College Republicans host “NRA University”
On March 27, the College Republicans hosted representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to present “NRA University,” an educational program about the history of their organization and the Second Amendment.
“The Second Amendment is a big political issue these days so we wanted to have one side of the spectrum come in and give a presentation on what the NRA is all about, given that they are such a huge figure in the gun control debate,” Elijah Pardo, president of the College Republicans, said. “They also reached out to us because they do outreach on college campuses.”
The presentation began with a history of the Second Amendment in America, including the historical context in which it was created, different interpretations of the wording and previous gun-control legislation.
The presentation then went into an explanation of the history of the NRA, which was established in 1871 and claims to be the longest standing civil rights organization in the country. Officially, its three goals are firearm education, safety and training.
The Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), the NRA’s primary lobbying firm, was established in 1975. It operates as a grassroots fundraiser and a lobbying agency at the federal, state and local levels of government.
Representatives from the NRA repeatedly stressed the organization’s commitment to safety, touting programs such as Eddie Eagle, a program that teaches children what to do when they encounter a gun, and their NRA training classes where their 118,000 certified instructors train more than a million participants each year.
The second half of the presentation was a question and answer session designed to teach individuals in favor of gun rights how to combat common arguments from gun control activists.
A particularly lively debate erupted over the question of universal background checks. The NRA opposes them on the grounds that they would make the loaning of guns impossible for people who are interested in testing a firearm before purchasing it.
The NRA also appealed to local issues, saying it opposed Delaware House Bill 63, which, if passed, would mandate that all Delaware gun owners own a safe in which to store their weapons. The NRA opposes this bill, believing it would make guns harder to access in self-defense situations.
The NRA also asserts that the government should not mandate storage standards because they don’t understand one’s family, gun or lifestyle.
Rebekah Allan, secretary of the College Republicans, said the presentation affected her way of thinking about the Second Amendment.
“It was super interesting to me because the Second Amendment is not my main political issue so it was cool to learn different aspects of it, especially given that I grew up in a very liberal environment,” Allan said. “Some of the talking points they addressed were things I grew up hearing and believing in so it’s very interesting to hear an in-depth look into the legislation.”
Alex Closs, the treasurer for the university’s chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty, appreciated the speaker’s ability to make the presentation relevant in the lives of students, and Delawareans in particular.
“The speaker is very well versed in policy and had very satisfactory answers to questions regarding the NRA’s stance on gun policy nationally and in the state of Delaware,” Closs said. “The inclusion of Bill 63, I thought was an amazing touch to the presentation in terms of calling UD students to action with regards to a potentially destructive and invasive bill.”
The NRA Representatives declined The Review’s request for comment.
Those present received a free year’s membership to the NRA as well as some NRA “swag,” like a monogrammed baseball cap and a pen.