NRA Whittington Center

This is an interesting claim here:

“The NRA doesn’t run this facility,” he said. “Our mission is education and outdoor recreation. We are not politically motivated. The NRA doesn’t underwrite us. They don’t fund our operations in any way.”

What?  What’s wrong with pointing out that it’s funded through the NRA Foundation, which is a non-political branch of the National Rifle Association that promotes shooting sport activities and educational outreach?  Are they ashamed to be associated with the NRA?

Actually, Whittington Center plays an interesting role in NRA History.  Before the famed Cincinnati Revolt, there were plans afoot by the faction of NRA’s leadership that wanted to get out of politics to move NRA’s headquarters from 1600 Rhode Island Avenue, in Washington D.C., to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  A massive shooting facility was planned, 37,000 acres, in New Mexico, called the National Shooting Center.

That was not to be long lived, because of a member revolt lead by Harlan Carter at the 1977 Annual Meeting in Cincinnati.  NRA’s old, politically fearful leadership was swept aside, and plans for moving the Headquarters from Washington were scrapped.  But NRA completed the National Shooting Center, but named it Whittington Center.

So it stands now as a monument to the plans of the old guard to turn NRA into nothing more than a shooting sports organization, which, if they had been successful, would have probably meant the end of legal gun ownership in this country.  That’s not to say I believe Whittington Center is something NRA ought to be ashamed of, because I think it’s worthwhile, but I don’t think Whittington Center should be ashamed of NRA either.

5 Responses to “NRA Whittington Center”

  1. DJ says:

    I used to live in Angel Fire, NM, during which the Whittington Center was my home range. Its operations director, Robbie Roberts, told me that a big reason for keeping the Center independent of the NRA was to keep each from being a liability to the other in the event of a lawsuit of any kind. The NRA has much deeper pockets than does the Whittington Center, which would make the formar a target in the event of a suit resulting from an accident at the latter.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Maybe so, but legally separate and PR separate are different things. NRA foundation still gives Whittington Center money.

  3. Marc says:

    Sebastian, I thought the AP Sports article was great! I have driven by there and shot several times out on their ranges.
    Maybe you are sensing something that isn’t really there in terms of a presumed distancing. Whittington Center is a c3 public charity open to anyone to visit and enjoy. It’s not just for NRA members. I think all they wanted to say is that there is nothing political or partisan about the Center. Just enjoy the nature conservation and shooting. As for grants from one of the other foundations, there are many grants made to state and local groups for youth purposes and such. Like Adventure Camp, which was going on once when I was out there.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Yes… I know NRA Whittington Center does a lot of great things, and know they are legally separate entity from NRA, but NRA uses its name to raise money for Whittington, which is only appropriate because NRA does have a mission to promote the shooting sports. I think it’s fine to say the first two sentences, but doesn’t NRA at least help Whittington raise money? If not fund programs there, through the foundation. Maybe I’m wrong, but I was always under the impression there was more than a casual affiliation, even if there was no legal one. And so what if there is?

  5. ParatrooperJJ says:

    Just for reference, it is spelled Cincinnati.