Tom Selleck, the actor best known for his roles on Magnum P.I. and on Blue Bloods, is a long-standing member of the National Rifle Association. Not only is Selleck a member — he has spent years sitting on the organization’s board of directors. So when news broke Tuesday that Selleck was resigning from the NRA board, many were shocked. But Selleck’s publicist, Annette Wolf, told The Trace that he has, indeed, stepped down from the NRA’s board. She sent The Trace a statement which read, simply, “Tom Selleck has stepped down from the board of the NRA due to his work schedule. Mr. Selleck remains a member of the NRA.”
Here’s what you need to know about Tom Selleck and the NRA:
1. Selleck Joined the National Rifle Association When He Was 8 Years Old
Tom Selleck was just eight years old, a boy growing up in Detroit, Michigan, when he joined the NRA. It turned into a life-long membership.
Selleck joined the NRA’s board in 2005 and has remained on the board every year since then. You need to be elected to serve on the NRA’s 76-member board, and Selleck has easily won each and every election. In 2017, he won by far more votes than any of the other elected members; you can see the official vote tally here.
That’s why it came as such as surprise when the 73 year old Selleck suddenly stepped down from the board, mid-term. His publicist, Annette Wolfe, told Trace that Selleck is remaining an active NRA member and that he has always been sort of a silent board member anyway; Wolfe said the actor was stepping down for work reasons. “He has nothing to do with policy. He’s never been active on the board or anything the NRA engages in. He’s almost always been a silent board member,” Wolfe stressed.
2. Selleck Came Under Fire for an NRA Ad He Made That Said ‘Shooting Teaches Young People Good Things’
Back in 1999, Tom Selleck made a print ad for the NRA that featured a picture of him with a rifle slung across his shoulder. The writing underneath said, “shooting teaches young people good things.”
The ad was made just a month after the massacre at Columbine High School. In the aftermath of Columbine, many people slammed Selleck for his involvement in the NRA. Selleck took a lot of heat when he appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show, when O’Donnell confronted him about his views on the NRA. You can watch the full episode here.
Selleck told O’Donnell that the NRA isn’t as terrible a problem as some of the other problems our society faces today. He downplayed his involvement in the NRA, repeatedly denying that he is a spokesman for the group and saying, “I was a member when I was a kid. I was a junior member. I learned gun safety.”
Selleck said that instead of gun control, people should focus on the larger problems with our society. “What I see is the troubling direction of our culture. Our society is going in the wrong direction,” Selleck said.
3. Tom Selleck & Kellyanne Conway Headlined the NRA’s Women’s Leadership Forum Last Year
The NRA hosts a “Women’s Leadership Forum” as part of its annual meeting each year. In 2017, both Kellyanne Conway and Tom Selleck were picked to speak at the event. The NRA’s magazine gushed about Selleck, writing, “At 72, Tom Selleck still has the elusive it—that characteristic that can set hundreds of women’s hearts to throbbing from across the room. So it makes perfect sense that he was one of the featured guests at the Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) during this year’s NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta.”
The NRA’s magazine reported that Selleck told the audience that the NRA and its mission are more vital than ever in this day and age. “We are living in troubled times, times of partisanship and a toxic political environment,” he said, adding that this country needs activists who stand behind the values we hold dear.
4. Selleck Has Donated a Number of Guns From His Movies to the NRA’s Museum
The National Firearms Museum is housed in NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. The museum’s collection includes a number of guns from Tom Selleck’s private collection, which the actor has donated over the years.
Selleck has said that he joined the NRA when he was a boy — just eight years old — and that he valued the group for teaching him how to shoot and for teaching him about gun safety. He has adamantly denied that he was ever a spokesman for the NRA.
5. Selleck Gets Sentimental About Old Guns
Selleck gave an interview to NRA News back in 2007, during an event at the National Firearms Museum. Selleck talked about the unique beauty of old guns and the history that goes along with them. He said, “I collect old Winchesters and Marlins, and lots of things, and any time you pick up an old gun— they don’t have to look brand new— you wish they could talk.”
The actor added, “There are so many people who demonize guns.”
Selleck joked that he carries an application for the NRA with him in his hip pocket everywhere he goes. “I carry it to get more work in
Hollywood,” the actor snarked, referring to Hollywood’s generally liberal, anti-gun views.
“How’s that working out for you?” asked his interviewer? “Not too well,” said Selleck, ruefully.