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President’s Column | Second Amendment Belongs To All Americans, Regardless Of Race, Creed Or Gender

President’s Column | Second Amendment Belongs To All Americans, Regardless Of Race, Creed Or Gender

Photo credit: Michael Ives

This feature appears in the August ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

The Second Amendment belongs to every American. The freedom secured by the Second Amendment cannot be put asunder by any conceivable element of discrimination—not by color, race, age, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political ideology or national origin.

This is the simple, direct message of the National Rifle Association to all Americans. I’m proud of our minority outreach efforts to date, but more work needs to be done. A central focus of my NRA presidency is to help the NRA be more inclusive than it’s ever been. 

The Constitution does not care about the tone of your skin, whom you love, which political party you’ve vowed to support or which language you speak—if you’re speaking the language of freedom. If you’re willing to protect your family no matter the cost, and if you want to have a say when it comes to your rights as a law-abiding, responsible American gun owner, then I want you to join us. 

The Constitution does not care about the tone of your skin, whom you love, which political party you’ve vowed to support or which language you speak—if you’re speaking the language of freedom.There is a tremendous opportunity at our doorstep right now. A once-powerful and biased media is on the ropes; people across our great nation are becoming wise to their tactics and asking questions like never before. We must seize this opportunity to own the narrative about who we really are. We must seize this opportunity to tell our story. We must tell the world—on our terms—what we believe.

I’m an NRA Life member—I have been, literally, from day one. My family has actively participated in NRA programs and efforts for more than 70 years. I know the NRA and thousands of NRA members. I’m proud to say, without question, this organization is brimming with hard-working men and women who are proud of their families, proud of their country, and proud of America’s heritage of freedom and diversity. 

This is an inconvenient truth for much of our nation’s media who seek to portray us as narrow-minded bigots.

Millions of our fellow Americans, many of them minorities, are becoming gun owners for the very first time. Unfortunately, some seem to have been deceived by false rhetoric about us peddled by anti-gunners. It’s on us to quash the rhetoric; it’s on us to prove anti-gunners wrong. 

All Americans, even those who may have incorrectly believed the NRA wasn’t an organization for them, are beginning to understand the virtues of gun ownership. A 2014 Pew Research study indicates more than half of African-Americans believe “gun ownership is more likely to protect people than to put them at risk.” That percentage nearly doubled from the results of a 2012 study.

It is our duty to connect with these groups, invite them to experience our organization, and to see with their own eyes the NRA and our Second Amendment are, in fact, for everyone.

That’s why NRA has continued to lead a concerted outreach effort to minority communities. Through platforms such as YouTube videos featuring personalities such as Colion Noir, along with the late Roy Innis, who was one of America’s great civil rights leaders and who led the NRA’s Urban Affairs Committee—now named the Outreach Committee—we hope to continue to lead on the issue of gun ownership, personal protection and gun rights. However, we can’t do it alone.

Outreach—at the most basic level—involves us all. Every NRA member knows someone who ought to be part of our community—our family. Reaching out to others is among our most fundamental duties as citizens who cherish and exercise the freedoms guaranteed by the Second Amendment.