With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Was the NRA Founded to Protect Black People from the Ku Klux Klan?

Claim:  The National Rifle Association was formed for the express purpose of driving out the Ku Klux Klan and helping freed slaves defend themselves against racist attacks.

Some NRA supporters have countered accusations that the group has been racially insensitive by claiming the opposite is true — that the organization was, in fact, founded in order to combat racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and ensure that African Americans, particularly freed slaves, could defend themselves against racist attacks:

One version of this revisionist narrative was laid out by conservative Christian author David Barton during a 2013 appearance on Glenn Beck’s television show, The Blaze, and summarized on Beck’s web site as follows: "In addition, Barton addressed the founding of the NRA. While some like to demonize pro-Second Amendment group and even call it  prejudiced, it turns out the powerful group was in fact started by two Union generals in 1871 as a means to driving out the Ku Klux Klan and ensuring that blacks, who although then-free were not allowed means with which to defend themselves — could in fact legally own a gun."...


These sources fall short when it comes to providing evidence to support their claims, however. Indeed, the notion that the National Rifle Association originated as a group devoted to protecting freed slaves and “driving out” the Ku Klux Klan contradicts the NRA’s own account of its origin ....

Read entire article at Snopes