Dick Riley passed away this past December 7th. I lost a friend…and so did every American gun owner.

Beginning as a part-time gunsmith, he opened Riley’s Sport Shop in 1953 in the town of Hooksett, New Hampshire. He quickly grew his business into the largest gun shop in the state, and one of the two largest in Northern New England. But he did much, much more than that.

From the beginning, Dick Riley was actively involved in the fight for gun owners’ civil rights. He – and later, his bright and lovely wife Doris – were both voted into the State House, where they set the tone for the largely pro-gun Legislature that serves the Granite State today. Dick was a founder and the first president of Gun Owners of New Hampshire, and saw GO-NH become a model of effective grass-roots activism for the rights of firearms owners. His efforts were just as vigorous at the national level. Dick served from 1990 to 1992 as the President of the National Rifle Association.

When he retired from the gun business in 1987, he sold the booming (no pun intended) gun shop to a couple of loyal employees, Ralph Demicco and Bob Parlangeli. When Bob retired subsequently, Ralph bought him out. He and Riley’s Sport Shop have continued the outspoken advocacy of gun owners civil rights, in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

We have lost a good man, and have also lost a wise and powerful voice for our side. Condolences to his bereaved family and friends, and Godspeed to those who carry on the mission that Dick Riley made his life’s work.