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National Rifle Association (NRA)

By

Wayne LaPierre

Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA.

Photo: Manny Ceneta / Getty Images.

Mission:

To protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and to promote safe, responsible, and competent use of firearms.

Founded:

In 1871, by a group of Union veterans of the American Civil War. The first NRA president was Ambrose Burnside; the eighth, Ulysses S. Grant.

Demographics:

The NRA is made up of some 4.3 million members and has chapters throughout the country. Over 1,000 NRA-licensed firearms instructors train individuals on firearm use, while the NRA's considerable staff wields an astonishing amount of lobbying power.

Supporters Say:

The NRA, the oldest and largest civil liberties organization in the United States, promotes the Founding Fathers' vision of a citizenry that both owns guns and uses them responsibly.

Critics Say:

The Second Amendment is based on the idea of powder-loaded muskets, and has no relevance in the contemporary world.

I Say:

If we give our government the power to disregard the Second Amendment, then we also give it the power to disregard the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. We need the NRA.
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