NRA Members Young and Old

Each year, NRA honors the youngest and oldest members in attendance at the Members Meeting. We had the opportunity to meet with the father of one of the youngest member winners, Ken Klukowski, co-author of Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America and The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency. His 5-month-old son is named Remington. Yes, he’s a paid life member. :)

The oldest life member at the meeting was a gentleman from Oklahoma (woo hoo!) who is 95 years old. He joined NRA in 1938. Needless to say, he has gotten his money’s worth! He has a very simple message to members in the audience: Go vote this year.

I felt particularly old when a member got up and announced that his daughter won youngest Life member in 1995 and is now headed off to college on a rifle scholarship. He just wanted to thank the organization for everything they provided in opportunities so she could pursue the sport and end up competing in college on a scholarship.

I was talking to a reporter who came to report on the meeting, and he even commented that he paid attention to that section of the meeting because it was cool. None of the anti-gun groups have anything like it. They aren’t membership organizations with meetings where members can actually vote on issues that could impact their association. They don’t have contests among thousands of members for oldest and youngest Life members. Only our side has created that kind of culture where we celebrate with one another.

8 thoughts on “NRA Members Young and Old”

  1. They aren’t membership organizations with meetings where members can actually vote on issues that could impact their association.

    Oh, please. Neither is the NRA after the Winning Team made sure another Cincinnati Revolt or the like was impossible.

    1. Not at all impossible. Would it take hard work and organizing? Yes. Would it require having a very broad base of support for the change? Absolutely. But it is clearly not impossible.

  2. The NRA’s illusion that every member is a member of a homogeneous subculture was easy to construct, because it started out primarily as a sport/hobby organization and then morphed into its present identity (arguably) after about 1980 — the first time they endorsed a presidential candidate. The commonality of sport interests created the illusion based on the fact of a mostly shared subculture. I remember my feeling of really belonging to something, when I joined on the first day I turned 18, and later when I became a Life Member.

    But the danger of a subculture is that over time it begins to embrace other things than its core reason to exist. That might seem to be a good thing, broadening the base, but what it actually does is begin to repel more and more people who share the core values, but who do not share those other sub-subcultures. The valid NRA subculture is based on the shooting sports and the common interests associated with the RKBA; but increasingly its subculture is being defined as strictly social conservative, embracing almost every tribal badge of that philosophy, but at increasing offense to (e.g.) libertarians (small- and large-L). In that way the building of the organization as a subculture could eventually become self-defeating. Recognizing oldest and youngest members is fine; expanding the subculture to other “values” not relevant to the RKBA is dangerous.

    1. I kindof agree with that. In some ways, I think it would have been neat to see a Democratic nominee for President speak, or even President Obama…did the NRA consider to invite Obama to speak? Probably not. But then, could you imagine Obama accepting the invitation?

      To some degree, this division of subcultures is a fault of Democratic policy, as much as it is NRA drifting. It’s kindof hard to have a culture that includes a group whose platform, at least in recent history, included the bannig of guns.

      The good thing, of course, is that there have always been Democrats who have supported gun rights; and the really good thing is that this is becoming more normal in Democrat circles, even if those in the highest eschelons of power aren’t yet on board.

      Indeed, I will consider it a very good day in gun culture when a Democrat and avowed Socialist candidate for President is sincerely speaking alongside Republican and Libertarian candidates about the need to preserve our rights to guns–even if I will be opposing such a candidate.

      1. “even if [Democrats] in the highest eschelons of power aren’t yet on board.”

        Well, with the House going Republican in 2010 Harry Reid is now arguably the #2 Democrat in the nation. And he got pro-gun religion in the last decade and has been doing some good things since then. E.g. without discussion he inserted several pro-gun owner provision in Obamacare.

        Otherwise the Democrats at the national level have a couple of problems. They’re pretty cohesive and too far to the Left for long term success; the so called Blue Dogs showed their colors, were to a great extent in highly unfavorable territory and the last time I saw an accounting there was one left in the House who was almost certain to lose this year.

        The Congresscritters with seniority, who chaired the important committees and set the 2009-10 agenda and details are particularly liberal, a mirror of FDR’s problem with Southern Democrats. Even then, some of them decided to spend more time with their families, like David Obey who chaired the House Appropriations Committee and who was the major author of the stimulus bill.

        And, yeah, they have too many subcultures dedicated to banning guns, they own that for the foreseeable future.

  3. If Josh Horowitz dies, Ladd Everitt will be able to win both oldest and youngest member of the CSGV.

  4. To Andy B.
    The NRA is a living entity! Yes, it started out as a sportsmen’s org. But it is evolving as different groups adopt the full meaning of the 2nd amendment. Self defense groups are a large segment now, and the board recognizes that. Woman are joining in record numbers. The fact that understanding the 2nd amendment makes most members understand the Bill of Rights is a positive in my opinion. Also, people who tend to understand and appreciate the Bill of Rights tend to be more conservative.
    It is education and truth that makes the NRA succeed. It is not adjectives like sub cultures and illusions.

    The gun grabbers have no appreciation for what we do as members. They insult us, lie to us and attempt to bully us into submission. We are connected by one common goal to keep the 2nd amendment a strong backbone of American culture. We have a annual meeting that draws 50,000 to 80,000+ people to a meeting. Then at that meeting they call out some individuals to show the diversity and extent of the culture. I love it!!

    We win because of these basic self connections!

  5. Giving a 5-year-old a lifetime membership in the NRA is child abuse.

    (That was a joke. Did you take it seriously for a second?)

    A serious comment is this. You guys seem to think you’re very numerous, but it’s not true. NRA membership in total is like the population of one big city, only one. Then you have to take away the non-passionate ones and the ones who actually believe in reasonable gun restrictions. Now you’re down to, what a million or two? Then let’s narrow it down to the true gun-rights extremists like you guys and your commenters.

    The reason people like Romney and others think you’re bigger than you are, is because of your strident message and the tremendous financial backup you get from the gun manufacturers. As a voting block, you’re nothing.

    I predict Obama by a land slide and big changes in his second term with regards your precious gun rights. In this I agree with La Pierre, although my opinion of him is that he’s like your typical carney hustler, in this matter he’s right. You heyday is about over.

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