One of Us: NRA Member, Hunter and NRA Publications Executive Director Doug Hamlin Named NRA EVP and CEO

One of Us: NRA Member, Hunter and NRA Publications Executive Director Doug Hamlin Named NRA EVP and CEO

A strong voice in ensuring the future of our Second Amendment freedoms, NRA EVP and CEO Doug Hamlin, above, stands with the NRA’s millions of members to protect our hunting and shooting sports traditions and supports hunters' efforts to share their wild game meat with those less fortunate through America's NRA-backed Hunters for the Hungry programs.

Good leaders inspire us. They lead by example, demonstrate excellence and integrity, guide with trust and vision, and put the needs and interests of an organization first while doing what is best for all involved. In the case of the NRA, this is what we NRA members have in new NRA EVP and CEO Doug Hamlin, who after serving as NRA Publications’ Executive Director since 2014 was appointed by the NRA Board on May 20 to lead our great organization in protecting our Second Amendment and the uniquely American freedoms it ensures. Those of us who know Hamlin—as fellow NRA members, gun owners, hunters, shooters, friends, employees, advertisers and firearm industry representatives—applaud the NRA Board’s decision and embrace the exciting opportunities that are in store for the NRA and its future.

The news came on the heels of the 153rd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Dallas, May 17-19, where 72,000 of us NRA members gathered at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to peruse the nearly 700 booths spanning 14 acres of firearms, ammunition, optics and gear. The NRA Board held its quarterly meeting the very next day and immediately got to work to fill the NRA’s top slot.

“I am truly humbled to be elected by the NRA Board of Directors as the next Executive Vice President and CEO of the NRA,” said Hamlin, in an official statement after being named to his new position. “Our Association is at a decisive moment in our history, and the future of America and constitutional freedoms depends on the success of the NRA. I look forward to working with NRA staff to execute NRA’s gold standard programs and promote political and public policies that are in the best interest of our members and all gun owners.”

On a personal note, I recall when Hamlin came on board as the head of NRA Publications more than 10 years ago, just in time to travel with me and J. Scott Olmsted, editor-in-chief of American Hunter, to the 2014 SCI Hunters’ Convention. As Hamlin networked on behalf of the NRA, it was clear how much he enjoyed talking with fellow hunters, outfitters and industry representatives. He sounded home the importance of the Second Amendment community standing together—in this case in support of hunters, hunting and wildlife conservation—and was proud of the NRA’s leadership in the hunting arena and its important work in partnership with SCI and other hunter-backed groups. A decade later, NRA employees continue to witness this team builder’s purpose-driven leadership as he puts the most capable and talented people into positions where they can achieve their potential in upholding the NRA brand.

Fortunately, many of us in the firearm and hunting industry knew of Hamlin before he came to the NRA. Prior to joining NRA Publications, he enjoyed an impressive career in the publishing industry, spending the previous 14 years working in sales, marketing and management positions at the Petersen Publishing Company. He was vice president and group publisher of Motor Trend magazine and the publisher of Guns & Ammo. Hamlin also served for six years on active duty as a U.S. Marine officer, including serving overseas with the Third Marine Division. He is quick to support patriots’ service to our nation and remains active in charitable veterans’ causes.

Hamlin’s first order of business upon assuming his new role was to re-appoint Randy Kozuch as Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) to continue overseeing the NRA’s 24/7 legislative and political efforts. He also appointed Joseph P. De Bergalis Jr., as Executive Director of NRA General Operations to direct the NRA’s nationally known safety, education and training programs, a position DeBergalis held for years until December 2023. Like Hamlin, as fellow NRA members, hunters and shooters, these two NRA officers lead with enthusiasm and collaborate effectively with their teams to drive forward the NRA’s priorities.

In other NRA news, the NRA Board also acted on the NRA membership’s vote to create the position of NRA Chief Compliance Officer, naming Robert Mensinger to serve in the role. It also re-elected Sonya B. Rowling as NRA Treasurer and John C. Frazer as NRA Secretary.

Last but not least, the NRA Board elected former congressman Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia as NRA president. Barr pledged to fight for our Second Amendment rights and grow our ranks, especially in this election year. Rounding out the top slots, it named Pennsylvania businessman William A. Bachenberg as NRA First Vice President and Mark E. Vaughan, President of the Oklahoma Rifle Association, as NRA Second Vice President.

So, while we NRA members know we have a lot of work to do to make sure every gun owner votes to protect the Second Amendment in November, one thing is clear: The NRA and its leadership team has our backs. As for protecting legal, regulated hunting, we know the future is in good hands there too—our own—as we hunters mobilize to secure our freedoms.