OUTDOORS: Don’t judge a book by its coverWORTHINGTON — I love the old saying that “you should never judge a book by its cover.” When you make the mistake of doing so, it can really turn around and bite you in the rear end. There is no doubt we have all made this mistake more than a time or two in our lives.
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — I love the old saying that “you should never judge a book by its cover.” When you make the mistake of doing so, it can really turn around and bite you in the rear end. There is no doubt we have all made this mistake more than a time or two in our lives.
There is one organization often judged by its cover, with the judger having very little actual knowledge of the organization or what it spends its time and efforts on. The group I am referring to is the National Rifle Association. When the NRA is mentioned, it will most likely generate one of two responses — the first being respect and the other disdain. When it comes to the NRA, most folks either love it or hate it. With education you normally get a better understanding. What follows is a little background on the NRA.
When you uncover the facts about the NRA, you will most likely become one of those who respect this institution. The NRA was founded by two high-ranking Union veterans who were dismayed at the lack of marksmanship abilities of the military troops. They founded the NRA in 1871 in New York. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside was its first president. The emphasis was on creating a shooting practice range, which they were successful in doing.
In the ensuing years, it became apparent shooting instruction and firearms safety needed attention, and in 1949 the NRA started the first firearms safety training program in the nation. This emphasis on training was expanded in 1960, when the NRA was again first in the nation in training law enforcement and security personnel. There are now more than 10,000 NRA-certified police and security firearms safety instructors.
The NRA’s involvement doesn’t stop there. On the civilian side, there are 55,000 certified firearms safety instructors who teach and train more than 750,000 gun owners every year. The NRA has many more training programs, but one of the most impressive is its Eddie ‘Eagle Gun Safe Program.’
This program teaches children between kindergarten and sixth grade what to do if they find a firearm. It includes the following four steps: Stop, don’t touch it, leave the area and tell an adult.
The program has been taught to more than 21 million children since its inception in 1988. No other organization has evolved to this level in gun safety programs across such a wide age group and experience background.
The NRA is not normally recognized by members of the general public for its safety and education programs. The NRA is best known for its defense of the Second Amendment. It began that defense in 1934 with the creation of the Legislative Affairs Division. It started as an information dissemination service by sending mailings to members on issues related to gun ownership. As attacks on legal gun ownership increased, the NRA responded with the creation of its Institute for Legislative Action in 1975.
Since then, the NRA has grown to more than 4 million members and continues to support legal gun ownership, protecting the rights of hunters, recreational shooters and the rights of all Americans to defend themselves and their families.
The Prairieland Area Friends of the NRA will host a banquet on Aug. 1, with social hour starting at 4:30 p.m. and the meal to follow at the Horse Barn and Hunt Club in Lakefield. Tickets are available for purchase from Kyle Thaemlitz at (507) 662-5359. Proceeds from ticket sales are used for youth shooting experiences and other training and education programs, including the ‘Women on Target’ program. Attending this fundraiser does not make you an NRA member.
This local NRA unit has, in the past, spent the funds raised on a free introduction to shooting sports by offering free rounds of sporting clays to youths under age 16, if accompanied by a paying adult at the Horse Barn and Hunt Club. It is obvious that interest in recreational shooting opportunities is on the rise in Minnesota with the ever-increasing participation in high school trapshooting clubs, 4-H programs and the like.
Introducing young and old people alike to the benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle — including the shooting sports — is an admirable goal. The NRA is doing more of that than any other organization along with being the premier firearm safety training outfit in the country.
There is no doubt you can debate the merits of gun ownership or gun control until the cows come home and never reach a consensus with everyone. As an avid hunter and Firearms Safety Instructor, I support the rights of legal gun ownership. I also know proper training and mentoring is necessary in order for these rights to be enjoyed safely. I would like to think I am doing my part to make this happen and I believe the NRA is also playing an important role that no other organization seems ready and willing to tackle.
Information is the key to sound decision making, and you can make your own decisions about the NRA. Visit the website at www.nra.org and see all that is being done. I look forward to seeing you at the Horse Barn and Hunt Club on Aug. 1.