Did the NRA Help Train the Florida High School Shooter?

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NRA executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Shutterstock

NRA Foundation — the National Rifle Association subsidiary responsible for the group’s school safety initiative — helped fund the marksmanship training of the gunman who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, this week.

The Associated Press reports that the NRA Foundation gave a $10,827 grant to an air rifle program that gunman Nikolas Cruz participated in. According to one of his teammates, Cruz was a “very good shot.” The NRA Foundation’s website says it has “awarded nearly $335 million in grant funding in support of the shooting sports” since 1990.

The NRA Foundation — the “charitable” wing of the NRA —  is also where your money goes if you donate to an NRA program called “National School Shield,” the gun group’s purported solution to school shootings.

National School Shield was first mentioned in December 2012 during a speech by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre a week after a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. When the program debuted in April 2013, NRA spokesperson (and current Arkansas governor) Asa Hutchinson claimed its findings were “independent” from the NRA. The program pushes more guns in schools, including arming teachers, and has been touted by the NRA’s media arm in the wake of the latest school shooting.

Despite the claims of independence, National School Shield’s domain was registered by the NRA five days after Newtown:

The National School Shield website currently  solicits donations for NRA Foundation with the tagline, “If We Truly Cherish Our Kids, We Must Give Them The Greatest Level Of Protection Possible”:

At the bottom of the donation page, the website says, “Thank you for supporting The NRA Foundation and the future of our firearms heritage.”

disclosure provided on the website explains that the “NRA will receive 100% of the gross revenue generated by this solicitation,” and that “contributions raised will be used to advance the mission of the NRA.”         

The NRA Foundation was supposed to prevent future school shootings. Instead, it helped fund the training for the latest school shooter.


Timothy Johnson is a guns and public safety researcher at Media Matters, having previously spent time at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

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