President’s Column | Welcome Others To Freedom

posted on November 23, 2021

As your new NRA president, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve our Association and protect your right to keep and bear arms.

Over the past 20 years, as a member of the Board of Directors, I’ve seen how different NRA presidents have used their position to advance a variety of worthwhile efforts. Today, I’d like to use that bully pulpit to call on each of you to do your part, individually in your own community, to expand our constituency, to share the Second Amendment’s blessings with a wider audience and, in the process, to save innocent lives.

Before I explain how, let me back up a bit.

I’m old enough to remember when gun rights were considered off limits to political maneuvering. In Texas and much of the South, the right to keep and bear arms was part of the fabric of life. Few questioned it. Still fewer—Republicans or Democrats—dared to attack it.

Today, all that has changed. I believe a big part of why is because many of the Second Amendment’s most natural allies have been fed a lifetime of lies about it. So, it’s easy to see how a young, single mom living in the inner city, who has never fired or even seen a gun, can be deceived into believing the lies of anti-gun politicians.

This doesn’t just endanger your freedom to own a gun. More importantly, it also endangers her right, and the right of every one of us, to protect innocent life. I want your help today, to change that dynamic in powerful and permanent ways.

Having seen, handled and fired handguns ... for themselves, [these women] no longer could be bamboozled by the lies and fearmongering of the anti-gun lobby and media.

That’s exactly what a computer engineer, NRA-certified instructor and NRA Outreach Committee member named Rick Ector is doing in Detroit. We could all learn a lot from Rick’s example.

Ten years ago, after several women were murdered in the area, Rick began offering free firearm training to women in his community. He did this all on his own, volunteering his time, providing the guns, ammunition and safety equipment and finding ranges to donate access. The first year, Rick hosted 50 women. The next year, attendance doubled. And this past August, Ector’s two-day firearm training event reached 4,000 women.

Many, if not most, of those women had never seen a firearm firsthand before Rick introduced them. Afterwards, many purchased firearms of their own. But all of them came away from Rick’s instruction enlightened. Having seen, handled and fired handguns for the first time for themselves, many of these women experienced an empowerment awakening. Even if they didn’t choose to own a firearm, no longer could they be bamboozled by the lies and fear-mongering of the anti-gun lobby and media.

That makes a real and lasting difference—not just for your freedoms, but more importantly, for those women’s ability to defend themselves and their loved ones.

Make no mistake: With Joe Biden and his anti-gun allies pushing laws to ban your guns and defund police—and with violent crime suddenly surging in much of the U.S.—I believe it’s incumbent upon every one of us to follow Rick Ector’s example and do the same in our own communities. And let’s be clear: This isn’t just some strategy. It’s not just a nice thing to do. I believe it’s our duty. And it’s the right thing to do.

Over the past few years, about 8 million Americans have acquired their first firearms. Who will help train them to be safe and effective with those firearms, if not us? Who will welcome them as fellow shooters, fellow hunters, fellow competitors—and fellow shepherds and custodians of a safe and free society—if not us?

So, I urge you: Consider ways your local range or gun club can not just “feed a man a fish for a day”—but also “teach a woman to fish for a lifetime.” Find ways to bring underserved members of your community to your range. Then give them a chance to experience the Second Amendment for themselves. Maybe that means lending a gun with proper supervision in a safe, welcoming, controlled environment at your club. Maybe it means providing free ammunition. Consider becoming an NRA Certified Instructor if you are not one already. Whatever it takes, help them make firearm freedom a part of the fabric of their everyday lives. Welcome them as members of our community of freedom. In so doing, you’ll help restore the right to keep and bear arms as the inborn birthright and lifelong safeguard of free people always.



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