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C. Neal Knox Edit Profile

Editor , writer , & Publisher

Clifford Neal Knox was a board member and officer of the National Rifle Association, gun magazine writer and editor, gun rights activist, and prolific author of technical firearms articles as well as articles related to his interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and views on firearms laws.


Knox, C. Neal was born on June 20, 1935 in Rush Springs, Oklahoma, United States. Son of Clifford C. and Lila Pauline (Musgrove) Knox.


Raised in Texas, Knox served eight years in the Texas National Guard, and attended Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University) and Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.


He also began what would become a long career as a freelance writer and columnist, starting as a reporter for the Vernon, Texas Vernon Daily Record before moving on to the Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Texas. As an independent writer, Knox sold several articles to gun magazines including Guns & Ammo and Guns magazine between 1964 and 1966. He formally entered the firearms journalism trade in 1966 when he became the founding editor of Gun Week, a weekly newspaper covering firearms issues of the day.

The paper gave in-depth coverage to the bill that would eventually become the Gun Control Act of 1968. Knox left Gun Week in 1968 when he moved to Wolfe Publishing as editor of Handloader Magazine, and founding editor of Rifle Magazine. In 1978, Knox moved to Washington D.C. in order to lobby against gun control measures and work for the National Rifle Association.

He served four years as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), the lobbying arm of the NRA. At the ILA, Knox was instrumental in convincing friendly lawmakers to introduce a reform of the 1968 Gun Control Act. The bill became the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which eventually passed in 1986. From 1984 to his death, Knox was the chairman of The Firearms Coalition, an organization that he created, which lobbies against restrictive gun laws.

One of the recurring themes throughout Knox's career was his uncompromising stance on gun laws and the 2nd Amendment, which he believed recognizes a pre-existing human right to self-defense. Knox publicly accused many NRA leaders of being too moderate. In 1977 Knox was among the hardliners who took control of the NRA. Those same hardliners fired Knox from the NRA five years later in 1982.

Over the ensuing decade, Knox used his own columns in magazines popular with NRA members like Shotgun News and Guns & Ammo to get himself and up to ten allies elected to the NRA board in 1991. In 1997 a narrowly divided NRA Board voted Knox out of the succession line for President of the NRA replacing him with Charlton Heston, who was subsequently elected president of the organization. Knox died in 2005, aged 69, after a year-long struggle with colon cancer.

Another son, Chris Knox has compiled and edited a collection of his writing, Neal Knox: The Gun Rights War.


  • Other Work

    • Columnist The American Rifleman, The American Hunter, Guns & Ammo, Shotgun News.


His views would lead him into many confrontations with other members of the NRA leadership and Congressional leadership.


Member National Rifle Association (trustee foundation 1992-1998, 1st vice president 1996), Manor Country Club, TSS Flying Club (past president).


Married Jay Janen Shirley, May 30, 1956. Children– Christopher W., Shan S. K. Wilkins, Jeffrey A., Stacey L.

Clifford C. Knox

Lila Pauline (Musgrove) Knox

Jay Janen Shirley

Christopher W. Knox

Shan S. K. Wilkins Knox

Jeffrey A. Knox

Stacey L. Knox