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“Additionally, the mission of the Armed Citizens’ Educational Foundation dovetails nicely with that of the Network where we have always tried to help educate our members regarding use of deadly force in self defense. We recognize the important contribution that the National Rifle Association has made towards gun safety training, and if we can bring a similar message regarding self-defense rights and responsibilities to gun owners the way the National Rifle Association has done for gun safety, then everybody wins. Specifically, the new gun owner needs to know exactly what their rights and responsibilities are regarding armed self defense.

“Traditionally, the new gun owner buys the gun first, and at some point ends up receiving some training with the most successful venue being one of the National Rifle Association’s classes. We want to make sure that new gun owners have information that they can use to guide themselves until they get that hands-on training. That information should be given at the point of sale of that new gun,” he stresses.

Why didn’t the Network simply continue to educate gun owners by distributing its educational materials itself? Shuck clarifies, “Pulling a phrase from an ‘80s TV commercial, serving our members is job one. No question, our endeavor to provide educational, legal and financial support to our members drives many of our efforts at the Network. We have been successful in doing that, but this doesn’t mean we are satisfied with our accomplishments. Yep, even for the Network, there’s room for improvement, so Marty, Gila and I put our heads together and developed a new entity – the Armed Citizens’ Educational Foundation.

“The Foundation is a true 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization recognized by the IRS that can obtain tax-deductible contributions from industry representatives as well as individuals.” Shuck clarifies. “While expanding the booklet distribution may be our initial activity, we can also conduct meetings and seminars, award grants, and engage in activities related to this educational effort. Of course, a consistent supply of financial resources will ensure the continuation and expansion of our efforts.

You’ll be hearing more about various giving options as well as the identification of our corporate supporters in the near future,” he offered.

Political observers have heard a lot in the year past about IRS discrimination against conservative groups, making this an odd time to seek approval for a tax exempt entity formed for the public benefit of gun owners. We asked Shuck how that came about. “A logical question about the new entity might come to mind while reading this announcement inasmuch as our approval emanated from the IRS, the very agency embroiled in numerous conservative discrimination complaints,” he commented. “Most would agree that anything related to firearms use and education might fall into this IRS abyss. Even amid the IRS scandals, many still unresolved, we successfully applied for and were granted 501 (c) (3) status. This speaks well of the application content, the Foundation’s clear mission, and your leaders’ willingness to challenge and push the envelope.”

The new Foundation provides an opportunity to bring more of armed citizenry’s luminaries into our gun owner education efforts. Shuck explains, “The Foundation will be guided by the three Network leaders, but we will seek input from members of the Foundation’s Advisory Committee, once appointed, who will represent the corporate and Second Amendment support community.”

Will the Foundation have an immediate impact on our Network members? Shuck answered affirmatively, explaining, “To name a few, we can now attract additional corporate donations; give individuals better justification to make personal donations, now tax deductible; and fund new educational endeavors for our members.”

“The Network is the preeminent organization supporting the legally armed citizen. We plan to remain in this premiere position and believe the Foundation will help us maintain this ambition,” he concluded.

As the Network starts its seventh year, the addition of the tax exempt Foundation to further our gun owner education initiative heralds a bright future. “We had moments of doubt during the height of the IRS/Lois Lerner scandal,” smiles Network Operations Manager Gila Hayes, “but in the end, right prevailed. We are delighted to kick 2014 off with such an exciting opportunity to expand our educational outreach.”

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