Promoting Rifle Practice.Under the authority of the war department the national board for the promotion of rifle practice has announced the plan adopted for the formation of a national reserve of qualified riflemen. No step in military circles within the past decade, at least, has been fraught with the significance that attaches to this effort to induce all male citizens of the United States capable of bearing arms to familiarize themselves with the use of firearms, and especially the government weapon which will be employed in time of war. It is estimated that there are at least ten million Americans who would be eligible to a draft, of which only a small percentage know anything about rifle practice.
Skill with the best weapon has always turned the scale in favor of the nation employing the same even with inferior numbers. The victories of the English with their broad-cloth arrows at Poicters and Agincourt, of the Americans under Jackson at New Orleans, and the more recent ones of Santiago and Manila are directly ascribable to the marksmanship of the victors. Consequently, the effort to arouse the interest of the great mass of citizens of the republic in rifle and pistol practice and to equip them with the knowledge of the use of firearms that is absolutely essential to the soldier—regular, volunteer or conscript—is one which should and will command the respectful attention of every one who has his
country's interest at heart.
The national board has prepared a plan for the national reserve, the main points of which are as follows:
All members of the National Rifle association and of affiliated organizations are eligible to compete; they must be citizens between the ages of eighteen and forty-five; the United States magazine rifle or a rifle viewed and stamped by the National Rifle association must be used, together with the United States service ammunition or private makes that come within the rules all those who qualify will receive a national marksman's button.
In introducing this subject the board points out that as our permanent military establishment or regular army must be small, in event of a war with one or more of the first-class powers of the world, we must depend very largely upon the militia and the volunteers for our fighting force. With the modern long-range small arms it is all important that the soldier should know how to shoot and hit what he shoots at. If he can not do this the chances are ten to one that the shot is lost.
"By the plan proposed," says the report of the board, "we believe that the United States will within a few years have more than one million of men who will have for practical purposes on the line of battle nearly all the requirements for the most efficient soldiers in the world."
Okay, first you actually WANT us to be armed, (with the latest military rifle and pistol of the time). And then you don't want us armed? Can you ignorant, usurping, and tyrannical freaks make up your minds? Oh, now I get it! You only want us armed and practiced when it suits >your< purposes. But what about when we need to defend ourselves from the ignorant criminals, (both in and out of our governments)? Ah, now I get it! That's when you want us disarmed. Silly me....[New Ulm review, New Ulm, Brown County, Minn., Wednesday, August 10, 1904. Volume XXVI. No. 32 Pg. 6]