16 November 1871

The National Rifle Association receives its charter from New York State.

The National Rifle Association of America is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights. Founded in 1871, the group has informed its members about firearm-related legislation since 1934, and it has directly lobbied for and against firearms legislation since 1975.

Founded to advance rifle marksmanship, the modern NRA continues to teach firearm safety and competency. The organization also publishes several magazines and sponsors competitive marksmanship events. According to the NRA, it has 6 million members as of May 2018.

Observers and lawmakers see the NRA as one of the top three most influential lobbying groups in Washington, DC The NRA Institute for Legislative Action is its lobbying arm, which manages its political action committee, the Political Victory Fund. Over its history the organization has influenced legislation, participated in or initiated lawsuits, and endorsed or opposed various candidates at local, state and federal levels.

The NRA has been criticized by gun control and gun rights advocacy groups, political commentators, and politicians. The organization has been the focus of intense criticism in the aftermath of high profile shootings, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

A few months after the Civil War started in 1861, a national rifle association was proposed by Americans in England. In a letter that was sent to President Lincoln and appeared in the New York Times, R.G. Moulton and R.B. Perry recommended forming an organization similar to the British National Rifle Association, which had formed a year and a half earlier. They suggested making a shooting range, perhaps on the base on Staten Island, and were offering Whitworth rifles for prizes for the first shooting competition with those rifles. They suggested a provisional committee to start the Association which would include: President Lincoln, Secretary of War, officers, and other prominent New Yorkers.

The National Rifle Association was first chartered in the State of New York on November 16, 1871 by Army and Navy Journal editor William Conant Church and Captain George Wood Wingate. On November 25, 1871, the group voted to elect its first corporate officers. Union Army Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, who had worked as a Rhode Island gunsmith, was elected president. When Burnside resigned on August 1, 1872, Church succeeded him as president.

Union Army records for the Civil War indicate that its troops fired about 1,000 rifle shots for each Confederate hit, causing General Burnside to lament his recruits: “Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn.” The generals attributed this to the use of volley tactics, devised for earlier, less accurate smoothbore muskets.

Ambrose Burnside, Union Army general, Governor of Rhode Island, and first president of the NRA
Recognizing a need for better training, Wingate sent emissaries to Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany to observe militia and armies’ marksmanship training programs. With plans provided by Wingate, the New York Legislature funded the construction of a modern range at Creedmoor, Long Island, for long-range shooting competitions. The range officially opened on June 21, 1873. The Central Railroad of Long Island established a railway station nearby, with trains running from Hunter’s Point, with connecting boat service to 34th Street and the East River, allowing access from New York City.

After beating England and Scotland to win the Elcho Shield in 1873 at Wimbledon, then a village outside London, the Irish Rifle Team issued a challenge through the New York Herald to riflemen of the United States to raise a team for a long-range match to determine an Anglo-American championship. The NRA organized a team through a subsidiary amateur rifle club. Remington Arms and Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company produced breech-loading weapons for the team. Although muzzle-loading rifles had long been considered more accurate, eight American riflemen won the match firing breech-loading rifles. Publicity of the event generated by the New York Herald helped to establish breech-loading firearms as suitable for military marksmanship training, and promoted the NRA to national prominence.

16 November 1945

UNESCO is founded.

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The Constitution of UNESCO was signed in London on 16 November 1945 by 37 countries and came into force with its 20th ratification on 4 November 1946. The purpose of the Organization was defined as: “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.”

The main predecessors of UNESCO were the International Committee of Intellectual Co-operation, Geneva 1922-1946, its executing agency: the International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation (IIIC), Paris 1925-1946, and the International Bureau of Education (IBE), Geneva 1925-1968. The latter has since 1969 been part of the UNESCO Secretariat with its own statutes.

A Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME) started its meeting in London on 16 November 1942 and continued until 5 December 1945. 18 governments were represented. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), held in San Francisco in April-June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London 1-16 November 1945.

44 governments were represented. On 16 November 1945 the Constitution of UNESCO was signed and a Preparatory Commission (Prep.Com.) established. The first session of the General Conference of UNESCO took place in Paris from 19 November to 10 December 1946.

16 November 1938

LSD is synthesized for the first time by Albert Hofmann.

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Albert Hofmann, a chemist working for Sandoz Pharmaceutical, synthesized LSD for the first time in 1938, in Basel, Switzerland, while looking for a blood stimulant. However, its hallucinogenic effects were unknown until 1943 when Hofmann accidentally consumed some LSD. It was later found that an oral dose of as little as 25 micrograms is capable of producing vivid hallucinations.

Because of its similarity to a chemical present in the brain and its similarity in effects to certain aspects of psychosis, LSD was used in experiments by psychiatrists through the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. While the researchers failed to discover any medical use for the drug, the free samples supplied by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals for the experiments were distributed broadly, leading to wide use of this substance.

LSD was popularized in the 1960s by individuals such as psychologist Timothy Leary, who encouraged American students to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” This created an entire counterculture of drug abuse and spread the drug from America to the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Even today, use of LSD in the United Kingdom is significantly higher than in other parts of the world.