Dear Business Insider: The NRA Essay Contest is a Good Thing

posted on January 27, 2024
courtesy Pexels

The NRA regularly weathers a wide variety of attacks from members of the mainstream media, but a recent story from Business Insider has taken such attacks to an all-time low.

The Business Insider story, titled “The NRA wants your kid to love guns: Programs promote 2nd Amendment absolutism to kindergarteners on up,” begins this way: “For the National Rifle Association, no American is too young to join in their absolutist defense of the Second Amendment—and that includes kindergarteners.”

What Business Insider’s Laura Italiano is attacking is the annual youth essay contest, sponsored by the NRA’s Civil Rights Defense Fund. Apparently, to those on the other side of the gun-control battle, the theme “What Does The Second Amendment Mean To You?” is repugnant, despite the fact that the contest encourages youth to give deeper thought to their constitutionally protected rights.

The story goes on to quote gun-control activists who express how horrible they think it is to provide a venue for young Americans to learn more about the U.S. Constitution and their basic rights.

“It’s very dangerous for younger Americans to be indoctrinated with the viewpoint that the Second Amendment allows every American to lawfully possess a firearm,” said Kris Brown, president of the gun-control group Brady.

The Second Amendment, of course, protects an individual right.

In the landmark case D.C. v. Heller (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled just that. Two years later, in McDonald v. Chicago, the court ruled that the Second Amendment protects that right nationwide. In 2022, the high court ruled in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen that this right does, indeed, extend outside the home.

So, the Second Amendment does “allow every American to lawfully possess a firearm.” Sure, some people have lost this right—convicted felons, for example—but the vast majority of Americans over the age of 18 retain this right and are free to practice it.

Meanwhile, the group Americans Against Gun Violence holds an essay contest for high schoolers that’s based on fear, ignorance, and deception. Instead of encouraging youngsters to embrace their freedoms, this contest is designed to turn people against their right to keep and bear arms.

Instructions for that contest, which will distribute $15,000 to 12 winners, asks youngsters to write 500 words on this provided passage: “In creating constitutional obstacles, where none previously existed, to the adoption of stringent gun control laws in the United States comparable to laws in other high income democratic countries, the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision and its progeny are literally death sentences for tens of thousands of Americans annually.”

Some schools, including the San Francisco Unified School District, publicized this gun-control contest to their employees so they could pass the “opportunity” down to their students.

The gun-control group March for our Lives also holds a youth essay contest each year. They encourage kids to write anti-Second Amendment essays. One of the prompts for the 2022 contest stated: “The right to not be shot is one of the Constitution’s most fundamental, yet overlooked rights. Imagine a world where your right to be free from gun violence was upheld by the courts. How would your life be different?”

The winner that year was critical of Americans’ ability to purchase a gun; in fact, from reading her essay, it’s possible that she heard Barack Obama make his infamous, and untrue, statement that “it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”

“In my home state, the place where I was born and raised, with its rolling hills and packed cities, anyone can buy a gun on their lunch break,” the 15-year-old essay winner wrote. “All they have to be is 18, and then they determine what happens to it—if they keep it for themselves, or give it to their kid for their birthday, and let them do what they want with it.”

It’s interesting to note that the NRA has been sponsoring the essay contest celebrating the true meaning of the Second Amendment for nearly 35 years without much pushback before Business Insider did its recent hit job. Of course, the NRA has been doing far more for youth than just hosting this essay contest for decades.

Programs ranging from art contests to junior shooting camps to a youth-education summit provide young Americans with activities to help them to learn to responsibly use their freedom. The NRA National Youth Shooting Sports Cooperative Program provides resources, programs, and training to a number of youth organizations that give youngsters an opportunity to learn about actual gun safety.

Since 1988, NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program has been teaching children in pre-K through fourth grade the important steps to take if they find a gun. In the past 36 years, the program has taught these important, life-saving lessons to more than 32 million children!

And that’s only a brief glance at NRA’s youth programs. Learn about more NRA programs focused on young Americans here.

Unlike what Business Insider seems to believe, educated, safe kids grow up to be educated, safe adults who understand their basic rights. Isn’t that what our country needs more of these days?


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