The origins of the National Rifle Association lie in the disappointment of Union veterans General George Wingate and Colonel William C. Church at the overwhelmingly poor marksmanship demonstrated by their troops. As a result, the two men founded the NRA six years after the American Civil War. Receiving its first official charter from New York State in 1871, the National Rifle Association proceeded to construct a rifle range on Long Island for the purposes of training and annual marksmanship tournaments.
Today, the National Rifle Association remains a leader in gun-related education. In 1949, the NRA began the first specifically hunting-oriented education program in the United States. With the development of the NRA Police Firearms Instructor certification initiative in 1960, the organization assumed its present role as the sole firearms training organization for national law enforcement officers. Today, the National Rifle Association maintains exceptional programs covering the fundamentals of pistol, shotgun, and rifle operation, as well as muzzle-loading firearms and general personal protection. The National Rifle Association educates approximately 750,000 individuals each year in gun-related skills and the fundamentals of responsible weapon ownership.
The NRA’s Refuse To Be A Victim seminars have assisted over 15,000 civilians in creating personal safety strategies. Established in 1988, the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program instructs children in kindergarten to sixth grade to immediately “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area,” and “Tell an adult,” if they encounter an unsupervised firearm. To date, this initiative has educated over 21 million children.
The National Rifle Association is the oldest continually operating civil rights organization in the United States today. Commanding approximately 4 million constituents around the globe, the NRA currently boasts more than 55,000 certified instructors, as well as almost 2,800 coaches working specifically with young competitors and 10,000 individuals operating as NRA-certified security and law enforcement firearms instructors. The National Rifle Association maintains international headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. For more information regarding the National Rifle Association, please visit nra.org.