With most courses, there will always be a need for live instruction at the range. Photo: National Rifle Association

With most courses, there will always be a need for live instruction at the range. Photo: National Rifle Association

Most people think of the National Rifle Association as a political organization. While the related entity, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is, in fact, a political group, the core NRA is really a training and education organization. When you send your membership dues, you’re not actually supporting political action, you’re supporting programs like the Eddie Eagle child safety initiative. When you choose not to join the NRA, you’re not withholding your hard-earned money from political lobbying, you’re choosing not to fund impactful education and safety programs.

What do those education programs really do? According to the NRA-ILA, “the number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high, upwards of 300 million, and now rises by about 10 million per year. Meanwhile, the firearm accident death rate has fallen to an all-time low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94% since the all-time high in 1904. Since 1930, the annual number of firearm accident deaths has decreased 81%, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such deaths have decreased 89% since 1975. Today, the odds are more than a million to one, against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident.”

Those stunning statistics are no accident. NRA membership dues have supported the development of over 125,000 Certified Firearms Instructors that teach over one million students per year about the proper use of firearms and self-defense. On the safety side, 26,000 law enforcement agencies, schools, and civic groups have taught the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program to 27 million children since 1988.

Those are big numbers, and to date, delivery of education programs has been done the old-fashioned way, using paper and live instructors, teaching one class at a time. However, the world has changed dramatically with the advent of the internet. Not only is information easily available to most anyone, people now expect the ease and convenience of online delivery. Who wants to get in a car and spend hours or days sitting in a classroom, when certain types of information can be delivered instantly to a laptop, tablet or mobile device at a time and place convenient for the student?

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