Donald Edwin Young, an Alaskan congressman who has served on NRA’s board since first being elected in 1995, passed away on March 15, 2022, aged 88, while traveling to his home state.
Young, an NRA Life member, was first elected to the NRA Board in 1995. He also served on several NRA committees, including the Black Powder and Legislative Policy committees, and received NRA-ILA’s Defender of Individual Rights Award, along with numerous other awards.
“To many of us, Don Young was Mr. Alaska,” said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president. “That towering Kodiak bear that greeted visitors to his congressional office in our nation’s capital was a true harbinger of what was in store for them when they met Don: a larger-than-life fighting spirit and a sincere love for all things Alaska—especially the people of his great state. We were privileged and honored to have him serve as an NRA board member.”
Young was the oldest current member and longest-serving Republican of the U.S. Congress, serving out his 25th term and 49th year since he was first elected to the House in 1973. Young was known for securing Congressional funding for projects in Alaska, for supporting the oil, logging and mineral industries, for having a good relationship with Alaska’s Native tribal governments and for his willingness to work across party lines on legislation. He served as the chair of the Resources Committee, co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmans’ Caucus and as a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was also the only member of the National Trappers Association in Congress—an enduring sign of his steadfast love of the outdoors.
Young was well known for staunchly supporting Second Amendment rights. He co-sponsored the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, voted against the Brady Bill and the “assault weapons” ban, and successfully amended the 1993 Crime Bill to include provisions protecting hunters’ rights. Young was also one of the original sponsors of legislation to repeal the “assault weapons” ban in the 104th Congress.
“His fierce diligence and prudence toward safeguarding our Second Amendment rights is a legacy that he leaves behind for every American,” LaPierre added. “His loss is a big void to the NRA and to me personally. On behalf of our millions of members, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Anne and the entire Young family. Rest in Peace, Congressman.”
Young served in the U.S. Army from 1955-57, 41st Tank Battalion. He is survived by his wife, two daughters from a previous marriage, his wife’s children, and 20 grandchildren and step-grandchildren.