Even in—or especially in—times of trouble, it’s important to stop for a moment to look back, as hindsight shows us how far we’ve come and how clear our purpose is. This is such a time for America’s 1st Freedom. This magazine turns 20 years old this month. It began as The American Guardian in 1997, but was rebranded America’s 1st Freedom in June of 2000.
America’s 1st Freedom’s first cover was an illustration morphing then President Bill Clinton (D) into wannabe president Al Gore. The image was eerie. Looking back, it’s a view into a possible future of control, even of the death of an individual right that could have happened if Gore had shaped the U.S. Supreme Court before Heller v. D.C. (2008). It’s a possible future we didn’t let happen then, but that again faces us now.
Gore, after all, was running openly on an anti-Second Amendment platform; in fact, Gore’s positions on our freedom, thanks in no small part to your NRA, even cost him his home state of Tennessee in his failed attempt to win our nation’s highest office.
At the time, the NRA recognized that this was the beginning of a new era, a time when politicians would begin to openly and substantively attack our right to keep and bear arms on a national level. The NRA knew it needed a magazine to dig deep into the issues to educate and inform its members as the NRA continued its mission to not just protect, but revitalize our freedom.
“We started America’s 1st Freedom because we needed to solidify and amplify the cry for Second Amendment freedom in this great nation. And, America’s 1st Freedom has helped us do just that,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA. “Incredibly, at a time when so many freedoms were being incrementally diminished, gun rights was and remains the exception. But this didn’t happen by chance. The restoration of this right has occurred because of the NRA, and our members stood up and voted for their freedom again and again. But all the gains we’ve made together could be lost in this November’s election if we don’t stand and fight now.”
Thanks to lobbying from the NRA, just four years after this magazine’s first issue, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 1994” sunset in 2004. Meanwhile, numerous states got out of the way of the citizenry’s right to carry concealed, firearms manufacturers were granted protection from being held liable for the actions of criminals, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Heller v. D.C. that, yes indeed, the Second Amendment protects an individual right. None of this would have been possible without NRA lobbying in every state and in our nation’s capital, without the NRA’s detailed Second Amendment legal work, and without the in-depth reporting in America’s 1st Freedom, at NRA-ILA.org and in all of the NRA’s official journals that educate the public about the basis of their freedom.
Now, as anyone paying attention in this election cycle knows, if anything, the battles for your freedom have intensified. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is now openly waging war on the Second Amendment. It might be easy to think Biden is simply a newer version of Gore on this issue; after all, Biden is also a former vice president who seeks to build on the firearms restrictions of the president he worked under. But Biden, who has long been opposed to our individual right to keep and bear arms, is exponentially worse. Biden is now speaking openly about gun confiscations (he calls them “buybacks,” as if people bought them from the government), gun bans and the criminalization of a lot of normal law-abiding American behavior.
Biden has even said that failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke—of “Hell yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15” fame—would lead his administration’s gun-control task force.
All of this places America’s 1st Freedom, with 20 years of experience as the gun rights authority, as an important voice telling people the truth about this most basic of constitutional rights. Please, hand a copy of this magazine to your sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, your friends and neighbors and perhaps even ask if you can leave a copy in your dentist’s office and barbershop. The truth is what wins the day in a truly open society. But for that to happen, the truth has to bypass the mainstream media’s filters.