On Independence Day 2012 we will celebrate several things: In addition to celebrating the 236th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we at The Firearms Coalition will be celebrating our 28th anniversary as an organization and the 4th anniversary of the release of the book “Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War,” a compilation by my brother Chris of highlights from our father, Neal Knox’s, extensive writings on the gun-rights movement stretching from 1966 to 2000.

July 4 also marks the 4th annual celebration of National Training Week, a week set aside in conjunction with Independence Day to remind people that liberty and independence are closely tied to responsible possession of firearms.

Every American owes a debt of thanks to our forefathers who had the courage to secure liberty through the force of arms and then saw fit to enshrine the right to arms in our Constitution, thus securing liberty by forcing government to look over its shoulder at an armed populace.

Guns were definitely part of the celebration in the Founders’ time. Since it’s unwise to fire into the air, as they did on the first news of the Declaration, we encourage taking the celebration to the nearest range or safe shooting area. We also encourage shooters to take the opportunity to introduce friends, family and coworkers to the fun and excitement of safe and responsible target shooting.

National Training Week is designed as an opportunity for all Americans to exercise and celebrate their right to arms and to share it with others. During this week, manufacturers, resellers and range operators will be promoting this event by making firearms, ammunition, training and shooting facilities more affordable and accessible. Shops will be holding special sales on guns, ammo and targets. Many ranges and gun clubs will be open to the public and offering discounted range time and memberships. Many will also be hosting the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s First Shots program, which is specifically designed to safely and comfortably introduce newcomers to the fun of shooting.

Firearms enthusiasts get an excuse to burn through some of that ammo that’s been stacking up. Casual gun owners are offered a chance to dust off those neglected guns and neglected gun handling skills. And novice shooters get a chance to experience shooting in a less-intimidating and less-expensive format. Experienced shooters should invite friends and coworkers out for a day at the range, and non-shooters can ask a friend who shoots to give them an introduction to the sport, history and practical usefulness of firearms.

National Training Week is also an excellent time to make sure that every shooter, gun owner and lover of liberty is registered to vote and is reminded of their duty to cast a ballot in the critical November elections. Grassroots activists around the country will be offering election and registration information at ranges, gun shops, and gun shows throughout the week. The site www.GunVoter.org is prepared to assist in that effort, as we’re compiling voter registration information and links, as well as information on the candidates and races around the country.

National Training Week is the brainchild of Alan Korwin of Bloomfield Press, the people who print the gun law books. It has been endorsed by most national gun rights organizations including The Firearms Coalition, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Gun Owners of America and the Second Amendment Foundation along with dozens of state and local organizations and clubs.

The Appleseed Project, which hosts rifle marksmanship clinics for all experience levels, will be hosting at least 15 of their tremendous riflery /history events around the country over the weekend of National Training Week, so there’s likely to be one near you. If not that weekend, more are scheduled for the following weekend and just about every weekend all year long. Whether during National Training Week or not, an Appleseed Shoot is almost always going on somewhere and is always a worthwhile endeavor.

Each year National Training Week has grown and expanded, and this year we hope to see record numbers of ranges, retailers and shooters participating. Check with your local ranges and retailers to find out what specials and events they are offering during National Training Week. If they don’t have anything planned, send them this article and encourage them to get with the program.

Discounts or not, National Training Week is a great time to get out and shoot. As John Adams wrote, Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Amen, John!

Celebrate your independence with the traditional fireworks of freedom – rifles, pistols and shotguns! Make National Training Week part of your Independence Day celebration and a regular tradition in your family.

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