Robert Dowlut was born in the Nazis’ Augsburg slave labor camp in September 1945 to Polish parents Donald and Olga, less than five months after the U.S. Army liberated the camp. In 1949, the family emigrated to Wisconsin, and then to South Bend, Indiana. As a young man, Dowlut had several run-ins with the law. At 16, he was arrested for a crime spree using stolen weapons and a homemade zip gun, but was put on probation and graduated from Washington High School in January 1963. He then enlisted in the Army and began basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Then, in November 1964, Dowlut was found guilty of second-degree murder, accused of shooting and killing Anna Marie Yocum in April 1963. After six years in prison, the court reversed the conviction, and the case was never retried. Dowlut then returned to the military, joining the 82nd Airborne Division, and served with the Army Reserve’s 12th Special Forces while he attended Indiana University South Bend. After graduating in 1975, Dowlut enrolled at Howard University School of Law. He began working for the National Rifle Association in 1977. In 1979, he graduated law school and was admitted to the D.C. Bar a year later in 1980. He has served as the NRA’s General Counsel and is currently on the NRA Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund board of directors.