Roughly 20% of US presidents have, at some point, been members of the National Rifle Association.
Since the NRA’s founding in 1871, nine of the following 28 presidents were NRA members. Of those nine, eight were Republicans while one, President John F. Kennedy, was a Democrat.
The first president to join the NRA was Ulysses S. Grant. The ninth president to also be an NRA member is Donald Trump, who touted his NRA connection and pro-gun rights platform along the campaign trail last year.
Prior to Trump, no president had been an NRA member since President George H.W. Bush.
Bush famously resigned from the NRA in 1995 after NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who still holds that position today, defended earlier remarks he made about federal law enforcement agents, calling them “jack-booted thugs” in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
“I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of NRA, defended his attack on federal agents as ‘jack-booted thugs.’ To attack Secret Service agents or ATF people or any government law enforcement people as ‘wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms’ wanting to ‘attack law abiding citizens’ is a vicious slander on good people,” Bush said.
“Al Whicher, who served on my [ United States Secret Service ] detail when I was vice president and president, was killed in Oklahoma City,” Bush continued. “He was no Nazi. He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country — and serve it well he did.”
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