American Rifleman - November 2019 - 14

which had been founded in 1975.
Today, ILA's ability to fight successfully for the rights of America's lawabiding gun owners directly reflects
the support of NRA's 5.5 million
members-a number that has more
than tripled since 1978. Now, when
restrictive gun-control legislation is
proposed at the local, state or federal
level, NRA members and supporters
are alerted and respond with individual letters, faxes, emails and calls to
their elected representatives to make
their views known.
In the 1980s, we were just learning
how to do this. During this time I learned
from great leaders, such as Harlon B.
Carter, and was part of a team you
funded to protect your freedom. I was
first the Director of State and Local, then
Federal Affairs and then the Executive
Director of ILA. There was a void in our
media strategy at this critical time as we
fought in legislatures and in Congress.
So, I stepped in and did media interviews in each position to help advance
our freedom. In doing so, I inadvertently
emerged as the fighting face of the NRA.
In 1991, I became Executive Vice
President of the NRA. It wasn't a position I sought. I tried to recruit candidates from within the board and even
reached out to some notable names
in D.C. But, no one was willing. So, I
stepped up.
So, when no one else at the NRA
was willing to appear on national media,
I would go on and articulate how the
American public feels about their constitutional rights. I would take the heat as
the resolute voice and face of the NRA.
It came at a very high personal cost-
one that I bear still today. But, not doing
it would have been calamitous for our
Second Amendment.
Let's look back together for a
moment, as it's critical that we not
forget what we've accomplished
together.
A History Of Fighting For Freedom
It is easy to forget that 30 years ago
the Second Amendment was on its
deathbed. To resuscitate this fundamental freedom, the NRA became a
fighting brand for you and your rights.

14

Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald J. Trump met with
the leaders of associations and others,
including Wayne LaPierre, executive vice
president of the NRA, to discuss the
nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S.
Supreme Court on Feb. 1, 2017. LaPierre
has spoken with Trump many times as
the Trump administration has considered
various matters related to your rights.

We turned our attention to The
Gun Control Act of 1968. Under this
legislation, a person didn't even need
to have intent to break the law to
find themselves facing a felony. The
government could even enter a gun
store every day simply to harass them
out of business. In the mid-1980s, the
NRA fought to change this so the law
would be better focused on targeting
criminals, not law-abiding gun owners.
After about a decade of work, the
NRA convinced Congress to overhaul
the entire Gun Control Act of 1968
and passed The Firearm Owners'
Protection Act of 1986. This act did
a lot for you. It protected legal gun
dealers from harassment. It even
forbade the U.S. government from
creating or keeping a gun registry of
firearms owners. It was signed into law
by President Ronald Reagan.
Changing The Gun Control Act of
1968 was a big win, but it was just the
beginning.
Thanks to the NRA, the dominoes
of gun-control laws were soon falling.
NRA Grew Your Right To Carry
A big part of this struggle is and
was your right to carry a concealed
firearm-after all, the Second
Amendment protects your right to
keep and bear arms.
It is easy to forget that, in the
mid-1980s, even Texas had a bad
concealed-carry law. The NRA fought,
state by state, to turn "may-issue"
states-places where local licensing
authorities can decide, based on their
own personal feelings or any rationale
they can dream up, to deny any citizen
their right to carry a concealed firearm
for self-defense-into "shall-issue"
jurisdictions. In the 1980s most states
were "no-issue" or "may-issue," but
over the past 30 years, thanks in large
part to the NRA, this has changed
NOVEMBER 2019

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

completely. Now only eight states are
considered "may issue."
We still have a long way to go on this
issue. We need "national reciprocity,"
for example, and your NRA has been
lobbying for federal legislation that will
allow law-abiding U.S. citizens to travel
with their handguns without worrying
about being locked up because they've
crossed into a state like New Jersey.
We also need the U.S. Supreme
Court to strike down the unconstitutional infringement that allows local
licensing agents to wield "may-issue"
powers. The Second Amendment is an
individual right that the U.S. Supreme
Court has ruled also restricts state and
local governments. American citizens
should obviously be able to travel with
this right intact.
With this in mind, it's worth asking
how many lives have been saved by
right-to-carry laws over the last three
decades. Crimes averted are a difficult thing to measure, but it is a big
number. I remember a call I received
from a woman who was driving from
the Dallas/Fort Worth International
Airport (DFW) when two thugs intentionally ran her off the road. They
jumped out of their vehicle and were
coming at her with a tire iron. She
pulled her handgun, and they ran.
"I just want you to know, Wayne, you
saved my life," she said to me because
the NRA had fought to change the
carry laws in Texas.
Real stories like this one need to be
told, but too few in the national media
are honest enough to do that.
The NRA Did So Much More
I hate lists because they diminish each
achievement, but there were so many
critical political battles for your rights
that we can't possibly fit them all here.
NRA wins for your rights over the last
three decades include:



American Rifleman - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - November 2019

Contents
American Rifleman - November 2019 - Cover1
American Rifleman - November 2019 - Cover2
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 1
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 2
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 3
American Rifleman - November 2019 - Contents
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 5
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 6
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 7
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 8
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 9
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 10
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 11
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 12
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 13
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 14
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 15
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 16
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 17
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 18
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 19
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 20
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 21
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 22
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 23
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 24
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 25
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 26
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 27
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 28
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 29
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 30
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 31
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 32
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 33
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 34
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 35
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 36
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 37
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 38
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 39
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 40
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 41
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 42
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 43
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 44
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 45
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 46
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 47
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 48
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 49
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 50
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 51
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 52
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 53
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 54
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 55
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 56
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 57
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 58
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American Rifleman - November 2019 - 62
American Rifleman - November 2019 - 63
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American Rifleman - November 2019 - 71
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American Rifleman - November 2019 - 79
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American Rifleman - November 2019 - Cover3
American Rifleman - November 2019 - Cover4
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