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Greene County resident inducted into the NMLRA Black Powder Hall of Fame
by Larry S. Moore
Greene County resident Marty Murphy has been involved in the shooting sports nearly all his life. He has served both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) in a variety of positions. He was recently inducted into the NMLRA Black Powder Hall of Fame. The words on his plaque provide some insight to the commitment and impact, "In recognition of, and grateful appreciation for, services rendered to preserve and enhance black powder sport. The recipient's achievements have demonstrated a profound dedication to support, preserve and nurture key aspects of our sport, and have set new standards for future generations of black powder shooters."
Murphy noted that he started shooting and hunting as a youngster. It was his time in the Marine Corps where he developed an interest in competitive shooting. While in the Marines he shot with their rifle and pistol team. After his service with the Marines concluded, Murphy returned home continuing to hunt and shoot.
Murphy continues, "It was after Shirley and I married that I became involved with the NMLRA. It was her influence that got me to the ranges at Friendship, Indiana where she ran the pistol shack. I was soon shooting muzzle loading pistols in competition. I attended my first shoot in 1973. Things rather took off from that point as I started working with her in the pistol shack. I became a Range Officer, Chief Range Officer for the pistol range and Chairman of the Pistol Committee. Other opportunities soon developed. Today women involved in the shooting sports is growing enormously but Shirley was involved in the early days." Murphy served as a NRA Range Officer for a "Women and Guns" day hosted at the local Greene County Fish and Game Club in 1990. This event was well ahead of the times for getting women to learn about guns and shoot on the ranges.
While Murphy's love of shooting is centered on the pistol competition, it's obvious the axiom that behind every successful man is a good woman is true. Shirley noted, "There were times when he was away from home that made it a little difficult but it worked out well. I'm proud of him. I cried with joy when he was presented his plaque."
Shirley Murphy was a real pioneer in the shooting sports. Today we see women as the fastest growing segment of gun ownership and the shooting sports. She shot the first trap and skeet events held at Friendship. Shirley Murphy notes, "When I started working at the pistol shack and shooting at Friendship, there were not very many women competitors. Today we see many more women in the sport. They are very good shooters and competitors. We welcome the ladies at Friendship."
Murphy served as NMLRA President 1995 through 1998 plus has been on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors for over twenty-five years. His service is not only to an organization but to all the shooters who compete at the Friendship matches and all the NMLRA members.
One of the significant accomplishments while NMLRA President was to sign a memo of understanding with NRA President Marion Hammer for cooperative work between the two organizations. This led to
the NRA Black Powder shoot being held in conjunction with the NMLRA Spring Shoot at Friendship. Both organizations realized there was a need for a good video production to promote the black powder shooting sports. Murphy lead the effort to not only create the production but to raise funding from the industry. The next step was to rewrite the three NRA black powder manuals into one cohesive publication. Using his experience with the NMLRA he rewrote the NRA educational materials. The publication is currently in final review for printing.
There is a big tent for all types of shooters interested in muzzleloaders at the NMLRA grounds. There are field representatives at the main entrance tent to direct people to the proper location. If someone is interested in shooting muzzle loading firearms but doesn't have a gun, there are guns and instruction available. Murphy chuckled, "All we ask is that you return the gun as clean as when we hand it to you. Heck, we will even teach you the proper cleaning methods. All the shooters are willing to help any new shooter. There is no reason for anyone to be intimidated. We want everyone to feel welcome and have a good time."
The NMLRA home grounds are at Friendship Indiana. Friendship is a wonderful choice for the grounds. The matches are about a lot more than guns and scores. Indeed it is about the life-long friendships that are made there and renewed each year. Murphy comments, "Everyone looks forward to the events each year. It's a time to renew our ties. I believe the friendships are stronger among the people in the shooting sports."
I asked Murphy about the opinion many have that black powder enthusiasts are not politically active because the concealed carry movement and anti-gun laws don't impact their sport. Murphy emphatically responded, "That is a myth and it is wrong! A huge majority of the NMLRA shooters are also NRA members. NMLRA is a non-profit organization and is limited where it can be involved in the political process. However, we encourage all our members to be NRA members also. Black powder shooters are just as knowledgeable and committed to the Second Amendment as the rest of the pro-gun community. We just happen to shoot a different firearm. We all have homes and family to protect. We all travel with our firearms to events. Right now the NRA is our best friend for taking care of our rights. You may be a member of other organizations and shoot a variety of different firearms but everyone should be a NRA member too!"
Murphy has demonstrated what he said by being active in the NRA. In 2003, less than a year before Ohio's concealed carry law would eventually be signed, pro-concealed carry advocates across Ohio were leading open carry walks. These walks were designed both as a protest and to educate the public about concealed carry and open carry. Murphy supported the open carry walk held in Xenia Ohio. There were rumors that protesters, likely from the Yellow Springs area, would be along the planned route. Murphy, who was presented his 40-year service award from Xenia PD in 2011, walked with us. He was able to not only show support but provide instant radio contact with the Xenia PD should any protests become confrontational. No protesters appeared and people driving along the route honked solidly in support of our efforts.
I am honored to call Marty Murphy my friend. Gun owners and shooters are fortunate to have a man of his caliber and dedication working to improve the shooting sports for everyone!
More information on the NMLRA, go to http://www.nmlra.org/
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.