The Wilson County chapter of Friends of NRA last year won an award for its support of activities ranging from wildlife conservation to firearm safety and shooting competitions in area schools and civic groups.
Most of the funding for that support is derived from proceeds generated at the annual Friends of NRA banquet and auction. This year's event is Friday, April 4, at the James Ward Agricultural Center.
It starts at 5:30, and activities include a barbecue dinner, games, door prizes and an auction of sports equipment, guns, crafts and other items of interest to shooters and outdoorsmen.
Some of the merchandise is donated by local stores and individuals, while the rest is supplied by the state and national FNRA organization. In the past, auctioned items have included everything from NRA bird houses and other memorabilia to classic firearms and guided turkey hunts.
Advance tickets can be purchased online at friendsofnra.org or by calling 615-533-8721. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on a first-come basis. Past events have drawn near-capacity crowds.
While Friends of NRA is a national organization dedicated to the support of a wide range of firearms activities and defense of the Second Amendment, half of all revenue generated at the grass-roots level remains in the state, and in the specific communities from where it came.
In Wilson County the chapter provides scholarships for local youngsters and grants for local schools and civic organizations' shooting-sports programs such competitive shooting teams and the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.
Schools or civic organizations interested in applying for individual scholarships or group grants can contact Friends of NRA officials through the website or at the banquet for detailed information.
"Friends of NRA is a fund-raising program run by people from all walks of life," says an event spokesperson. "At a Friends of NRA event, mainstream citizens work together to support preserving rights and heritage."
Friends of NRA was established in 1990 as a nonprofit organization that rises tax-deductable contributions in support of public-interest activities endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
Its stated mission:
"To foster and defend the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans. The activities are designed to promote firearm and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills of those participating in the shooting sports, and to educate the general public about firearms and their historic, technological and artistic context."
Support of the NRA has grown in recent years in response to challenges to gun-owner and Second Amendment rights.
Additional information about the NRA Foundation and its various activities can be found at nrafoundation.org or by calling 1-800-423-6894.