Students plan to bring National organization to campus
Concordia students may soon see a new student organization on campus–but this one will have a familiar name.
Seniors Liam Nuhring and Ian Lane are working to start a Concordia chapter of the National Rifle Association this year. The organization is in the final stages of approval from the Student Government Association.
The idea of creating NRA chapters on college campuses around the United States is relatively new, and this would be one of the first in existence.
“The push to provide actual chapters on campus is to provide gun safety and making people more comfortable being around guns,” Lane said.
Nuhring said the NRA chapter at Concordia will be a pro-freedom group, meaning that it promotes and fosters a political movement or philosophy with personal liberties as a core pillar.
Nuhring and Lane were initially approached about the NRA chapter by a right-leaning pro-freedom group called the Leadership Institute that works to promote similar organizations on college campuses.
Nuhring said he has had a long standing passion for the safe and legal operation of guns and knew there would be an interest at Concordia, so the idea of an NRA chapter seemed like something he thought would benefit Concordia’s campus.
The Concordia chapter will provide students with a safe opportunity to shoot and learn about firearm safety. It may even provide students the opportunity to go to conferences in the future Lane said.
“It’s a cool world that if you get plugged into, there’s a lot of neat opportunities,” Lane said.
Dr. William Tom have will be the faculty advisor for the organization, which he agreed to because of his longstanding passion for firearms.
“I’ve been a hunter and shooter all my life,” Tom have said.
There has been a strong student interest right off the bat for the NRA chapter at Concordia, Lane said.
“We have a really large group of people who want to join,” Lane said. “We probably have between 15 and 20 people who are already dedicated to coming to meetings.”
The positive response to the NRA chapter is stronger than any other club that Lane has seen.
“People want to shoot,” Lane said. “People want to use guns. There’s a population on campus who enjoy that kind of thing.”
Lane believes Concordia’s campus is more moderate than many people are aware of and that this new chapter will show that.
“The public perception of campus is not in alignment of how it actually is,” Lane said. “The success of this club will be very indicative of that fact.”
Since the program is so new there aren’t many guidelines as to how meetings should look at this point Nuhring said, though they do know that the first meeting will take place sometime after the election in November. It will be an informational meeting where students can learn more about the chapter and discuss how future meetings will look, Lane said.
“Meetings are going to be NRA funded trips to the gun range where we will be trained to safely operate firearms,” Nuhring said.
Lane and Nuhring anticipate the club will meet three to four times per semester, or once per month. Students are welcome to attend meetings when they can. It will not be an exclusive club, Lane said.
Lane and Nuhring hope the NRA chapter can provide students with more information and a deeper understanding of gun safety.
“The purpose of the NRA on campus chapter would be to extinguish the stigma on guns around campus and provide education to students,” Lane said. “Through an org like this we’d have an avenue to dispel some of those rumors and have people think critically.”
Moreover, Nuhring said the chapter would benefit Concordia’s approach to well-rounded liberal arts education.
“I think college kids who haven’t had the chance to be exposed to firearms should be exposed to these skills and have these life experiences,” Nuhring said. “It will promote a richer and more diverse understanding of the Second amendment and all it entails.”
Along with this, the purpose of the NRA chapter will be to provide students who enjoy shooting guns a safe environment to get together and do this as a group.
“It’s the same as basketball or any activity,” Lane said. “I think that shooting guns is a fun activity.”
Anna Erickson is a Multimedia Journalism major and an Art and Writing minor. She is from Alexandria, Minnesota and is a part of Concordia’s class of 2017. She is also a lifeguard, swimming lessons teacher and member of CEC. She loves photography, writing, and being on the lake.