Neal Knox, former vice president of
the National Rifle Association and long-time leader of the gun rights
died at his home on January 17, 2005 following a year-long battle with colon cancer. He was sixty-nine. He
is survived by his wife, Jay Janen Knox (Shirley) and his four
children; Christopher, Shan, Jeffrey, Stacey, and seven grandchildren.
Born Clifford Neal Knox on June 20,
1935 in Rush Springs, Oklahoma, Neal spent most of his early life in
graduating from Vernon, Texas High School and attending Abilene
College. His early working years included
eight years in the Texas National Guard, stints in insurance and the oil
business, and assignments as a reporter for the Vernon
Daily Record and, later, the Wichita Falls Times and
Record News. At
that same time, he was demonstrating his life-long interest in firearms
freelance writer for several gun magazines.
Neal realized his dream of becoming a full-time gun writer in
1966 when he became the founding editor of
Week newspaper. A few years later he took over as editor of Handloader
magazine and oversaw the creation of Rifle magazine. In 1971 he and his partner moved the magazines from Peoria,
Illinois to Prescott, Arizona.
In 1978 Neal left his dream job and moved to the
Washington, D.C. area to wholly commit himself to the cause of gun rights
and the Second Amendment. He served four years as Executive Director of
the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the National
Since 1984, as chairman of the Firearms Coalition, Neal has
dedicated himself to writing, speaking and lobbying for the
development and support of grassroots gun rights
During his life, Neal competed in, and often won, competitions in virtually every shooting discipline, including winning a national title in bench rest. In addition to his shooting interests, he was an accomplished pilot, holding instrument and multi-engine ratings.
service was held at Knox’s home church, the Manassas Church of
Christ in Manassas, Virginia on January 20. Several speakers offered
eulogies, including one by his friend and colleague Tanya Metaksa in
which she reviewed his accomplishments, calling him “the only hero of
the gun rights movement in the Twentieth Century.”.
In lieu of flowers, the family
requests donations to the Firearms Coalition Neal Knox Memorial Fund,
Manassas, VA 20108. Tax-deductible
may be made to Academics for the Second Amendment Neal Knox Memorial
Fund. Contributions may also be made in
to the Rainbow Children’s Home in Gainesville, Virginia.
A personal message from Neal Knox to his friends and supporters