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Union veterans Col William C Church and Gen George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association NRA in 1871 The primary goal of the association was to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis according to a magazine editorial written by Church After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17 1871 the NRA was founded Civil War Gen Ambrose Burnside who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a US Senator became the NRAs first president The NRAs interest in promoting the shooting sports among Americas youth began in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges universities and military academies By 1906 NRAs youth program was in full swing with more than 200 boys competing in matches at Sea Girt that summer Today youth programs are still a cornerstone of the NRA with more than one million youth participating in NRA shooting sports events and affiliated programs with groups such as 4-H the Boy Scouts of America the American Legion US Jaycees and othersIn 1956 NRA became the only national trainer of law enforcement officers with the introduction of its NRA Police Firearms instructor certification program in 1960 Today there are more than 10000 NRA-certified police and security firearms instructors Additionally top law enforcement shooters compete each year in eight different pistol and shotgun matches at the National Police Shooting Championships held in Jackson MississippiIn 1990 the NRA made a dramatic move to ensure that the financial support for firearms-related activities would be available now and for future generations Establishing the NRA Foundation a 501 c 3 tax-exempt organization provided a means to raise millions of dollars to fund gun safety and educational projects of benefit to the general public Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible and benefit a variety of American constituencies including youths women hunters competitive shooters gun collectors law enforcement agents and
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