With the increase in violent crime nationwide over the past year and a half, and threats to defund and/or abolish law enforcement, more and more Americans are taking the steps to become first-time gun owners. This shouldn’t be of surprise, as many law-abiding, hardworking Americans are worried about protecting themselves, their families and their property. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), more than eight million people purchased their first firearm in 2020. And we should all be proud that our NRA was available and ready to provide them with the training on how to safely and responsibly use, carry and store their new guns.
I can’t say it enough—our training programs are the gold standard for firearms instruction. That is due to the efforts of thousands of NRA members who work tirelessly as instructors, training counselors, coaches and volunteers. As a training counselor myself, I understand the dedication, time and sacrifice that must be made to properly do the job.
Even at a time when anti-gun politicians are pushing new restrictions on our Second Amendment rights, and government entities are trying to sideline or silence the NRA with the help of their mainstream-media allies, more Americans know that they can turn to us to provide them with the instruction that they desire. And that is exactly why we are seeing an explosion in the number of our fellow Americans—neighbors, friends and co-workers—who are taking training courses by NRA Certified Instructors.
If you know of a first-time gun owner, be sure that they visit firearmtraining.nra.org to access a list of NRA training courses in their area. There are so many to choose from: Basic Personal Protection inside and outside of the home, Defensive Pistol and Home Firearm Safety Training, just to name a few. With a network of more than 125,000 instructors and over 2,000 training counselors, our association trains well over one million people each year. And that number is only growing as more and more honorable, decent Americans are interested in exercising their God-given right to defend themselves and their loved ones.
Due to this growth, the NRA recently relaunched the NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation program with updated branding and new course materials. FIRST (Firearm Instruction, Responsibility & Safety Training) Steps is tailored toward providing students with an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to own and use a specific pistol model safely. This is especially great for new gun owners to get acquainted with their recently purchased firearm of choice.
In addition to everything mentioned above, there are also educational opportunities available at the upcoming 2021 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Houston, Texas. I hope you are planning to join us September 3-5 to celebrate our Second Amendment freedoms and 150 years of success at your NRA. While the centerpiece of the show is 14 acres of guns and gear, engaging seminars will also be offered touching on a variety of topics, from the fundamentals of concealed carry to home-defense tactics and preparation, and even crime-prevention strategies. There really is something for every gun owner, new and old—so be sure not to miss out! More information on the Annual Meetings can be found at nraam.org.