As George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton spokesman once said:
Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their Congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time.(qtd. in nra.org) The NRA is indeed all of these things, with programs to benefit a variety of Americans, sponsorship of one of Americas oldest sports, and as an organization that will stand up for its political beliefs regarding the Second Amendment. (www.nra.org)
Formed in 1872 when military leaders were disappointed with the marksmanship of their soldiers, the NRA has always faced political opposition for promoting marksmanship. Although it was founded largely with the aid of financial help from New York state, in 1892, opposition forced it to close its first range in Long Island and relocate to New Jersey. This is dually discussed (nra.org; wikipedia.com)
The NRA's began promoting shooting sports for youths in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones encouraged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. By 1906, more than 200 boys were competing in matches. This tradition is carried forward to today, where more than one million youths participate in NRA and affiliated group events such as 4-H, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, U.S. Jaycees to name a few. (nra.org)
In 1934, the Legislative Affairs division was formed in response to repeated attacks against the Second Amendment. Since the NRA did not directly lobby during this time, the primary responsibility of this division was to notify the members quickly of legislative events and facts. The NRA magazine, The American Rifleman, published the information, however it was not disseminated quickly enough to achieve any effect by the members in response to these attacks. In 1975, they realized that this was not effective enough. The NRA formed the Institute for Legislative Action(ILA) to focus on the politics that effect the NRA and the Second Amendment. (nra.org) When World War II happened, the association volunteered its ranges to the government, developed training materials, and encouraged members to support the military any way possible even if it was reloading ammunition for those guarding war plants. Also in the 1940's, the NRA also began to branch out into different areas of gun use. In 1949, the NRA, in conjunction with the state of New York , established the first hunter education program. Due to increasing interest in hunting, NRA launched a new magazine in 1973, The American Hunter, and began the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). (nra.org)
In 1960, the NRA became the only national trainer of law enforcement officers with the introduction of its NRA Police Firearms Instructor certification program that is still in use today. In 1980s, they established the Eddie Eagle® Gun Safety Program to teach young children to: STOP. DON'T TOUCH. LEAVE THE AREA. TELL AN ADULT. (nra.org)
In the 1990's, they introduced Refuse To Be A Victim® seminars to help people develop their own personal safety plan using common sense strategies. Also in the 1990s, the NRA decided to secure the financial stability of firearms-related activities would be available now and for future generations. To facilitate this they established the NRA Foundation. The NRA Foundation is the country's leading charitable organization that supports shooting sports, awarding more than $70 million during the last two decades . Foundation grants provide program funding to ensure that training and gun education are available throughout the nation. This is addressed multiple times in (nrafoundation.org; wikipedia.com)
Some people feel that the NRA are only representatives of gun manufacturers and promote extremist values regarding the Right to Bear Arms that have no consideration to the safety or violence in our society. This is not...