gun rights

NRA chief: Why we fight for gun rights

by David Keene, CNN  |  published on February 2, 2013

After President Lyndon Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968, many anti-gun politicians looked forward to the day when they could completely ban the sale and ownership of firearms and perhaps even confiscate those already in private hands.

After the draconian legislation imposed restrictions on “dealing” firearms that resulted in the prosecution of countless innocent gun collectors, and recordkeeping on ammunition sales so useless that federal law enforcement agencies supported their repeal, Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote to the NRA to demand our support for a national gun licensing and registration system. A few years later, a Nixon administration advisory commission proposed that all side arms be outlawed and confiscated in about a decade.

That didn’t happen. Those hostile to firearms ownership and the Second Amendment thought they were on the verge of victory, but had in fact managed to wake up millions of Americans who hadn’t previously believed that government would ever threaten their guns or their way of life. They were joined by others who were not necessarily gun owners but believed the Second Amendment and the rights it guaranteed a free people worth preserving.

The NRA was founded in 1871, but until the passage of the 1968 legislation had never been much involved in politics and didn’t even have a lobbying office. That changed as the men and women the organization represented demanded that the NRA step up to defend their rights in the frenzy of the late 1960s.

Within a few years, many of those who had so fervently believed that the public would welcome their sponsorship of “gun control” were defeated and before long Republicans and Democrats in Congress joined forces to pass the “Firearms Owners Protection Act” of 1986 that rolled back many of the restrictions adopted in 1968.

Since that time, the NRA has continued to devote more than 85% of its resources to its traditional mission of providing civilian firearms training, teaching firearms safety and working to introduce new generations of Americans to the shooting sports, but has taken on the added role of protector of the right of law-abiding Americans to own and enjoy firearms.

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