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President's Column

By James W. Porter II, President

Ask Your Fellow Hunters to Join the NRA

If you’re a hunter like me—and like 70 percent of NRA’s membership—I suspect you’d agree that hunting is a priceless American tradition.

Think back on your life. I’ll bet some of your fondest memories were made with friends and family in the field. My dad was an avid outdoorsman, and I grew up hunting quail, doves, ducks, turkey and deer by his side. My first rifle was an M1 carbine that I hunted deer with, and my first shotgun was a Browning Superposed that my dad and I shot, and that my son now shoots.

Just as we pass our firearms from one generation to the next, we also pass on our outdoors traditions. That means hunting, like firearms and the freedom to own them, is a cultural treasure that could be lost in just a single generation.

Our heritage is being threatened like never before. It’s threatened by the Obama administration’s disdain and hatred for the right to keep and bear arms and the traditions that give life and health to that freedom—including hunting.

Our heritage is also being threatened by anti-gun, anti-hunting and environmental activists who want to ban all lead ammunition. Last year, when they tried to ban lead ammo through the Toxic Substances Control Act, we stopped them. But like the gun-ban lobby, they’re constantly coming up with new strategies to make firearms and hunting if not illegal, then unaffordable.

Our hunting lands are threatened by federal land-grab regulations that make millions of acres of prime public hunting land inaccessible to hunters like you and me.

And our hunting seasons are threatened by radical groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which raises millions by masquerading as your local animal shelter, when in fact it doesn’t operate a single animal shelter and it spends most of its $165 million annual budget on lobbying, propaganda and more fundraising. HSUS has been fighting for years to stop mourning dove hunting, and to ban hunting for everything from bears to mountain lions to wolves. And they’re getting richer every year.

If we’re going to protect and preserve hunting, we need every American hunter to be a part of the NRA.

That’s why, as president of the NRA, I’ve made it my top priority to bring more hunters into the NRA as part of a strategy to strengthen and expand the NRA’s efforts on behalf of hunters.

As a member, you already know NRA is the largest, most powerful group fighting for hunters’ rights. With millions of hunters among our ranks, no other group in the world comes close.

But there are 35 million hunters in this country, and far too few of them realize all we do on their behalf. So tell them: One of NRA’s primary objectives in our bylaws is “to promote and defend hunting as a shooting sport and as a viable and necessary method of fostering the propagation, growth and conservation, and wise use of our renewable wildlife resources.”

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has a dozen federal lobbyists, and 27 more working in all 50 state legislatures for hunters. We coordinate with fish and game officials at every level on wildlife, land and related legislative and regulatory issues. And NRA-ILA is formally recognized as a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations, where we fight to ensure your hunting rights aren’t infringed by international treaties.

You can see the results of ILA’s efforts in constitutional amendments that protect the right to hunt in 18 states so far; shooting range protection laws in 47 states; and hunter protection laws in all 50 states.

While we fight to safeguard hunting, we work to ensure hunters are safe. We’ve been the national authority in that effort since 1949, when our first hunter safety-training course became the model for the nation. We train more Americans to be safe with firearms—for hunting or any lawful purpose—than any other public or private institution, more than a million Americans every year.

If you want to protect our outdoors traditions so future generations can enjoy the gifts with which we have been blessed, then do your part to protect them.

Join, renew or upgrade your NRA membership. Mentor a young hunter, or take someone hunting who might not otherwise have a chance.

Most importantly, ask your fellow hunters to do their fair share for hunting by joining the NRA—the only group big enough and strong enough to fight for hunters’ rights and win.