A Painful Lesson On The History Of The NRA And Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 8 months ago


Now, let me just preface this by saying that I am a proud NRA member, a benefactor member, and have helped do many things for NRA. I am not anti-NRA at all. But what I’m going to tell you is, in effect, a painful history of things that occurred early on in the NRA. As the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue, removing this painful history is not a good idea. We need to know and understand it. It is generally not known out there, but by recognizing it, we can look at the mistakes that were made, and mistakes were made. I am not talking about the modern situation now with the attack by the New York State Attorney General and all the politics going on here. Questions about whether Wayne LaPierre should stay in leadership or not. None of that. I am not going to get into that, and it is not about that. I want to look at the actual history of the NRA when it comes to gun control and gun laws.

You may be surprised to know that back in the 1920s and into the 30s, NRA was a proponent of gun control, and actually aggressively pursued the enactment of gun control laws. Laws that to this day, we are fighting. Laws to this day that the NRA is now fighting and has been fighting for many years to repeal and get rid of. But we need to know and understand what mistakes NRA made, and it was really done out of those folks being naive. If you want to read more about this, there is a really interesting article, believe it or not, in The Atlantic, which is a magazine that is generally considered, you know, left-wing, liberal without a doubt. But they had an article called The Secret History of Guns by Adam Winkler in the September 2011 issue.

It is a very interesting article to read. As much as I do not care for the politics of The Atlantic, and there, of course, is an agenda behind everything they do, this article does have many things in it that are factually true and surprising about guns and the history of guns. The fact that is put out by a liberal, left-wing magazine, and there is an agenda to it, does not mean that the history there is necessarily untrue or that we should reject it, want to close our eyes to it, and remove the statue. No, no, not a good idea. Instead, we should embrace it, understand it, and learn from it.

So, let me tell you that in the 1920s, NRA was actually a champion of enacting gun control. Because at that time, it had come over from England where there was gun control being pushed, and it came across the pond. It was after World War One, and there was this kind of a naive concept that gun laws could maybe work and go at crime and other concerns. The President of the NRA at the time was Karl T. Frederick. Karl Frederick was a Princeton and Harvard-educated lawyer. He was known as the best shot in America because he won three gold medals in handgun shooting at the 1920 Summer Olympics. So, he was a good shooter, obviously, a skilled shooter, and he was President of the NRA at the time. He was made a special consultant to the National Conference of Commissioners on uniform state laws.

In this role and during his NRA presidency, Frederick drafted what was called the Uniform Firearm Act. The Uniform Firearm Act was model legislation that was pushed in the States at the time throughout America with the NRA and Frederick pushing these uniform firearm laws because they wanted to see gun laws in all the states. It is shocking even say it, but what did these gun laws, these model firearm laws, what did they promote? Back in the 20s? I will tell you what they did. Number one, they required anyone that wanted to carry a concealed handgun in public must have a permit from the local police. Advocating permits. When what we had prior to that was constitutional carry. We had constitutional carry, and the NRA under Frederick pushed to not have constitutional carry and in fact have permits.

And he goes on but leaves the list woefully incomplete.  There’s support for the NFA (and Hughes Amendment) and GCA, support for the original assault weapons ban, support for universal background checks, and the idea for the bump stock ban, and Trump was too stupid to be able to figure out that the NRA doesn’t have the support of modern gun owners but instead represents gun controllers.

A commenter posts this about the NRA National Firearms Museum.

“I’m the former senior curator for the NRA National Firearms Museum. Forced to retire after more than a year on furlough. Most NRA furloughed employees received no information on what was happening to the association.  The designated staff chosen to “operate” various NRA functions were pretty much ones pledged to LaPierre. No matter what happens – I fear the NRA National Firearms Museum is toast.  Believe they may have already sent part of the collection off for auction.  When I went in to pick up my personal belongings (which was one heck of a process) – they would not let me, our museum registrar, or our FFL person into the galleries for even a goodbye photo.  Interesting that they wouldn’t let an employee of 35 years (and the individual entrusted with the keys to every vault in the HQ) enter the galleries, but had allowed some VIP tours through previously.

“Millions of dollars are represented in the collection – just the Petersen Gallery held over $30 million and that was just the first gallery as you entered. The state of the HQ building is very bad presently – roof falling apart – they had to move the legal library from the 6th floor to another building next door because the roof collapsed in that area. Heard they believe it may take three more months to fully repair.”

That’s not from some outsider, but from the Senior Curator of the National Firearms Museum. And what will the board do? The board that has a legal obligation to protect the NRA as an organization? To protect the donations of those who support it? We can watch them re-elect the CEO LaPierre, continue his $1 million-plus salary, and give his cronies another year to complete their looting. This organization has endured 150 years. Founded by Civil War veterans, had 3-4 presidents who earned the Medal of Honor. It is now being ruined by a board too frightened of nasty words to do their duty.

This post is updated.

Update — a person affiliated with headquarters in the 1990s said there were many rumors back then that, while the museum itself was honest, some of the others who dealt with it were not. It would regularly receive collections, sometimes very big and fine ones, but not of museum-display quality. These would be given to an auction house to sell. There were rumors of insiders getting “first pick.” Also the possibility of kickbacks from the auction house to insiders who steered it business. At one point a staffer stumbled across a different firearm auction house that would offer NRA a better deal, and suggested that to Treasurer Woody Phillips’ staff. The person to whom he made the suggestion responded by going frantic and screaming at him until he left.

So even now they can’t stop their thievery.  They (I assume LaPierre and his cronies) are looting the NRA National Firearms Museum for personal gain and financial protection.

Wayne LaPierre, Marion Hammer, Tom King and the rest of that ilk are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad people.  But most readers, I think, see this piece for what it is.

Yes, go ahead and admit that the old NRA made mistakes.  I’m a proud NRA member, and we can all learn from this and move forward to make the new NRA.  In other words, please send us your hard earned money and we can make it all better.

Here’s a one word answer: NO.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On October 3, 2021 at 9:45 pm, George 1 said:

    The NRA was advising Trump on initiating the Red Flag Gun Laws, with the help of Ivanka and Lindsey Graham. The red flag laws are now law in many states.

    Thanks NRA.
    Thanks Trump.

  2. On October 3, 2021 at 10:44 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    Yes, I failed to mention that. Good catch.

  3. On October 4, 2021 at 12:30 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    The seeming paradox which lies at the heart of understanding non-profits like the NRA, or for the matter, the NAACP, is that if these agencies ever attain “final success” in whatever is their stated mission, they will have put themselves out of business and their employees out of work.

    In this, an organization like the National Rifle Association is not unlike the government itself: Solving too many problems is bad for business, since an ever-present threat of lost gun rights pumps up donations from the existing members and enhances drives for new ones. Stated differently, the NRA has discovered over many years of operation that its most-profitable business model is one which gun rights are always under threat and never safe.

    This also goes a long way toward explaining why for every “problem” or issue on which they make progress, such as expanding concealed carry across the U.S. into even holdout states like Illinois, is counter-balanced by retreat and new regulations threatening gun rights someplace else: Bump stock bans, red-flag laws, whatever the case may be.

    It’s a perpetual motion-machine whose object isn’t the expansion of FA rights and liberties, but the perpetuation of the gravy-train for people like NRA Executive V.P. Wayne LaPierre.

    The NRA could probably make a very decent living protecting widely-expanded gun rights, if they would only go all-out and try to roll back the last eighty-five years of infringements, but don’t hold your breath for that one. The NRA isn’t fighting the swamp; it has become part of it. They will perpetuate the status quo as long as it remains profitable for them.

    Someone whose name escapes me at the moment, once called the NRA the most-successful gun control lobby in the world, because under the guise of protecting gun rights, it has actually lulled Americans into accepting nearly a century’s worth of unconstitutional infringements upon their basic liberties. Controlled opposition to the ultimate degree….

  4. On October 4, 2021 at 6:02 am, RCW said:

    Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and degenerates into a racket. – Eric Hoffer

    Were it not for the desire to keep my RSO cred active, I just as soon see them wither & die on the vine.

  5. On October 4, 2021 at 9:12 am, dad29 said:

    Is every entity within the DC metro area totally corrupt, or are there 2-3 organizations still honest?

  6. On October 4, 2021 at 11:57 am, Steady Steve said:

    The NRA needs to die so patriots can buy the name and form a new organization from the ashes. One that serves its’ membership. All benefactor members need to change their wills and starve this now very corrupt bunch. Hopefully an insider will gather the evidence needed to throw LaPierre and his cronies in jail. Just like a politician that has been too long in office LaPierre and his board supporters have become corrupted

  7. On October 4, 2021 at 12:29 pm, Fred said:

    Piss on the name, burn it, bury it, and salt the earth.

  8. On October 4, 2021 at 1:22 pm, Factions Speak Louder Than Herds said:

    The NRA will supply the deplorable kulak untermenschen round up lists.
    The woke Red Guards have been raised to burn this society to the ground and get the rivers of gore flowing using all public/private institutions along with traitorgov or any other means necessary.
    Plan accordingly.

  9. On October 4, 2021 at 3:14 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    This just in…. Wayne LaPierre has been reelected….

    Re: “The National Rifle Association board of directors have voted to reelect CEO Wayne LaPierre his position as the group’s chief executive officer – despite a scandal over the group’s financing.”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss….
    The Who “Won’t get Fooled Again”

  10. On October 4, 2021 at 5:11 pm, Fred said:

    Must be using Dominion machines to count the vote. Bwa Ha Ha Ha Ha. Most free country on earth? Bwa Ha Ha! ‘Murica land of the sucker, home of the slave. Bwa Ha Ha!!!

  11. On October 4, 2021 at 5:40 pm, The Wretched Dog said:

    The NRA’s organizational behavior can be understood as an example of Robert Conquest’s “Three Laws of Politics”, items 2 and 3.

    2) “Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing”, and

    3), “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”


    Conquest’s Three Laws:

    1) Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

    2) Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.

    3) The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

  12. On October 5, 2021 at 12:54 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Looting the National Firearms Museum? That’s sleazy, even by the “standards” of the NRA and ‘Little Wayne’…. just when you think they’ve reached a new low, they up and surprise you and find new depths to which to sink.

  13. On October 5, 2021 at 9:14 pm, Retired said:

    Molon Labe goes back further than the NRA and gun control. In fact, I do believe Moses said, “From my cold, dead hands.”

  14. On October 6, 2021 at 8:25 am, DWEEZIL THE WEASEL said:

    IMHO, the NRA will keep on keeping on because they have cornered the market on training. I am a NRA-certified pistol instructor and Chief Range Safety Officer. Individuals who wish to carry concealed must, in some counties, have been certified competent by folks like me before the Sheriff will issue their CCW permits. Shooting ranges who need trained personnel to manage them will look to folks like me to train their Range Safety Officers. It is a fact of life in that there is no other group or organization which I am aware of which can certify shooters as having been trained.
    The cancer which is LaPierre and his minions must be excised ASAP. He is too corrupt and too connected to the Swamp to remain. If it takes some Marxist AG from NY to lop off his head, I’ll hand her the axe. In the meantime, DO NOT send that organization a brass farthing. Let their administration twist in the wind. Neil Knox was right! Bleiib ubrig.

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You are currently reading "A Painful Lesson On The History Of The NRA And Gun Control", entry #28293 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) National Rifle Association and was published October 3rd, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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