NRA Explore | History

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The Lasting Legacy of Firearms

Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis." Since then, the NRA has been the premier firearms education organization in the world. From training the next generation of gun owners to leading legislative and political efforts to defend the Second Amendment, the NRA is at the forefront of preserving your freedom.

Founded In 1871

Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis"

3,200+ Firearms On Display

Showcasing the history and tradition of firearms in American culture at The NRA National Firearms Museum, NRA National Sporting Arms Museum and The Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest.

Defending Since 1975

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, founded in 1975, is the leading force for the legislative and political defense of the Second Amendment

History Of The NRA

While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly five million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.

NRA Museums

The National Rifle Association details the history of firearms, shooting sports and American culture in three museums; NRA National Firearms Museum in Washington D.C., NRA National Sporting Arms Museum in Bass Pro Shops of Springfield, Mo., and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM.

NRAExplore is the resource for all programs of the National Rifle Association. Select an interest to browse programs and find information about firearm safety, a variety of events, educational courses and more!