Photo: Wendy Rittenhouse and Kyle’s lawyer, John Pierce, holding the check from the National Foundation for Gun Rights.
By: Teresa Mull
Gunpowder readers are by now well aware of the National Association for Gun Rights and the work the organization does to fight for the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens across the nation. Now, NAGR has launched a new division within the organization, aimed at helping gun owners even more.
We caught up with Hannah Hill, Policy Analyst for the National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR), to learn what the NFGR is all about:
GPM: Why was the National Foundation for Gun Rights formed?
HILL: As the legal wing of the National Association for Gun Rights, the National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) was founded to bring a no-compromise approach to gun battles in the courts. The left has been pushing the anti-gun agenda in the legal system with great success for years.
For instance, the Supreme Court has declined to protect the Second Amendment in the decade following its landmark pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court rulings Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010), simply sitting by and allowing lower courts to circumvent and ignore those pro-gun rulings.
In addition, left-leaning district attorneys and prosecutors have declared war on the right to self-defense, as we’ve seen in the cases of Mark and Patricia McCloskey and Kyle Rittenhouse – to name just a couple of high-profile examples. The best gun laws in the world mean nothing if they’re not enforced, and that’s where the National Foundation for Gun Rights comes in. We’re here to push the legal envelope every day to defend gun rights from corrupt prosecutors, activist judges, and anti-gun bureaucrats.
GPM: What is the foundation's mission for gun owners?
HILL: Our mission is twofold:
1) To enforce and expand pro-gun precedents issued by the courts by challenging unconstitutional laws, and seeking to enforce pro-gun statutes, and
2) To defend gun owners in the courts to ensure that law-abiding citizens who have had their rights violated by bureaucrats or overzealous law enforcement are protected.
GPM: What specific services does the foundation offer?
HILL: NFGR has helped gun owners clear up background check issues to enable them to buy guns or obtain carry permits, has connected potential clients with legal representation, and – in cases of legitimate self-defense – helped fund legal representation for gun owners targeted in the courts.
GPM: What are some projects your group has been working on since you started?
HILL: One of our biggest projects to date is fundraising for Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who was targeted by an angry leftist mob in Kenosha, WI. Kyle was employed as a lifeguard in Kenosha, and stayed in town after work to help clean up graffiti and debris left from two straight nights of rioting and unrest. When a local business owner requested help defending his property (which had already suffered pretty heavily during the two previous nights of rioting), Kyle borrowed a gun from a local friend, grabbed a medical kit, and spent the evening standing guard and helping injured protesters.
When the mob set their sights on Kyle, he attempted to retreat. Multiple videos show angry protesters chasing Kyle, threatening him, hitting and kicking him - and one rioter fired a shot while Kyle was running. Kyle responded as any ordinary citizen would – by defending himself with the means he had available and then retreating to safety.
Kyle’s story resonated with gun owners around the country. We’ve all watched the months of unchecked rioting and vandalism, while the police and local authorities often simply stand by. Kyle may have successfully defended himself from the mob, but he now faces a barrage of leftist prosecutors bent on making him pay – for simply exercising his right to self-defense. In addition, leftists have also targeted Kyle’s family, necessitating their removal to a safe place and preventing them from returning to work.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights refused to let Kyle and his family face all this alone. We put out a call to our members, who responded overwhelmingly – donating over $50,000 to help Kyle and his family. When we called Kyle’s mother to tell her we were sending her family a check for over $50,000, she was overwhelmed and replied, "No words can describe what we're going through. Thank you SO much -- and I know Kyle and the rest of the family would say thank you too."
Kyle’s currently being held in a juvenile detention facility in IL, his state of residence, while his legal team battles it out with Kenosha prosecutors over his extradition. He is facing five felonies and a misdemeanor.
We started the Gun Owners’ Defense Fund to help people like Kyle – individuals who are targeted for conduct protected by the Second Amendment and whose stories don’t always make national news. People can make tax-deductible contributions to that fund here: https://gunrightsfoundation.org/donate/.
GPM: What are some of the biggest problems gun owners contact you about, and how can these issues be avoided?
HILL: The most important piece of advice we could give gun owners is to know and follow your state’s laws on the possession, transportation, and carrying of firearms, as well as your state’s laws on self-defense (i.e. how you may lawfully use your gun). Just because a gun owner thinks his conduct is lawful self-defense doesn’t mean it is protected by the law.
Many of the background check issues that prevent gun owners from obtaining a carry permit or purchasing a gun are not the fault of the gun owner, but are instead due to errors in the system – charges that were never officially dropped, duplicate arrest records, etc. Those situations are where the National Foundation for Gun Rights can help.
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.