Title: September 21st 2005
Author: Andrew Molchan
Date: Wed October 19th, 2005
By, Andrew Molchan
Last September 21st 2005, the National Rifle Association hosted a special dedication ceremony for the Harlon B. and Maryann Carter Endowment. The Black Tie event was at the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.
It was an honor to have known Harlon, and in my opinion, he was the single most important person in the 20th century history of both the NRA and the American firearms industry.
The NRA was started after the Civil War by a group of retired Union Officers. They wanted to teach civilian marksman ship to help in future wars. In the 19th Century there wasn't a need for a political arm of the NRA. It's hard to believe today, but in the 19th Century the Federal government use to remind the States to not pass laws that violated the 2nd Amendment.
After WWII, in the nuclear age, the left wing said there was no need for “riflemen," (how wrong they were). Left wing anti-2nd Amendment groups, and he “Better Red Than Dead" peace groups made great gains in political power. In the late 1960s and early 1970s a large segment of the NRA Board basically wanted to retire the NRA. They wanted to sell the Washington DC office, move out to Arizona, and lock the gates in back of them. I'm totally serious; we came very close to the NRA going out of existence by its own hand.
I am a believer in talent as a decisive factor in almost everything. History has many example of a single person altering events. It's fashionable to call it, “the butterfly effect." Harlon B. Carter was the iron butterfly that changed the history of the NRA and firearms ownership in America.
The fundamental direction of the NRA is what the famous Cincinnati fight was all about. What a long, screaming struggle into the night we had. When Cincinnati was over, Harlon Carter had turned the NRA onto the road of dynamic political activism, and away from self-oblivion. The NRA never looked back, and today even our enemies admit to NRA effectiveness.
I am absolutely sure in my mind that if it wasn't for the NRA Harlon Carter created, today we'd be England, Canada, or Australia, and our firearms industry would be dead. So what do we owe Harlon? My answer is, everything.
He was a great leader. He always had a we-will-win attitude. He liked to start his speeches by saying, “I'm a reasonable person, I'll compromise on gun-control, I'll settle for repeal of only half the1968 gun control law."
There were some dark years during Harlon's time, but like all great leaders he had a we-can-win indomitable attitude.
The NRA welcomes your financial help. The money goes towards the recognition of a great American hero who saved every business in the firearms industry. Checks should be made to The NRA Foundation, with a memo to, The Harlon B and Maryann Carter Endowment. Mail them to the NRA Foundation, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.