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VA – NRA – November 17, 1871: The National Rifle Association is Founded. Happy Birthday NRA!

On November 17, 1871, The National Rifle Association (NRA) was first chartered in the state of New York by William Church, the editor of the Army and Navy Journal and General George Wood Wingate. The first president of the NRA was Union General Ambrose Burnside who had also worked as a gunsmith in Rhode Island. (Hey! this author has been to Rhode Island, have you?)

Digging Deeper, it is believed that during the Civil War, the Union Army fired about 1,000 rifle shots for every Confederate soldier hit.  Burnside was well aware of the sorry state of marksmanship among his troops.  As a result, the organization has sought to train a pool of Americans in the art of marksmanship through various programs, matches, education and the promotion of shooting sports.  Education in terms of firearm safety, especially in regard to kids, is another goal of the NRA. The NRA has also made it its mission to defend the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, specifically the right to keep and bear arms.  Much has been made of the wording of the Second Amendment, with the words “well ordered militia” taken by critics as meaning no right for individual Americans to keep and bear arms.  The writers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, however, were for common people keeping and bearing military-type arms. In those days, European countries did not allow their citizens to carry swords or own muskets, while in the new United States the intent was to have an armed public which could theoretically be able to defend itself against both external enemies and from government tyranny. [full article]

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