NRA 2014 Convention: Former Muncie IN man manages education, training

Bill Poole Jr. a legacy in shooting, marksman sport

By Rick Yencer

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA (NEWS) -  Sport shooting provides a bridge among generations and differences, says Muncie native Bill Poole Jr., now managing director of education and training for the National Rifle Association.

And Poole knows that well, given his parents the late Bill and Hazel Poole were national shooting champions and proud gun owners.

 With the backdrop of the NRA Convention in Indianapolis on Friday, the younger Poole talked about a recent episode involving his mother with some young hooligans when retired FBI agent Dallas Kunkle who worked in eastern Indiana, and Clarke Payne, a retired teacher who taught in Muncie and Anderson stopped by the NRA booth to visit.

Poole's mother was a victim of a home invasion by some teenagers looking for money. Armed with a knife, one of the boys told Poole to give them money. She went to a drawer and pulled out a handgun, saying you should never bring a knife to a gunfight.

"She is just great," said Poole.

That was just one of the stories at the NRA convention that included many about the right to bear arms and the thrill of sport shooting. Messages about legalizing marijuana and protests from mothers against gun violence also surrounded the huge convention featuring Gov. Mike Pence, and Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mario Rubio.

Near the NRA booth at the Indiana Convention Center was Howard "Cowboy" Wooldridge, representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Wooldridge, a retired police detective, has a simple message in that marijuana should be legal so law enforcement can spend more time on violent crime. 

Marijuana is no longer an issue in Colorado where is is legal and being taxed like alcohol and tobacco. The same goes for Washington.

Wooldridge spends much of his time on Capital Hill lobbying a federal government about legalizing marijuana and putting more money into law enforcement.

The leadership forum Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium attended by thousands featured several public figures like Pence who talked about gun ownership and state's rights, the bedrock of the conservative movement.

 The governor had NRA members cheering when he told about first meeting his wife who owned a gun and rode a motorcycle. "It was love at first sight," said Pence.

Santorum gave a firey speech about taking back the country from liberals and establishing conservative values in the federal government. He and other speakers also criticized liberal courts and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for suggesting a rewrite of the Second Amendment.

A handful of seminars offered advice on a range of issues whether it was firearms law or shooting skills.

The gathering on shooting like a pro featured a third generation face of the NRA, Chris Cheng, a tech worker at Google with little firearm experience ending up beating professional shooters and claiming the title of TV's "Top Shot."

Home defense tactics like the ones used by Poole's mother also was a popular seminar as dozens of people told unique instances of defending against violence.

Many NRA members were content to wander more than a half million square feet of vendors selling guns, ammo, sporting goods and other merchandise in the convention center.

Traditional names like Winchester, Remington, and Smith & Wesson were among the vendors besides sporting good giants like Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops.

As Glenn Hatt, Winchester product manager said, many conventioneers were just looking and buying the latest firearms offered by the large list of manufacturers.

Winchester is an old West gun name that has the latest fast action shotguns and rifles. Hatt pumped a Model 70 shotgun, saying there was nothing more frightening to an offender than the sound of that pump action.

The convention continues Saturday with a Stand and Fight rally featuring country group Alabama besides appearances by Sarah Palin and Oliver North. On Sunday, rock star Ted Nugent makes an appearance to sign his book, Ted, White and Blue. More than 70,000 people are planning to attend making it the largest convention in Indianapolis this year.



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