, p. 147). In order to widely spread its activities and missions in the country, several tactics were used by the organization.
Notably, through the magazines the information about gun rights and activities of the organization had been made known to the wider public. Discounts were also given to magazine subscriptions, magazine, and other financial services. In addition, gun-related sports were launched in order to invite responsible gun advocates to join the organization’s cause. Significantly, the organization strengthened its campaign by influencing public policy. As part of its move, the organization used lobbying, electoral works, and legal actions in protecting and advancing its interest (Wilson, 2006, p. 147).
Through lobbying, NRA persistently communicated with law-makers and other influential people in legislature in order not to support gun control laws. On one hand, lobbying strategies used by the organization consisted of sending letters, emails, fax and calling the representatives of states mostly populated by pro- gun citizens. Undeniably, NRA has been considered as the most influential political lobbyist organization in the country (“National Rifle Association”). On the other hand, electoral strategies consisted of supporting pro-guns politicians and nominating pro-gun individuals in the government.
Remarkably, several presidents of America have been members of the organization and so with other senators and other politicians (Kopel, 20). Legal actions consisted of helping manufacturers, distributors, and traders of gun from gun-related lawsuits. Notably, some of the persistent adversary of the organization includes Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (“National Rifle Association”). These organizations have been relentless in pursuing laws controlling gun use and possession because of various assassinations and gun-related crimes.
During the early days, the campaign of gun control advocates has been successful in influencing public policies through the passage of Gun Control Act of 1968 which was later amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1994 (Vernick and Mair, 692). But then, gun control laws have become challenge to the NRA. As part of also of its campaign, the organization has provided trainings and education in firearm use and made it available to law enforcement officers, shooters, hunters, and youth and even to women.
Furthermore, the organization also engaged the use of internet in inviting more citizens to join the organization and in supporting its cause. It also distributed millions of printed fact sheets, brochures and articles containing information about the organization (Wilson, 2006, p. 147). In order to widen its scope, NRA also maintains ties with other organizations like Boy Scouts of America and organizations of hunters, law enforcement, hunters, and may more. In addition, it formed several grassroots outreach programs to strengthen its campaign (Wilson, 2006, p. 147).
One of the grassroots shooting supporters of the organization is the Foundation and Friends of NRA (“National Rifle Association”). There are also volunteers helping in the events organized by the organization. Interestingly, finances were not a problem for the existence and operation of the organization. Primarily, the National Rifle Association has anticipated its financial need to fund for its activities. Hence, a political action committee, Political Victory Fund, has been created (Walker, n. p. ). This committee is primarily concern with raising money to support political candidates it endorses.
Through the organization’s survival, it was perceived to be good in fundraising business (Gibeaut, 50). Furthermore, the capacity of the organization in accumulating financial support cannot be doubted because in the very first place, it has more than four million members to keep it alive. Positive effects of NRA in the Society Undeniably, the organization has enormously helped in enhancing the skills of its members in hunting, shooting, and proper handling of firearm. During the World War II, the organization has been helpful in the government’s fight against its enemies.
The organization provided training materials and encouraged its members to serve and plant and home guard members for security (“A Brief History of NRA”). Additionally, the organization has left a legacy among the citizens in initiating gun-related sports. Through the sports, the citizens have discovered other function of guns. Likewise, it was also active in informing gun owners and users to be responsible citizens. It is noteworthy that the organization merely protects and advances the interests of responsible gun owners.
One of the remarkable contributions of National Rifle Association is its fight in reiterating that the right to bear arms embodied in the Second Amendment is an individual right. In the recent case of Heller v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court settled the rule that right to bear arms is an individual right (554 U. S. , __, 2008). The organization has also been influential in fighting terrorism as it lobbied the right of pilots in owning guns. Primarily, NRA did not only focused on the right of the individuals in owning gun but also serve as a guide to gun owners as to the safety measures in handling guns.
NRA also provided training for self- defense needed and applicable during the height of anti- terrorism campaign. Above all, the national Rifle Association has been a watchdog of the citizen’s gun rights from its inception and has committed itself to be in the future. Remarkably, through its campaigns and contributions in the society, the organization has been known for being the great contributor in the gun control changes. Negative Effects of the National Rifle Association Despite the achievement of NRA in the field of gun ownership, it is still being criticized for several consequences it has caused to the society.
Through the campaigns of the NRA in promoting gun rights, guns were easily made available to the people. The rise of gun availability has created fear among the citizens because of the gun-related violence that is prevalent in the society. In addition, several policies that are initiated by the organization in legislature have been hardly criticized by the affected group of people. One of these is the carrying and keeping guns inside the employee’s car in the company premises. This suggestion has been criticized by the employers because they asserted that such policy would pose danger in the company premises.
A similar case of shooting in a company’s parking lot has been repetitively set as an example of the negative consequence of the policy. Additionally, the present status of the society wherein gun owners freely brought their firearms in public places has been attributed to the NRA. It can be observed, in most states, that gun owners are fearless in bringing their firearms with them even in public places such as restaurant, parks, and even at church. This scenario, however, is perceived as unusual and abnormal because some other people complain about the trend.
Instead of welcoming the development, most of the people, especially those having no guns, complain because of the danger it possibly brings. Furthermore, it is claimed that through the free bearing of firearms, the society may return back to the Wild West era. Issues Faced by NRA Despite the Supreme Court’s holding that the right to bear arms is an individual right, the organization is still being blamed for several gun-related issues. One of the most controversial issues faced by the organization is the open carry campaign.
The campaign is basically rooted from the Court’s decision in the Heller case. According to the gun owners, having gun is useless if it is not used. Besides, the carrying of firearms is used only as a self-defense and prevention of assault from lawless people. But then, many lobby that such policy would only provoke gun-related crimes instead or preventing it. Another issue thrown at the organization is the school shootings that shocked the nation. It is noteworthy that the Virginia Tech and Columbine shooting has been the recorded deadly assault that killed many innocent and young lives.
According to several anti-gun rights groups, more gun violence are anticipated to happen because of the laxity in the manufacture and trading of guns. But then, NRA is firm in its belief that promotion of gun rights would bring more advantages rather than disadvantages. In dealing with all the issues, the NRA faces it all with its slogan; “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” (Potter, 2002, p. 63). The NRA reiterates that gun when left alone is safe but when used by an irresponsible person, it can be deadly. Aside from that, the organization asserts that it only advances the rights and interest of responsible gun owners.
Furthermore, the NRA reiterates that by banning gun ownership, it would likewise invite crimes and more death would not be defended because millions of law-abiding gun owners would be disarmed. Hence, the organization is not responsible for the gun owners who resort to criminal acts. Overall Opinion From the overview of the organization, its increasing influence is unusual if compared with other organizations. It can be observed that the membership has continued to increase over time. Despite the issues and the presence of anti-gun rights movement, NRA still managed to increase its number. It also penetrated schools in advancing its goal.
Likewise, even political personalities were incited to enlist their names as members. Interestingly, finances were never a problem of the organization as it was good in raining funds. These extraordinary capabilities of the organization can be inviting to be reviewed. With regard to growing membership, the culture of the American citizens may have greatly contributed. It can be remembered that after the emancipation of the nation’s independence, the framers of the Constitution inculcated the Second Amendment. The provision was principally interpreted to give the militia a right to bear arms.
The need of the militia and their right to bear arms was perceived to be essential in case of abuses. By giving the militia or group of able-bodied men with arms, they could voluntarily fight against foreign abuses. Hence, they were once a watchdog of freedom. The need to be armed has been carried even after the colonizers’ occupation. Surprisingly, the booming of the number of the organization cannot be doubted because of the effective strategies it applied. The popularity of the shooting and hunting sports also contributed in inciting many others to join NRA.
It can be observed that the ideology on the individuality of the right to bear arms evolved only after the several individual challenged the provision of Second Amendment. Through time, it tried to influence the Congress and the Court but it was only in 2008 that the interpretation of the provision was reverted. Unfortunately, it was not the NRA that handled the landmark case. At present, the fear created by the trend cannot be denied to have been increasing because of various concerned citizens questioning the display of firearms in public.
Besides, the fear created by the trend was heightened by the fact that other kinds of guns is already penetrating the market and are being displayed by its owners in the public. The assault rifle, for example, is perceived as lethal and easily frightens an individual who sees it. But NRA still supports the use of any firearm. This has been creating a wider gap between the two sides of the issue. Hence, it should be compromised by drawing a line that will determine the boundary by which each can freely exercise the rights. In the case of assault rifle, it should not be allowed to be carried and displayed in public view.
Aside from that a clear description of firearms that is covered by gun right should be made so that the public will be protected. This will also prevent abuses that may be committed by gun owners. The influence of NRA in political arena is also an interesting issue. Notably, NRA has been considered as the most powerful and influential interest group in the country (“National Rifle Association”). Such title of the organization could have been made possible by the fact that the organization is advancing only a single issue which is gun right.
Aside from that, many of its political supporters have been placed in powerful position that made it easier for the organization to win a favorable result. Hence, through the election of gun right advocates, many more favorable gun legislations will be passed and enacted in the country. Conclusion The creation of the National Rifle Association is indeed historical. Interestingly, it was created out of disappointment. The main purpose then was also to improve the shooting skills of the men fighting for the nation. However, through time, its purpose continued to expand and is able to influence a considerable number of people.
The influence of the NRA in political arena is also remarkable. The NRA has even been addressed as the most powerful and influential interest group in the country. This overwhelming status earned by the organization can be attributed to the fact that it was mainly focused on single issue. Like any other interest groups, the NRA has also been persistently criticized and opposed by other organizations advancing a contrasting interest. Since gun rights poses public concern and public policy, it has been openly attacked by politicians and other groups.
However, NRA has strongly stood and fought for its cause in the political and social arena. It has been successful in repealing gun control laws. It is also influential in changing the trend because freedom of the gun owners has now been extended to carrying their firearms in public. More changes are also been anticipated because of the initiation of the organization and its supporters in the government. Works cited “A Brief History of the NRA. ” 2009. National Rifle Association. 6 April 2009 <http://www. nra. org/Aboutus. aspx>.
Gibeaut, John. “A shot at the Second Amendment: if the U. S. Supreme Court rules on a right to bear arms, the decision may be in spite of the powerful NRA gun lobby – not because of it. ” ABA Journal 93 (2007): 50. Heller v. District of Columbia, 554 U. S. ___ (2008). Kopel, David B. “America’s fascination with firearms. ” The World and I 80 (2003): 20. “National Rifle Association. ” 2009. Absolute Astronomy. com. 6 April 2009 <http://www. absoluteastronomy. com/topics/National_Rifle_Association>. Potter, James W. The 11 Myths of Media Violence. London: Sage Publications, 2002. “U. S. Constitution-Amendment 2. ” 2009. US Constitution Online.
6 April 2009 <http://www. usconstitution. net/xconst_Am2. html>. Vernick, Jon S. , and Mair, Julie Samia. “How the law affects gun policy in the United States: Law as intervention or obstacle to prevention. ” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 30 (2002): 692. Walker, Thomas G. “National Rifle Association. ” Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. 6 April 2009 <http://encarta. msn. com/encyclopedia_761580664/national_rifle_association. html>. Wilson, Harry L. Guns, gun control, and elections: the politics and policy of firearms. New York: Rowman Littlefield, 2006.Sample Essay of BuyEssay.org