I've been a member of the NRA since my senior year of high school. I joined for many reasons but mainly I know I will be obtaining my concealed carry when I'm 21, I believe in my right to own a gun, and I believe that everyone should have access to gun education.

Before I go on, let me say this: No legal and law-abiding gun owner ever purchases a firearm with the intent of doing harm.

Many see the NRA as some organization without morals, some say they advocate for violence. That is simply not true. Since they are the face of pro-gun advocacy, they are the first to get blamed for incidents such as mass shootings. When in reality local police and other state officials are generally the ones who are actually at fault.

When you go to the NRA website, there are links for membership, firearms training, safety and education, women's interests, youth interests, and other stuff. In my opinion, the NRA is the absolute best place to get information on gun laws, legislation, and gun safety.

I want my concealed carry permit for two main reasons: To have the ability to protect myself if I have to, and without having to open carry and be a target. Also, I drive from Kentucky to Alabama alone when going to and from school and home, it would put my mind at ease knowing I have the ability to protect myself if something were to happen. When researching concealed carry laws and permits on the NRA website, I was able to see what the gun laws are in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama — the three states I have to drive through — and know which states did and didn't recognize Kentucky concealed carry permits.

For those who are against gun ownership, I feel that it is still important to know gun laws and gun safety.

Aside from the fact you should be educated on something before you decide if you are for or against it, you could end up in a situation where you might need to take action. If you end up around guns or see one lying around you should know what to do. In general, I feel everyone should know the basics such as checking to see if a gun is loaded, how to unload a gun, how to handle a firearm and know basic terminology.

The NRA offers education for children as well. Before people lose their minds hear me out. Every household with guns and children in the home should absolutely take the time to educate their children. They should pick a reasonable age to inform their children that there are guns in the house, teach them to always check to see if a gun is unloaded, how to check the safety if there is a safety, how to a firearm one when checking to see if it is unloaded, and how to unload it if it is not. Also, they talk about competitive shooting sports.

I firmly believe that every gun owner should have a safe and should always keep their guns locked inside. The NRA also offers information on gun safes and talks about gun safes in their safety information.

The NRA does so much more than what people think, and I've only touched on a few of the things the NRA provides the public with. I firmly stand by the NRA and I fully intend to continue my membership. Education is power, and once people understand the power of being able to lawfully protect yourself if the worst happens, you can.