National Rifle Association

Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis," according to a magazine editorial written by Church.

After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. senator, became the fledgling NRA's first president.

An important facet of the NRA's creation was the development of a practice ground. In 1872, with financial help from New York State, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened a year later, and it was there that the first annual matches were held.

While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly five million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs. As former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos said, "Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time."

Youth Hunter Education Challenge

Recognized as the most comprehensive youth hunting program anywhere in North America, the Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) is NRA's "graduate studies" program in outdoor skills and safety training for young hunters. Open only to those who have completed hunter-safety training at the state or provincial level, the program is conducted under simulated hunting conditions to provide the best practical environment for reinforcing and testing a young hunter's skills.

From rifle, bow and muzzleloader shooting at life-sized targets, to wildlife identification, to map-and-compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skills areas, giving them expertise in all methods of take and all types of game.

State- and provincial-level YHEC programs, hosted by volunteer instructors, draw an estimated 10,000 youths each year. Top ranked individuals advance to the annual NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge, the pinnacle of the program. Since its inception in 1985, YHEC has reached more than a million young sportsmen and women.

Civilian Marksmanship Program

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. The CMP is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) corporation that places its highest priority on serving youth through gun safety and marksmanship activities that encourage personal growth and build life skills.

Statutory mission. The federal law enacted in 1996 (Title 36 U. S. Code, 40701-40733) that created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. (CPRPFS, the formal legal name of the CMP) mandates these key "functions for the corporation:
To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors.

The law specifically states: In carrying out the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the corporation shall give priority to activities that benefit firearms safety, training, and competition for youth and that reach as many youth participants as possible.