Illinois State Rifle Association
2003 marked the 100th anniversary of the Illinois State Rifle Association. As that date approached, I couldn’t help but reflect on the circumstances that motivated our founders to forge what is now, more than 100 years later, one of the most active and respected state rifle associations in the nation. Our appearance may have altered since that time, but our mission remains unchanged. Frequently, our members ask: 1) how did the ISRA come into existence? and 2) who is the ISRA? Let me take you back – to how it all began …
The need for an “organized militia” to augment the U.S. Armed forces and the irregular militia (i.e. civilians – you and me) came to fruition when in 1903 the National Guard Act was passed by the Congress and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The most crucial challenge at the dawn of the 20th century, President Theodore Roosevelt and the Congress agreed, would be the protection of the United States against enemies, both foreign and domestic. Their foresight rings true today, more so than ever before.
Immediately after the National Guard Act was passed, it was recognized that civilians would form the core of the nation’s defense, either as part of the U.S. military, National Guard, or irregular militia. It was reasoned that good marksmanship would be required to keep the country safe, as well as assure the survival of the individual soldier. How right they were! A soldier cannot become a good marksman overnight, in one week, or even in the course of few weeks – basic training is simply to provide rudimentary military skills required to get men and materiel to the battle. Good marksmanship would be required to win the battle, and a soldier should know the fundamentals before he ever join the National Guard or the U.S. military.
- Chatsworth IL
- United States 60921-0637