National Rifle Asso­ci­ation CEO Wayne LaPierre will speak at Hillsdale College on April 7. Gage Skidmore | Wiki­media Commons

National Rifle Asso­ci­ation CEO Wayne LaPierre will visit campus April 7 to deliver a speech titled “The 2016 Election and Future Chal­lenges” at a lun­cheon in the Searle Center.

Stu­dents are welcome to attend, but they must RSVP through a link pro­vided in this week’s student activ­ities newsletters by Friday becuase of limited seating.

“LaPierre knows that Hillsdale is a staunch defender of tra­di­tional lib­erties and tra­di­tional rights, and appre­ciates that,” said Pro­fessor of History David Raney, who is intro­ducing LaPierre during the event. “In recent years, with the addition of the John A. Halter Shooting Sports Center, he under­stands that level of devotion has been enhanced and there’s no doubt that he’s sup­portive of that and thankful we’re doing it.”

Raney — who is also the Halter chair in American history, the Con­sti­tution, and the Second Amendment — said he has known LaPierre since 1989 when he met him at an NRA annual meeting in St. Louis, Mis­souri. Raney has been an NRA member since he was 14 and worked as a summer intern at the asso­ci­ation in 1989.

“LaPierre is a very effective com­mu­ni­cator, very soft spoken, and very mellow but also tena­cious when it comes to lob­bying effort,” Raney said. “He has boundless energy and is a tireless defender of the Second Amendment, which he has put into play in his current position.”

Raney said LaPierre is effective at increasing mem­bership in the asso­ci­ation and placing the NRA on the offensive. One of the association’s best forces for lob­bying is its extensive grass­roots mem­bership throughout the United States. Cam­paign finance laws limit how much the NRA can con­tribute to politi­cians, so the asso­ci­ation relies on its political clout resulting from large groups of members in elec­toral dis­tricts.

“Their members are in some cases single-mindedly devoted to pro­tecting the right to keep and bear arms,” Raney said. “LaPierre has been very effective at building mem­bership.”