by Karen Mehall Phillips - Tuesday, February 4, 2020
America hears the NRA referred to as the “gun lobby” on a daily basis and rightly so, considering its NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is what safeguards our Second Amendment and hunting rights on Capitol Hill and in every state capitol 24/7 as it mobilizes grassroots support to fight for freedom. But as the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA is so much more. Not only did the NRA create America’s first-ever hunter education course in 1949 in conjunction with the state of New York, but seventy years later, NRA General Operations continues to offer hunter safety, education and training programs for hunters at all skill levels. For a prime example, in 2015 it was the NRA—and the NRA alone—that invested $3 million to launch a free, state-of-the-art NRA online hunter education course, all while continuing to provide programs such as the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge and more so that hunters have access to the tools they need to be safe and responsible afield. But amid so many programs and services, do not let the grassroots benefits the NRA also provides to NRA-affiliated clubs, associations and ranges through the NRA Clubs and Associations Department get lost in the shuffle.
Perhaps you are not even aware that the NRA has an NRA Clubs and Associations Department that provides services and assistance to a network of more than 15,000 NRA-affiliated clubs, associations and businesses, or that the department offers this vast grassroots network the publication called NRA Club Connection. Produced quarterly, it keeps hunters and shooters “connected” by sharing news on NRA programs and services. This includes providing advice and other information on range services and grant funding opportunities through the NRA Range Services Department, which oversees a Range Technical Team consisting of a national network of volunteers trained in shooting range development, design and operations. As the hunting and shooting sports community works to promote our traditional outdoor heritage, the hunting- and shooting-oriented events these facilities ultimately offer further provide for the future of hunters and hunting.
For more information on NRA Club Connection or on how your shooting or hunting club can become affiliated with the NRA to start tapping into the benefits, click here.
The NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum website covers news relevant to hunters on the local, national and international fronts. We track how hunters' dollars are spent and we celebrate our long and rich hunting tradition, exposing those who seek to destroy it. Follow NRAHLF.org on Twitter @HuntersLead.
About the Author
Karen Mehall Phillips is the director of communications for the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum and senior editor of NRA’s American Hunter. An avid rifle and bow hunter, she has hunted for 30 years and in 29 states, Canada, Italy, Finland, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Greenland and Africa, including for two of the Big Five.
Karen draws on her experience to educate non-hunters on the critical role that hunters play in wildlife conservation worldwide and to inform them of the dangers anti-hunting extremists present to the future of wildlife conservation. She is invested in fighting America's culture war on hunters and hunting and works to shed light on anti-hunters’ blatant attempts to tout emotion and misinformation over scientific facts.
An NRA Endowment member, Karen worked in the NRA public relations arena prior to joining NRA Publications in 1998. She is the founding editor of two NRA official journals: America's 1st Freedom and Woman's Outlook. National writing awards include being named the 2015 Carl Zeiss Sports Optics Writer of the Year. She actively promotes women and families in the outdoors. She is also a member of the Washington metropolitan area's Fairfax Rod & Gun Club, a founding member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, a member of Safari Club International and a Life member of the Dallas Safari Club and the Mule Deer Foundation.
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