While the National Rifle Association is, perhaps, the most well-known anti-gun control organization, there are other similar groups across the United States aiming to protect the longstanding Second Amendment rights that have been offered to Americans.
High-profile cases have intensified the debate over gun control legislation. Groups that believe in the right to bear arms have ramped up their efforts as well.
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The NRA, with roots going back to 1871, boasts more than 5 million members. Two U.S. Army officers founded the organization to promote marksmanship. Over time, the organization has evolved, lobbying lawmakers as legislative changes are proposed. Several celebrities, including Charlton Heston, have been associated with the organization.
Gun Owners of America boasts 1.5 million members and has been in existence since 1975 as an outgrowth of a handgun debate that was raging at the time. By contrast to most anti-gun control groups, the Second Amendment Foundation has been less visible and has worked behind the scenes in maintaining the gun ownership rights that have been in place. SAF has more than 650,000 active members.
Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership has been in existence since 1989. The Hartford, Wisconsin-based organization has about 7,000 members and has, at times, referenced imagery from the Holocaust and Nazi regime to get its point across.
Proving the disparity between some of the organizations advocating for gun owners’ rights, the National Shooting Sports Foundation is a trade organization (its members are businesses) that supports lawful firearms commerce under the Second Amendment.
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Other notable groups include the National Association for Gun Rights, which has about 3.5 million members. The organization’s membership touts its muscle in fighting for Second Amendment rights in the courts. The group also holds frequent firearms training sessions.
While there are a number of nationally focused anti-gun control groups scattered throughout the U.S., there is also a wide range of statewide and regionally focused groups as well that consist of members tackling issues on a smaller geographic scale.
Pro-Gun New Hampshire, founded in 2006, is one such group. According to the group’s website, visibility is key to its mission. “A major purpose . . . is to keep the pro-gun message in public view,” reads a statement on its website.
In some instances, anti-gun control groups have been in the midst of events that have been marked with extreme rhetoric. Earlier this year, members of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association took part in a rally against laws limiting Second Amendment rights. The rally included some extremists’ statements — including allegations the Newtown shootings were a hoax — but the head of the NYSRPA spoke out against such comments.
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