Since that time, we have trained thousands of marksmen who have answered the call. Training civilians has worked, and worked well. It has been American marksmanship that has turned the tide of battle against impossible odds.
The Germans found out how good the American marksmanship was in both WW I and WW II. In WW II, lessons were also given to the Italians and Japanese. The same holds true for Korea, Red China, and Vietnam. On the way to Korea, some troops were given their only marksmanship instruction while aboard the ship – there wasn’t time during basic training. It was fortunate that some of them had been trained before ever entering service.
When WW II broke out, American civilians answered the call – over 300,000 trained marksmen reported for duty. Some were too old for active combat, but not too old to train new recruits – which they did. These soldiers, who were trained in marksmanship as civilians, held the enemies of the United States back and started us on the road to victory – a fact, the news media conveniently forgets.
The Illinois State Rifle Association did its part. Its members served in all theaters in WW II, including Bataan and Corregidor, where excellent marksmanship prevented the rapid take-over of the Philippine Islands, giving the United States time to prepare for the war in the Pacific.
The mission of the Illinois State Rifle Association has not changed – only the challenges have become more taxing. One of the greater challenges, on the foreign front especially, is the way our enemies go about attacking us. The most troubling though are our domestic adversaries – they want to disarm the civilians of Illinois and to prevent us from shooting, hunting, collecting, or even owning a firearm.
As we stand at the threshold of our second century, we are continuing to promote marksmanship and gun safety, but our role is widening beyond our Founders’ wildest dreams. Politicians, whose actions 200 years ago formed us for the protection of the United States, now betray us, as well as the ideals that made this country great.
Hunters are attacked by animal rights activists – and the law protects those activists. Public hunting lands, purchased by special taxes imposed on hunters, are now closed to those same hunters. Mayors and other politicians whose policies have caused segments of our society to go out of control blame gun owners for their failures. Radical anti-gun organizations partnering with major news media seek to make gun ownership, sport shooting, hunting, collecting, and even self-defense illegal or impossible.