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It’s Time the NRA Stopped Acting its Age

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The 145-Year-Old Institution Needs People Like 30-Year-Old Adam Kraut on its Board

Photos by Johnny Danger Photography

Love or hate the National Rifle Association, there is arguably no national organization that's done as much for as long to protect and expand your rights as a shooter.

Eligible members will elect the NRA's 76-person board of directors this spring. If you're a life member, or have been a member for five or more consecutive years, you're eligible to vote, and in doing so, help define the organization's path through its leadership.

The board members, serving three-year terms, define the direction the organization takes on issues of interest to American gun owners, as well as those that affect the organization itself. We're talking about the way the NRA gets behind U.S. Supreme Court nominees and national concealed-carry legislation to the selection of exhibits the NRA museum displays and the direction the NRA's dozens of education and outreach programs take.

While there are 76 board members, it's safe to say the majority are older, well-established white guys. This explains why the NRA pumps the membership's dollars into traditional, one-handed, timed-fire pistol matches while it's slower to adopt more modern competition formats, such as three-gun and other practical shooting disciplines.

We think one of the keys to the NRA's ability to remain relevant in its efforts to protect our gun rights while promoting the safe use of firearms is to make sure its leadership reflects the outlook of its membership.

To that end, we'd like to introduce 30-year-old Adam Kraut. He's a lawyer specializing in firearm issues and the manager of Kings Shooter Supply in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. It's hard as hell for an outsider (that is, someone not put on the ballot by the board's own selection committee) to get elected. So, we at RECOIL want to make sure fellow NRA voters recognize at least one of the non-establishment candidates on that ballot you'll get in the mail. We know and like Adam and think he represents the younger attitudes the NRA so desperately needs to understand in order to continue to effectively support American firearms owners.

RECOIL's editorial board pitched a bunch of positional questions to Kraut in an effort to understand what he'd bring to the NRA if elected to its board of directors. What follows is an edited version of our exchange.

RECOIL: What's your position on the repeal of the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners' Protection Act of 1986?

Adam Kraut: I would like to see the Hughes Amendment be repealed so that individuals like myself are able to purchase or make machine guns. I'd love an MP5, M16, and a few other machine guns. Who doesn't like machine guns, other than people who haven't shot them?

Where do you believe the NRA's legislative priorities should lie?

AK: There are four big things I would like to see the NRA tackle. The NRA should pursue the Hearing Protection Act, national concealed-carry reciprocity, funding federal firearms relief determinations, and push to revisit the sporting purposes exception that's made a number of guns and ammunition unable to be imported.

What's the biggest threat to the Second Amendment and what can the NRA do to combat it?

AK: I think the biggest threat will be the complacency amongst gun owners. When there is a president such as Obama or a candidate such as Hillary, people are more inclined to get involved, but when things are good and appear favorable, the surge to push for gun rights seems to relax.

Fear mongering is not a tactic that I like to see employed, regardless of the circumstances. The problem, like anything political, is finding a way to get people involved. The conversation needs to change from defending gun rights to advancing them and getting people excited to be part of the process.


Many proponents of the Second Amendment are calling for the abolishment of the BATFE. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

AK: I would like to see the ATF disbanded. I'm not particularly a fan of government regulation. ATF has had a troubled history and a lot of questionable judgment calls on any number of matters.

The question then becomes who regulates the firearms world? I guarantee if ATF were to be disbanded the regulations would not simply disappear overnight. Likely, it would end up with FBI running the show, which may or may not be a bad thing.

Gun-Free-Zones: Should there be any limits on Americans' ability to carry lawfully owned guns in any location they choose?

AK: Property rights have been one of the most coveted rights here in the United States since the founding of the country. The Second Amendment was not designed to regulate property owners, but rather prevent the government from infringing on a preexisting right.

With regard to governments attempting to regulate the carrying of a firearm on property owned by it, I don't believe they should be able to outright ban it.

Is there such a thing as sensible gun laws? If so, explain.

AK: If the question is being coined in the context of restrictions, I don't think so. Freedom is a scary thing, isn't it? While I'm not for the government mandating people do something, I'd think a sensible gun law would be something where it required some sort of education on safe gun handling, etc. For all these cries of sensible gun laws from those opposed to guns, they sure don't seem to be offering any solutions that might have an impact on accidental deaths like education.

What are your thoughts on the barrage of requests for money by the NRA of its members?

AK: The NRA needs money to operate. It is the reality of running any organization. There is an overhead to running the organization before you get into the other expenses it has. The fact of the matter is that the requests for donations works, and I do not see the organization stopping those any time soon.

What is something the NRA needs to fix? Not a minor tweak or an adjustment. A full-blown repair.

AK: The NRA has to fix its public image. It's currently viewed by many, even gun owners, as an organization that is extremist. The way the media paints the NRA in its description of it, you would think it was some kind of terrorist organization. The fact remains; the NRA is an educational organization first and foremost.

Both Tom Selleck and R. Lee Ermey are up for reelection this year. Do you have the mustache or eyebrows to challenge either of these men for their seats?

AK: I probably lack the facial hair to compete, but to be fair, Tom Selleck has 41 years on me and R. Lee Ermey has 42 years on me. That's a lot of time to grow such well-known facial hair.

What is something the NRA is doing absolutely right, something successful and appropriate for the current sociopolitical climate?

AK: The NRA is continuing to invest in the next generation of shooters with grants, etc.

I want to see this strengthened with an outreach of firearms education programs in schools. Starting with Eddie Eagle for the younger kids, to safe firearms handling when they get older and a revitalization of firearms shooting sports with the high school-aged kids.

I learned to shoot in Boy Scouts at summer camp and the ammo (and likely the guns) were purchased with funds from the NRA. As with everything, the next generation is going to be the ones the torch gets passed to. We might as well give them the tools to be ready to take it.

Adam Kraut
Hometown: West Chester, PA
Personally owned firearms: Mix of shotguns, rifles, and handguns. I love my AR-15s; I swear they're reproducing in the safe.
EDC: Glock 19 in a PHLster Skeleton Gen 2, Snake Eater Tactical IWB magazine pouch, Boxer Tactical Zenith Belt, Benchmade Griptillian
Favorite Passage in the USC: 16 U.S.C. § 1a-7b
Favorite Film: Blazing Saddles
Last Book Read: The Founders' Second Amendment by Stephen Halbrook
Achievements: Eagle Scout
Instagram: @theadamkraut
Twitter: @Kraut4NRA

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