American Rifleman, by Evan Brune – Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Anti-gun activists jumped on the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to further their agenda, and they’ve found allies in state and local governments across the United States, as seen in this story out of San Francisco. Their efforts have focused largely on the concept of gun buying as a “public-health crisis,” claiming that the record number of people buying guns means there are too many new gun owners with little knowledge of or training in the handling of firearms. Of course, their solution to this “problem” is predictable: have the state prevent people from buying guns.
The National Rifle Association does not believe in implementing controlling measures from above or dictating how people ought to live their lives. Instead, the oldest civil-rights organization in the country offers resources that allow citizens to build their own knowledge base and seek out training on their own time and budget. Exercise of the Second Amendment has no barrier to entry. To this end, the NRA offers different levels of training and information to new gun owners, giving them the tools they need to succeed.
As quarantine protocols lock down much of the country and prevent easy access to training courses and shooting ranges, options for new gun owners are limited. However, they aren’t non-existent. In an effort to provide essential, accessible information for new gun owners, the NRA Education & Training Division launched a number of distance learning safety classes. Though these classes are not substitutes for hands-on training, they offer a reliable source of information that firearm owners can access at home.
“The NRA recommends that all new gun owners seek professional training at the range, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start on learning the basics of firearm safety at home,” said Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations. “New gun owners, old gun owners, it doesn’t really matter. Taking one of these classes moderated by a certified NRA instructor can only make you safer, and that’s our primary goal.”
Courses available in the NRA Distance Learning Training schedule include “Basics of Pistol Shooting,” “Range Safety Officer Development,” “Refuse To Be A Victim Instructor Development,” and “Hunter Education,” among others. The classes span the range of potential outlets for firearm ownership, giving new owners the essentials of handling and safety as well as outlines for personal defense and hunting.
In addition to education and training resources, the NRA also provides a number of magazines and websites that publish a wealth of information in a variety of areas. The NRA’s flagship publication, American Rifleman, covers the latest firearms and accessories to hit the market, as well as background and history on the technological development of guns and the importance of the Second Amendment.
Other publications under the NRA umbrella highlight popular niches within the shooting community, providing tailored content for enthusiasts who know exactly what kind of information they need to broaden their knowledge base. These include Shooting Illustrated, a resource for the modern shooter looking for the latest on tactical-style firearms and personal-defense strategies. NRA Family offers accessible content for new gun owners and youth shooters, offering an easy-to-understand entry point into the shooting-sports community.
Still other websites and magazines provide a wealth of knowledge for other corners of the firearm community. American Hunter, the largest and most prominent hunting magazine in the world, outlines the latest tools and techniques hunters need to know before they enter the field, and the magazine also highlights tried-and-true methods and traditions that are at the core of every hunt.
Alongside “American Hunter” is the Hunter’s Leadership Forum, which highlights the battles fought to keep hunting alive around the world and outlines the tremendous contributions that hunters make to wildlife conservation.
Of course, the National Rifle Association wouldn’t be complete without a publication highlighting the political fights centered upon the Second Amendment, and America’s 1st Freedom shines the light on anti-gun efforts across the nation, as well as NRA initiatives and legal filings designed to counter these thrusts. The magazine also provides background on the meaning and importance of the Second Amendment, bringing alive the principles that guide our right to keep and bear arms.
Other publications within the NRA offer resources for competition shooters, and Shooting Sports USA covers the national and regional matches and events that allow gun owners to sharpen their skills. The digital magazine also highlights the latest competition gear and publishes tips from leading competitors, giving shooters the information they need to build their gun-handling skills.
These publications continue to grow in their own right, and the network of niche websites continues to expand in order to service rapidly growing segments of the gun-owning world. The latest site, NRA Women, offers a dedicated destination for women who are looking to forge their own path in an admittedly male-dominated industry and community. There, they can find stories written by women for women and learn what guns, gear and techniques work for the modern woman.
NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action also offers a running record of its efforts to protect and defend the Second Amendment, and the division’s latest initiative is to expose the anti-gun elements looking to diminish the Second Amendment during the COVID-19 threat. Readers can also find information at the NRA-ILA main page on the constant efforts and victories won by the NRA against anti-gunners.
Resources offered by the NRA don’t stop there, and much more can be found in the way of information on the NRA Explore website. There, interested gun owners can find a wealth of options, all of which give them the knowledge and tools they need to broaden their understanding and support of the Second Amendment.
All of this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the National Rifle Association’s membership base, and it’s the members who ultimately guide the organization’s future. To become a part of the most significant Second Amendment organization in history, visit membership.nra.org.