The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been on Coastal’s campus since the beginning of Spring semester. The NRA is “America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights,” according to their official webpage.
The organization primarily focuses on education and the protection of the Second Amendment including the unrestricted use of firearms. In regards to education, there have been three focuses: the development of ground skills with a firearm, hunter education and the training of law enforcement officers.
Maddy Scholar, a student at CCU, has seen a need for this type of organization on campus.
“There are many students with an interest in gun safety, laws and shooting skills,” Scholar explained. “Some of our members are looking to do competitions as well. We have many members, including myself, that are in the military, and this club is right up our alley.”
As students, faculty and staff were protesting the legislative inaction regarding the 17 deaths of students in Florida due to gun violence, during National Walkout Day, the NRA organization on campus had a “I’m pro-gun. Change my mind” table on Prince Lawn.
Scholar talked about the prime objective about having the NRA on Coastal’s campus.
“The main goal is to make students aware of what the NRA has to offer, promote gun safety, as well as promote second amendment rights,” said Scholar.
Gun violence has been a growing topic of discussion with instances like Las Vegas and Florida at its core. There have been many proposals as to the proper response to each incident, but legislation ideas have yet to be agreed upon.
Jake Lucas, a senior Political Science and Intelligence and Natural Security major, is pro Second Amendment and in favor of universal background checks.
“I think for some people it can be a pain because there’s been cases where somebody has had the same name as a felon, and it makes it a lot harder for them – those who haven’t committed the crime – to obtain a gun,” said Lucas. “But I think, overall, it’s a good idea because there are instances of people being able to go out to a gun show and get whatever kind of gun they want.”
Civilians can purchase any sort of firearm at a gun show because of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“A person may transfer a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his or her State, provided the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.”
In Nevada, one does not need a permit to buy a gun, nor is a license required. One does not need to register their firearm, and there is also no limit on the number of guns a person can buy at one time. It is also legal to own assault weapons and large capacity magazines for ammunition.
Police, in full awareness of this information, believe that Stephen Paddock legally bought the 23 firearms he used to fire into a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The NRA began to recognize the need for political defense of the Second Amendment in 1975 and formed the Institute for Legislative Action -
Lucas had this to say in regards to the current mass shootings.
“While mass shootings are a tragedy, the amount of deaths that are brought about by gun violence are nowhere near the amount due to car crashes and gang violence committed in cities,” said Lucas. “Statistically speaking, it’s not as big of a killer as people make it out to be.”
When asked why the public cares about gun violence, Lucas contributed it to the media.
“It’s just a huge issue because it’s highly publicized,” said Lucas. “Schools are supposed to be a safe places to go and, when you see students going into the school and they’re getting shot at, it’s unacceptable.”
In civilian training, the NRA continues to be the leader in firearms education. There are classes offered in how to properly use a basic rifle, pistol and shotgun. One can also learn how to muzzleload a firearm and reload ammunition.
Money from the NRA Foundation help to fund these classes. It is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization, raising millions of dollars. For donors, contributions are also tax-deductible.
Lucas looks forward to future discussions about gun control on campus.
“At Coastal, I don’t think most conservative republicans are the type of people that are going to fight you and make you pry their guns from their cold dead hands and be unwilling to talk when you say gun control is good,” said Lucas. “I think they’re willing to have a good debate about gun control and gun rights with you. They’re definitely willing to have an open discussion about it and be informed and teach about gun rights as well.”
The NRA organization on campus meets every Thursday at 8 p.m. Students can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.