by NRA Staff - Tuesday, February 15, 2011
“If you know my background, you know I like to stay in the shadows,” confided a humbled Edward J. “Jim” Land, Jr., following a brief ceremony held Jan. 18 on the floor of the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, Nev. It was there in front of a gathering of press, industry officials and colleagues that the spotlight momentarily shone on the NRA Secretary as he became one of a handful of recipients of the Taurus Defender of Freedom award, which is presented annually by the firearm manufacturer to an NRA member who has staunchly defended the Second Amendment.
Calling on Land to step up and receive the award—symbolized by a bronze sculpture of an eagle, wings outstretched and talons extended—Taurus Int’l President and CEO Bob Morrison outlined his contributions to the preservation of the Second Amendment: “Marine Major Jim Land, distinguished rifle and pistol marksman, has spent his entire life upholding the Constitutional rights we have to be free, to bear arms and to call ourselves Americans. In the service, and in his private life, he has served as a model for strong leadership, sense of duty and protector of our freedoms. Sharing his exceptional skills as a shooter, he has trained many of our armed forces to shoot straight both at the range and in life. His bravery and his resolve have helped to defend our constitution and to preserve our way of life.”
Addressing the onlookers, Land, his trademark authoritative tone softened somewhat, said, “I am humbled and honored to receive this award. Actually, I’d like to say I represent all of you. It’s a team. It’s the industry, it’s the NRA, it’s our volunteers, and I can’t thank Taurus and Bob (Morrison) enough for everything that they do. I checked before I came out here and Taurus has given over 8,000 NRA memberships with the purchase of their firearms. Each and every one of us does the best that we can every day in recognizing that without the Second Amendment there are no other amendments.”
A retired U.S. Marine Corps major, Land is known primarily for his role in establishing the modern Marine Corps Scout Sniper program and recruiting Carlos “White Feather” Hathcock and other snipers during Vietnam. During his 24-year career, he also served as captain of the USMC Pistol Team, Officer-in-Charge of the First Marine Division of Scout-Snipers and USMC marksmanship coordinator. An avid shooter and competitor, Land holds Distinguished badges in both rifle and pistol marksmanship and has set seven national shooting records in competition.
An NRA Benefactor member, Land has been the corporate secretary of the National Rifle Association since 1994 and has served the association in a variety of other capacities. He is an NRA-certified referee and instructor in six disciplines and is internationally recognized as an authority on firearms and training. Also certified as an NRA law enforcement firearm instructor, Land has supervised weapons training programs for several major federal agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI along with numerous police agencies.
In summing up Land’s accomplishments, Morrison said, “[Jim Land] has spent his entire life upholding the constitutional rights we have to be free, to bear arms and to call ourselves Americans.”
For more than a decade Taurus Int’l has awarded the Defender of Freedom Award to an NRA member who has staunchly defended the Second Amendment and our freedom to keep and bear arms. Past recipients include: Wayne LaPierre, Dave Butz, Chris Cox, Sandra Froman, Joe Graham, Mark Keefe, Ted Nugent and John Zent.
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