A Living Example of Courage and Bravery

posted on April 20, 2023
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From left: NRA board member Mark Vaughan (past recipient of the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award), NRA Executive Director of General Operations Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr., 2022 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Deputy Mark Johns and NRA President Charles Cotton.
Photo: NRA

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes an exceptional act or service by a law-enforcement officer. It is administered by the NRA Law Enforcement Division every year at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits.

Though much of the mainstream media ignores these stories of heroism, and some anti-freedom politicians have cut the funding of law-enforcement agencies, it’s crucial that we not only tell these stories, but also recognize the incredible acts of bravery and courage that law-enforcement officers display every day.

Speaking in recognition of this year's recipient at the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum in Indianapolis, Ind., was former NRA President Chief Kayne Robinson. “Please listen carefully to this one. It’s a tough story about what a cop goes through,” said Robinson.

Robinson then detailed a story of courage and bravery of Dep. Mark Johns that occurred on August 22 of last year in Oklahoma City, Okla., when Johns and two others were serving a court order.

While doing so, Johns and Sgt. Bobby Swartz were fired upon through the door of the home. Swartz was fatally struck by the gunfire. “Dep. Johns pulled Sgt. Swartz out of the gunfire and then provided aid while trying to keep track of the thug’s location,” Robinson said.

Further gunfire was exchanged as the man fled the home with Johns being hit and knocked down by a rifle round that pierced the femoral artery in his thigh. The murderer was later captured after fleeing the scene. Johns was taken to the hospital in critical condition and released days later.

“Despite being critically wounded in the incident, Dep. Mark Johns continued to return fire, protect Sgt. Swartz, Dep. Norton and himself. His actions and courage under fire is a credit to his department, the community he serves and keeps with the highest standards of law enforcement. So now, it’s with great honor and pride that the National Rifle Association names Dep. Mark Johns as the ’22 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year,” Robinson said.

The entire room delivered a standing ovation to Dep. Johns, who repeatedly thanked those applauding as tears came down his face. Robinson was also seen fighting back tears, as were others in the room.

“God bless that man and law enforcement in general, thank you,” added NRA board member Jay Printz, a retired Montana sheriff.

Johns was formally presented with the award at the NRA Board of Directors Meeting.


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