We wanted to share some brief information about the eight presidents who were members of the National Rifle Association (NRA). As we know since 1871 the NRA is America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment Rights. America’s presidents throughout the ages have defended the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. Here’s a little bit of information about eight of our past commander-in-chiefs of the United States Armed Forces…
Ulysses S. Grant was not only the 18th President of the United States of America, serving from 1869 - 1877, but the 8th president of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Grant began his lifelong career as a soldier in 1843 when he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is known by most as a famous Union military commander during the Civil War. Colorado was admitted to the Union during his presidency and the Department of Justice was formed as was Yellowstone National Park.
Theodore Roosevelt our 26th president was a great outdoors and pioneer conservationist. Roosevelt wanted America’s sons going off to war to knowing as much as possible about marksmanship and was a proud member of the NRA. He believed in self defense. Roosevelt became president when William McKinley was assassinated. From an article by WJ Foley, “the assassin’s bullet played a unique role in the Presidential career of Theodore Roosevelt. He became president when McKinley was shot…Once, while discussing McKinley’s assassination with reporters, he implied that if it had been he instead of McKinley, he would have shot back.” Roosevelt had clearly thought about what he would do if confronted by an assassin and was known to carry a gun on occasion. There are numerous reports during his presidency of glimpses of his revolver from under his jacket or inside his waistband.
William H. Taft the 27th President who served from 1909-1913 is the only person to be President as well as Chief Justice of the United States. He was a prominent Republican who served as Secretary of War and Attorney General under President Ulysses S. Grant. He is remembered more for his love of the law than his love for the presidency.
Dwight D. Eisenhower might be known by most as an avid golfer but he enjoyed quail hunting and skeet shooting. The 34th president (1953-1961) was the Supreme Commander of the troops invading France on D-Day in 1944 and a 5-star General. Alaska and Hawaii were admitted in 1959 during his term as president. He enjoyed shooting skeet at Camp David and had the range installed there in the 1950s.
John F. Kennedy the only democrat on the list was the 35th president serving from 1961 - 1963. He was a lifetime member who stated the NRA “fills an important role in our national defense effort, and fosters in active and meaningful fashion, the spirit of the Minutemen.” He served in the Navy in WWII and received honors as a war hero leading survivors of his PT boat through perilous waters to safety. He is most notably known for his memorable injunction from his Inaugural Address: “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”
Richard M. Nixon his name is synonymous with Watergate. He was the 37th president of the United States serving from 1969 to 1974. He is the only person to resign the office. He had a ground breaking visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972 and successfully negotiated a cease fire of the Vietnam War in 1973. No other American has held office in the executive branch of the federal government as long as Richard Nixon did. He is the only person in American history to appear on the Republican Party’s presidential ticket 5 times, and to have been elected twice to both the vice presidency and presidency.
Ronald Reagan served eight years as the 40th president of the U.S. from 1981 to 1989. He began his career as an actor appearing in over 53 films. Becoming the face of conservatism he was elected Govenor of California in 1966 and re-elected in 1970. At the end of his presidency the nation was enjoying its longest
recorded peacetime prosperity without recession or depression. From a speech at the NRA Banquet in Phoenix, Arizona in 1983, "I'm delighted to be with all of you. It does my spirit good to be with people who never lose faith in America, who never stop believing in her future, and who never back down one inch from defending the constitutional freedoms that are every American's birthright."
George H. Bush served as the 41st president from 1989 to 1993. Before being elected president he served as Director of the CIA and a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire during one mission and had to be rescued from the water by a U.S. submarine. He is an avid and enthusiastic supporter of the shooting sports and hunting.