The National Rifle Association has gone through a metamorphosis since its founding after the Civil War. Created to improve marksmanship among soldiers and recruits, it at first cooperated with the federal government on concealed weapon permits and other laws regulating firearms.
But over time it grew into a powerful organization that opposed almost all gun control measures. It created a lobbying arm, raised a substantial war chest, and developed unrivaled influence over lawmakers. For example, the NRA helped to block efforts to ban assault rifles after the devastating attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six staff members.
Today its dominance is under threat. Gun control groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and March for our Lives are challenging its primacy among politicians and at the polls, and New York Attorney General Letitia James is demanding its dissolution. The state lawsuit charges that the face of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, and other top leadership diverted funds for their personal use. Here are some key dates in the history of the NRA, from its founding to its current court battles. Stacker compiled the information from historical records, and news and legal accounts.
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