Roughly six years after the end of the Civil War, Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate founded the National Rifle Association. They were Union veterans who were frustrated with their troops’ weak shooting skills. Because of this, they created the NRA as a nonprofit organization after being granted a charter by the state of New York, in hopes that it would help improve shooting knowledge and skills.

Robert Spitzer, a political science professor at SUNY Cortland, didn’t have any interest in the NRA or gun control until roughly thirty years ago. A friend of his asked him to write a chapter in his book, which talked about controversial social issues in society such as gay rights, civil rights, and abortion. Robert chose gun control because it was one of the few issues that were left and it was one he wanted to know more about.

He researched the issue and and became very interested from an academic standpoint. In 1995, Robert registered as a member of the NRA. The NRA isn’t the only organization Robert joined, though. He is also a member of the Brady Coalition, a pro-gun control organization with a mission statement of cutting gun deaths in half by 2025.

However, the organization that Robert became a part of wasn’t the same organization it had been at its conception.

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