Phil Schreier, Senior Curator for the National Firearms Museum, chronicled the Boy Scouts of America's 100-year relationship with the NRA for American Rifleman Magazine's December issue:
NRA & Boy Scouts: 100 years of partnership
In February 1910, American publishing magnate William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America in Washington, D.C., and since then, millions of boys around the country have grown into men following the ideals of scouting. The story often told is that Boyce was lost in the pea-soup-like fog of London and an unknown Scout helped him find his way. The lad then refused a tip from Boyce saying that he was a Scout, and he was just doing what was expected of him. Intrigued, Boyce sought out more information on the organization founded in 1907 by British Maj. Gen. Robert Baden-Powell, and upon his return from overseas travels, incorporated the Boy Scouts of America. The rest is, as they say, history.
From the start of Scouting, the shooting sports figured prominently. "Marksman" was one of the first 14 Badges of Merit (later termed Merit Badges) offered in the original 1910 Scout Handbook. From that humble beginning, NRA and the BSA have forged a century-old relationship that is stronger today than at any time in the past.
All was not as cozy as it would seem, however, at the start of this fledgling movement. An ongoing rivalry between Boyce and fellow publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst threatened the organization from the beginning.
Only four months after Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Hearst incorporated the American Boy Scouts (ABS) in New York. Immediately both groups vied to attract boys to their membership by promoting character building, outdoor skills, patriotism and good citizenship. Both groups adopted uniforms strikingly similar to those worn by the U.S. Army at the time. Nonetheless, the ABS had a decidedly military flair to its programs and even endorsed a Remington Rolling Block 4S rifle in .22 Short that was marked "American Boy Scout," complete with a ridiculously dull bayonet made of pot metal.
Read the complete article here.