Newsmax is out with our list of 2015’s 100 Most Influential Pro-Gun Rights Advocates.
The Department of Justice is reportedly launching a “final assault” against gun owners with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations ordered up by President Barack Obama in the waning years of his presidency.
Taking aim at the Second Amendment, Obama said nine people were killed in a Charleston, S.C., church “in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” and he has asserted that the “vast majority of Americans want to do something about this.”
But Second Amendment supporters can take heart that gun rights champions are a major force in our country today, and they are not backing down an inch against those who would impose stricter controls on American gun owners.
Here is a Newsmax look at the top 100 most influential pro-gun rights advocates who vow to uphold Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. It is a diverse group that goes far beyond the political realm and also crosses the political spectrum.
1. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and an outspoken opponent of government efforts at gun control, famous for the quote, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
2. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a 300,000-member gun rights organization.
3. Donald Trump, billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate, has come out strongly for gun owners’ rights and says he has a gun permit.
4. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., presidential candidate and strong gun rights supporter who vowed, “We will not let the liberals tread on the Second Amendment!”
5. Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, vice presidential candidate, and a hunter and gun owner, who addressed the 2013 NRA Convention.
6. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who strongly opposes bans on assault weapons and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which would affect the firearms industry.
7. Col. Oliver North, political commentator and television host, who appeared in an “I’m the NRA” advertisement.
8. David Keene, former NRA chairman from 2011 to 2013, former chairman of the American Conservative Union, and an outspoken proponent of gun owners’ rights.
9. Dudley Brown, executive director of the National Association for Gun Rights, which he calls the “no compromise” gun lobby.
10. Robert K. Brown, publisher of Soldier of Fortune Magazine, director/member of the NRA Executive Committee for two years, and past member of the Public Affairs and Finance Committees.
11. David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, who urged residents to arm themselves for self-protection and vowed to resist federal gun control measures.
12. John Lott, economist who published “More Guns, Less Crime,” called the “Bible of the gun rights movement.”
13. Glenn Beck, radio and television personality who opposes the Obama Administration’s anti-gun attitude and wrote the book “Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns.”
14. Mark Levin, conservative talk radio host and Constitutional attorney, a gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
15. Tina Pattison, president of Hunt of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization which grants hunting and fishing dreams for children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.
16. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who opposes expansion of government controls on firearms.
17. John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., who has opposed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and warned of its dangers to Americans’ right to bear arms.
18. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an avid hunter and gun owner who once shot a coyote that attacked his dog while they were out walking.
19. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, an NRA member, who supported bills allowing open and campus carry of firearms in the Lone Star State.
20. Sean Hannity, conservative Fox News TV host who is a registered gun owner in New York and opposes gun control measures.
21. Alex Jones, radio host and head of Infowars.com, who confronted CNN host Piers Morgan about the British broadcaster’s support for gun control.
22. Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart News, who is a strong supporter of the right to bear arms.
23. Ted Nugent, rock star, avid hunter, and outspoken supporter of gun rights, who often brings his guns onstage with him during concerts.
24. Clint Eastwood, actor, director, producer, artist, and former mayor of Carmel, California, who has said “I have a very strict gun control policy. If there is a gun around, I want to control it.”
25. Chuck Norris, the internationally famed martial artist, actor, and star of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” is an NRA member and honorary chairman of the NRA’s “Trigger the Vote” campaign.
26. Bruce Willis, famed for the “Die Hard” movie series, has said, “If you take guns away from legal gun owners, then the only people who will have guns are the bad guys.”
27. Tom Selleck, star of “Magnum P.I.” and a host of other TV shows and movies, is a member of the NRA board of directors and has donated guns used in his movies to the NRA firearms museum.
28. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Hollywood actors and husband and wife, are supporters of the Second Amendment and have an elaborate private shooting range at their home.
29. Ice T, the rapper-turned-actor and star of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” has stated that guns in citizens’ hands are a defense against both criminals and tyrants.
30. Kyle Coplen is the founder of the Armed Citizen Project and has raised funds to buy shotguns for home defense and training for people living in high-crime areas.
31. Cody Wilson, director of Defense Distributed, developed a 3-D printable gun and says he hopes to return power to gun owners by giving them the ability to create their own firearms.
32. Chris and Taya Kyle – Kyle, a Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in American history, was president of Craft International, which provided shooting instruction to police and military personnel. After his tragic death, his wife Taya has carried on his work.
33. Colion Noir, “The Urban Gun Enthusiast,” is a blogger who celebrates guns and the right to carry.
34. Kyle Myers is the YouTube host of FPSRussia, a strong advocate of Second Amendment rights, and posts videos of himself using various firearms.
35. Alton Brown, a Food Network host, has said on his Twitter account that he often packs firearms and joked, “At home we like to say the house is protected by Mossberg, but the Mossberg is protected by H&K.”
36. James Earl Jones, the famed actor, has said, “The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise, they will win, and the decent people will lose.”
37. Charles Barkley, the former NBA star, supports the Second Amendment and has said of crime, “Being black, this is something you deal with all the time. And it’s just sad. I’m a guy, I carry a gun.”
38. Whoopi Goldberg, the comedian, stunned viewers of ABC’s “The View” in 2012 when she announced she is a member of the NRA.
39. Amber Heard, an actress from Texas and wife to Johnny Depp, said, “I’m a good shot and I love guns. I own several. I don’t have children in the house, so I sleep with my gun in a place that’s close enough that if I needed to protect myself, I could. I’m fully trained and I’m an active member of a gun club. I’m definitely pro-gun.”
40. Karl Malone, the former NBA player, has said, “About the only thing I’d rather do than play basketball is hunt. I grew up hunting in Louisiana and I think it’s a tradition we should pass on.”
41. Miranda Lambert – The country singer doesn’t just sing about “Gunpowder and Lead,” she’s a lifetime member of the NRA who got her first handgun license at 22, and said, “I’ve just grown up with guns. There was always a gun on the nightstand.”
42. Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who threw a record seven no-hitters in his career, appeared in an “I’m the NRA” ad.
43. Joe Perry, lead guitarist of rock group of Aerosmith, is a gun collector and has said, “I have always been fascinated with guns. I grew up in America, so granted, it is part of our heritage and it is written into the laws of how this country is run.”
44. Johnny Depp – When he was a child, the movie star said, “We would just go out and line up a bunch of cans and shoot with rifles, handguns and at times, submachine guns. I will most certainly take my kids out for target practice.”
45. Eric Clapton, the rock guitar legend, started shooting in 2003 and built up a large firearms collection. “I like a gun to look like a working tool but it’s a magnificent piece of art as well,” he said.
46. Gary Sinise – The Academy Award winner for “Forrest Gump” supports gun rights and said, “It’s a Second Amendment right and bad guys aren’t going to turn their weapons in, so good people need to be able to protect themselves.”
47. Joe Mantegna, the “Criminal Minds” actor, told “American Rifleman” in an interview he favors the Colt .45 as a carry gun. “That wasn’t the very first handgun I shot, but it was the one I ultimately used competitively. I just enjoy the caliber. I’ve shot pretty much every handgun caliber you can think of and the .45 ACP is perfect. It has mass, the recoil is a little more, you get a lot of push, but you don’t get a lot of torque. And it’s just the aesthetics of it. It’s old school. It’s what I carry on ‘Criminal Minds.'”
48. Adam Baldwin – The “Firefly” actor is an avid gun owner and Second Amendment supporter, and uses his Twitter fan base of more than 100,000 to declare his pro-gun beliefs.
49. Kevin Sorbo – The “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and “Andromeda” actor said, “You can take all guns away and the bad guys will still get guns. Do you honestly believe the bad guys care about any stupid law that is passed? This is why we call them bad guys. The gun control issue is ridiculous.”
50. R. Lee Ermey, Marine vet, “Full Metal Jacket” actor and host of the History Channel’s “Mail Call” and “Lock N Load With R. Lee Ermey” supports gun rights and serves as a spokesman for Glock pistols.
51. Dan Bilzerian, the actor and professional poker player, is also a gun collector and firearms enthusiast.
52. Dean Cain, who played Superman on TV’s “Lois & Clark,” uses his Twitter account to oppose gun control and has said, “Do I think gun violence is a problem? Absolutely. Do I think more gun control is an issue? No. I worry about my son when he goes to school because I know it’s a gun-free zone and I know that if someone came in with a firearm there’s nobody there to stop him. I would love to have a conceal-carry permit because I’d like to be the person who would stop somebody in that situation.”
53. S.E. Cupp, the political commentator and writer, is a strong supporter of gun rights, and said, “The problem with background checks, five-day waiting periods, they assume that I have criminal intent to use my gun to pursue my Second Amendment rights. It’s an abuse of power and it seeps into the culture.”
54. James Hetfield, Metallica lead singer, says, “I love my guns. I love that my dad handed them down to me and I’m taking care of them. The Second Amendment is very important to me.”
55. Dan Cannon, the founder and editor of GunsSaveLives.net,
which draws nearly three million “hits” per month. The website lists hundreds of stories relating how armed citizens have protected themselves against criminal attack.
56. Penn Gillette, the magician, strongly supports gun ownership and has said, “If everybody else had a gun, you’re OK, because the overwhelming majority of people are good. And so, if they all have guns, the bad guys are outnumbered automatically.” He and his partner, Teller, once headlined the SHOT Show State of the Industry dinner, put on by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
57. Bill Engvall, the comic from the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” is a hunter and target shooter, and performed at the NSSF State of the Industry dinner in 2014.
58. Steve Sanetti, president of the NSSF.
59. Richard Petty, the legendary NASCAR driver, displays his large firearms collection in his museum in Randleman, North Carolina.
60. Eric Reed is president and founder of Gun Rights Across America, one of the fastest-growing gun rights groups in America with over 250,000 followers on social media.
61. Jennifer Lawrence, the “Hunger Games” actress, has said, “Screw PETA” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for the group’s complaints about skinning a real squirrel in the movies, and said she dreams of having a nice home “with a big dog and a shotgun.”
62. Marion P. Hammer, the first female president of the NRA, serving from 1995 to 1998, is a Florida lobbyist and an NRA board member.
63. Former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., Libertarian Party nominee for president in 2008 and a gun rights champion who sponsored and supported a host of pro-gun legislation during his time in office.
64. Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgiacarry.org, which battles for gun owners’ rights.
65. Khaled Akkawi, owner of Shoot Straight gun stores and ranges, with eight locations in Florida.
66. Tim Schmidt, president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association and publisher of Concealed Carry magazine.
67. Vince Vaughn, the actor, has said, “You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.”
68. George Reinas, former Air Force sniper and a member of the cast on the History Channel show “Top Shot.”
69. Steven Spielberg, movie producer and director, is a skeet shooter and owns a large arsenal of weapons, including guns from each of his movies. Fabbri, the luxury Italian gunmaker, has a photo of Spielberg on their website holding one of his custom Fabbri guns with a “Jurassic Park” engraving.
70. Joseph P. Tartaro, executive director of the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Both groups report having over 650,000 members.
71. Dr. Jennifer Carlson, sociologist and author of “Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline.” She wrote, “In virtually all of my conversations with men, responsibility and duty to family was a huge factor shaping why they found it important to carry guns, across the board, regardless of race or other background.”
72. Dr. Timothy Wheeler, project director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.
73. Steven Wenger, author of “Defensive Use of Firearms,” a former police firearms instructor and NRA-LEAD instructor.
74. Dave Kopp, president of the Arizona Citizens Defense League.
75. Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff, who said, “Now if they’re going to tell the sheriff that he’s going to go around picking up guns from everybody, they’re going to have a problem. I may not enforce that federal law.”
76. Glenn E. Palmer, Grant County, Oregon, sheriff, wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, saying, “I will not tolerate nor will I permit any federal incursion within the exterior boundaries of Grant County, Oregon, where any type of gun control legislation aimed at disarming law-abiding citizens is the goal or objective. We live in a free society and [have] firearms ownership and the right to defend one’s self from becoming a victim of a criminal act or from a far-reaching government attempting to enact laws that are unconstitutional.”
77. Ginny Simone, reporter, recently wrote an article on “guntry clubs,” the newest trend in upscale shooting ranges, and supports the Second Amendment.
78. Javier Lopez, co-owner of a “guntry club” shooting range, Lock and Load, in Miami’s Wynwood art district, where guests can choose from a selection of 25 machine guns to fire.
79. Don Radcliff, pharmacist at the Good Family Pharmacy in Pinch, West Virginia, who has a concealed carry permit and shot armed robber Terry Gillenwater during an attempted robbery at the pharmacy. Gillenwater died. No charges were filed against Radcliff.
80. Kim Condon, head of a chapter of The Well Armed Woman and owner of Boondocks Firearms Training Academy in Raymond, Mississippi.
81. Carrie Lightfoot, founder and owner of The Well Armed Woman, which boasts 182 chapters in 42 states with 4,592 members.
82. Gabriela “Gabby” Franco, former Olympic shooter and two-time contestant on the History Channel’s reality show “Top Shot,” who says, “I believe in my right to preserve my life at all costs, because as I learned from my fellow shooters in Venezuela, criminals only care about their lives, not mine.”
83. Massad Ayoob, world-famous firearms instructor and author of multiple books on firearm self-defense.
84. Julianne Versnel, publisher of Women & Guns magazine.
85. Dick Anthony Heller, whose 2008 case before the Supreme Court established that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
86. Dave Workman, senior editor at TheGunMag.com and communications director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
87. Eric R. Poole, editor of Guns & Ammo magazine, with 5.8 million readers per month.
88. Buz Mills, owner and operator of Gunsite Academy, founded by legendary shooter Jeff Cooper.
89. Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association in Ohio.
90. George Zimmerman, the Floridian who defended himself when attacked by Trayvon Martin in 2012, was acquitted of second degree murder in 2013 and had a hate crime investigation eventually dropped by the Department of Justice in 2015.
91. Blake Shelton, country singer and “The Voice” co-host, and his wife Miranda Lambert served venison they shot themselves at their wedding.
92. Chris Pratt, an actor who said, “Some people fast, some people go on a cruise or visit a day spa. I get out in the woods with a rifle or a bow. That’s my release.”
93. Shaquille O’Neal, retired NBA superstar and analyst on “Inside the NBA,” likes to go on “Shaqfaris,” hunting goats and wild boar.
94. Tom Brokaw, newsman, is an avid bird hunter and even bought a 640-acre Montana dude ranch for hunting and fishing.
95. Kurt Russell, the “Tombstone” actor, hosted an annual celebrity hunt with meat donated to feed the homeless.
96. Emily Miller, senior editor for opinion for the Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun . . . But Obama Wants to Take Yours.”
97. James Childers, CEO of ASG Global and Whidbey Arms, distributes the “I Love Guns & Coffee” mock Starbucks logo in response to Starbucks saying guns are not welcome in their stores.
98. Harper Creigh, founding father of the Single Action Shooting Society with 75,000 shooting members.
99. R. Steven Johnson, president of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, which publishes The Firearms Instructor magazine.
100. Blaine Millet, co-founder and president of Gunlawcommunity.com, which connects clients with pro-gun attorneys and created the Citizen Defender course, in which gun owners can learn about the law and their self-defense rights.