Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Don’t Replace the NRA, Reform It

 

New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the National Rifle Association, seeking to dissolve it over multiple incidences of fraud and mismanagement.

And the thing is, her case is pretty strong, in my opinion. Really, really strong. Wayne LaPierre has been the effective head of the NRA for decades now, and his … questionable financial decisions appear to have been made without the knowledge of the Board of Directors, who should (should) have oversight on such matters. This quote in particular jumped out at me:

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.

Let’s look at the number in context. The NRA is not the only nationwide gun rights organization. There is also the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which specializes in targeted legal cases to advance the right to keep and bear arms, the Gun Owners Of America (GOA), which claims to be the only “no compromise” gun group out there, and also the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). They all do good work. The Second Amendment Foundation in particular created the legal strategy which won both DC v. Heller and Macdonald v. Chicago, two pivotal cases for American gun owners.

But as noted firearms trainer Claude Werner pointed out on Facebook, the resources all three of those organizations have at their disposal pales in comparison to what the NRA can bring to the table.

NRA Funding

The (literal) bottom line is, if the NRA were to go away tomorrow, America’s gun owners would be in a world of hurt. The $64 million dollars the NRA is accused of mismanaging is over six times the combined annual budget of all three of these groups. We may not like the shenanigans of the current leadership of the NRA, but no one has the clout of the NRA when it comes being able to shape the future of gun rights in America.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The federal lobbying and GOTV efforts of the NRA-ILA will actually be the easiest things for another organization to replicate. Where in NRA really shines (and where they get their victories) is on the state level, lobbying against restrictions on gun owners and similar efforts. Those functions will be harder, much harder for another group to accomplish. I am NOT a fan of the deal Marion Hammer has with the NRA, but she is the one who is knocking on the doors of the state government in Tallahassee, not any other state-level group. On top of this is the training branch of the NRA. Most states specifically state than an NRA class is one of the preferred options obtaining a concealed carry permit, and many states have hunter safety courses that run on NRA content. Lose those two things, and you lose American gun culture.

Reform the leadership of the NRA. Remove the current leadership. Put some teeth into the Board of Directors, and let them perform the oversight role they are meant to perform. As I said before, I don’t want my right to self-defense tied to just one political party, and I especially don’t want it tied to just one President. Let the NRA return to its roots as an advocate for ALL American gun owners, especially the millions of Americans who have bought their first gun this year. Make the NRA all about the safe ownership and use of guns, and the votes will follow.

Published in Guns
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  1. Jon1979 Lincoln

    This may come down to whether or not Wayne LaPierre and the current rubber-stamp board are willing to take the NRA down with them to preserve their control in the wake of James’ allegations, which have been made by others and were part of the basis of the challenge to LaPierre by the group led by Oliver North that tried to oust him.

    You’d think if the walls are closing in LaPierre would care more about the Second Amendment cause than having it be conditional on him personally leading the biggest group fighting for it. But there have been people in the past who’ve taken the position if they can’t be the ones running things, nobody will, and he and his backers might be perfectly willing to fight this out to the bitter end and have the NRA’s coffers be emptied by legal fees and eventual penalties to Letitia James and her progressive NYS AG’s office.

    • #1
    • August 8, 2020, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  2. EHerring Coolidge

    Also, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the one that actually sells guns.

    This is, perhaps, the most cleaver assault yet by the unholy left…and a little bit of self-inflicted wounds, too. The money James wants to grab and the money she wants the NRA to spend in defense is our money, the members’ money. We donate so they can lobby and fight for our rights and she wants to destroy them because they are good at it. If Wayne L cares about the NRA and our rights, he should step down. Then move the NRA to a different state, a red one. Have a clean sweep and take away this excuse. Of course, they will just make up another excuse. Why any right-leaning organization or company stays in a blue state is befuddling… at least gun manufacturers are waking up and relocating, slowly but surely. SC has two. 

    • #2
    • August 8, 2020, at 7:52 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Also, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the one that actually sells guns.

    Are you saying CMP is part of the NRA? I thought it was a .gov program.

    • #3
    • August 8, 2020, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EHerring (View Comment):
    Also, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the one that actually sells guns.

    This is not a function of the NRA. It is a federal program.

    • #4
    • August 8, 2020, at 8:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    But there have been people in the past who’ve taken the position if they can’t be the ones running things, nobody will

    It is important to remember that Wayne led a coup against the NRA board nearly 40 years ago, driving out an old guard who was more interested in hunting and hunting culture than in politics and defending the 2nd. This coup was organized, kept secret, and then sprung at the annual convention. It was a brilliant move.

    But ever since then Wayne has kept an iron grip on the election and convention processes so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. And after 40 years, it will take a massive upheaval and extraordinary measures from the NRA rank and file to force any change now.

    And you’d think that after Ollie North’s attempted coup that Wayne would have reined in his profligacy a bit, but I guess he thinks himself untouchable.

    • #5
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Unsk Member

    Of all the problems in the world, reforming the NRA is way down my list. But moving to a red state is a very good idea. 

    • #6
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It is important to remember that Wayne led a coup against the NRA board nearly 40 years ago, driving out an old guard who was more interested in hunting and hunting culture than in politics and defending the 2nd. This coup was organized, kept secret, and then sprung at the annual convention. It was a brilliant move.

    The best source I’ve found on the history of WLP’s tenure at the NRA is from, all of places, the Washington Post. It’s actually well-researched and quite extensive. 

    • #7
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. EHerring Coolidge

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Also, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the one that actually sells guns.

    Are you saying CMP is part of the NRA? I thought it was a .gov program.

    No, I am saying it is another gun group to add to the list, and yes, government Program established because marksmanship was considered to be in the best interest of the country. The left would eliminate it I bet if the Dems controlled the whole “shooting match.”

    • #8
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:18 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. EHerring Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):
    Also, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the one that actually sells guns.

    This is not a function of the NRA. It is a federal program.

    Was just adding it to the list of gun groups. 

    • #9
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. EHerring Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    But there have been people in the past who’ve taken the position if they can’t be the ones running things, nobody will

    It is important to remember that Wayne led a coup against the NRA board nearly 40 years ago, driving out an old guard who was more interested in hunting and hunting culture than in politics and defending the 2nd. This coup was organized, kept secret, and then sprung at the annual convention. It was a brilliant move.

    But ever since then Wayne has kept an iron grip on the election and convention processes so as to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. And after 40 years, it will take a massive upheaval and extraordinary measures from the NRA rank and file to force any change now.

    And you’d think that after Ollie North’s attempted coup that Wayne would have reined in his profligacy a bit, but I guess he thinks himself untouchable.

    Shows it is all about his own power. 

    • #10
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:21 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Goldgeller Member

    I don’t know what to say about the NRA and the lawsuit. It is beyond me. I have issues with them. It is an instrumental relationship. After Parkland (I went to school in the area) I joined the NRA because they, and FL gun rights, were under attacks. I never imagined they were a perfect defender of gun rights. So, i can see them having some problems as an organization.

    Re: Marion Hammer. She is an interesting figure for Florida and Tallahassee folk. I was studying in the library in the early noon the day FSU had its library shooting. And her name came up a lot. There were strong feelings. But she did put work in in FL. 

    My own feeling may not be principled but I guess… It is clear the NY AG had it out for the NRA as part of some liberal meme that the NRA is evil and exercises magical powers over the political process and for that reason alone I resent the lawsuit. It feels illegitimate. (“What about Planned Parenthood?”) Well I don’t know. I said it may not be principled. I feel like if you donate to the NRA you more or less know what you are donating to. It’s a consumer side issue, not a fraud one. 

    • #11
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. EHerring Coolidge

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It is important to remember that Wayne led a coup against the NRA board nearly 40 years ago, driving out an old guard who was more interested in hunting and hunting culture than in politics and defending the 2nd.

    It isn’t a desire to hunt that is driving gun sales and a large part of NRA funding today. It is the fear of losing our rights. Whether a mere tyrant or prescient leader, Wayne might have moved the NRA in the direction it needed to survive. Survival also depends on frequent refreshing of leadership positions. 

    • #12
    • August 8, 2020, at 9:29 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    In one of my past lives I was an executive of a nonprofit organization with a $5M budget. We built a HQ and museum in northern Virginia, and we worked with regulatory agencies to protect our members’ rights, on a Federal and a local level. We did good, important work. Still, when I think back on some of the shenanigans that went on, the allegations about mismanagement at the NRA feel familiar.

    @kevincreighton you are spot on as to the necessity of maintaining the NRA. It urgently needs to be reformed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the dirty laundry got hauled out just before an election. That puts a spin on reform efforts that is going to make it a lot more difficult; things are so Manichean these days that any effort to change the NRA management is going to get accused of being on the side of the attackers.

    Personally, I think the NRA is essential, especially the instructor program. That doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy and disgusted with the way the organization is run. I got a whiff of trouble when Pete Brownell, whom I respect, left after just a year. That was when I looked into it and noticed all the rotten spots. I hope and pray, and if I get the chance I will work, to see that the good parts prevail and the rot is surgically removed.

    You know, a lot like the rest of the country.

    • #13
    • August 8, 2020, at 12:41 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  14. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    I am still wondering why anybody would accept what an AG says at their word. Have you folk learned nothing from the Russian hoax?

    • #14
    • August 8, 2020, at 2:14 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    I am still wondering why anybody would accept what an AG says at their word. Have you folk learned nothing from the Russian hoax?

    Especially since this one is part of the Soros project to replace Attorneys General and other officials who certify state elections.

    • #15
    • August 8, 2020, at 2:26 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Stephen Richter Member

    have members of the NRA been complaining about the organizations finances and leadership? I would expect the NRA to be able to police itself in that contributions and membership will decline if leadership does not deliver pro gun results.

     

    • #16
    • August 8, 2020, at 3:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Kevin Forrester Coolidge

    Save the Second was formed for the purpose of reforming the NRA. Perhaps it will succeed with the help of the New York Attorney General.

    • #17
    • August 8, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    I am still wondering why anybody would accept what an AG says at their word. Have you folk learned nothing from the Russian hoax?

    This is not an either/or situation. It’s entirely possible for the NRA to be doing business fraudulently AND the NY AG to be using this lawsuit for political gain. The NRA’s dealings with Ackerman McQueen, its former ad agency, and the ongoing mess that was NRA Carry Guard tell me that some sunlight is needed inside the organization, and quickly. One can support the mission of the NRA and be 100% in favor of reforming the operation, and still think the AG is going way overboard here. 

    • #18
    • August 8, 2020, at 4:35 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton

    Stephen Richter (View Comment):
    have members of the NRA been complaining about the organizations finances and leadership? I would expect the NRA to be able to police itself in that contributions and membership will decline if leadership does not deliver pro gun results.

    In. Spades. 

    • #19
    • August 8, 2020, at 4:36 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton

    More from @anthonydewitt: https://ricochet.com/790190/waynes-world-is-crumbling

    • #20
    • August 8, 2020, at 4:39 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. EHerring Coolidge

    Dems hate the NRA because it is a wall preventing their gun banning agenda. However, if the Dems had respected the 2nd, the NRA could have stayed in its lane, promoting hunting, competition shooting events, and gun safety. Dr Frankenstein was a piker compared to the Democrats when it comes to creating monsters. 

    • #21
    • August 8, 2020, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    In one of my past lives I was an executive of a nonprofit organization with a $5M budget. We built a HQ and museum in northern Virginia, and we worked with regulatory agencies to protect our members’ rights, on a Federal and a local level. We did good, important work. Still, when I think back on some of the shenanigans that went on, the allegations about mismanagement at the NRA feel familiar.

    @kevincreighton you are spot on as to the necessity of maintaining the NRA. It urgently needs to be reformed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the dirty laundry got hauled out just before an election. That puts a spin on reform efforts that is going to make it a lot more difficult; things are so Manichean these days that any effort to change the NRA management is going to get accused of being on the side of the attackers.

    Personally, I think the NRA is essential, especially the instructor program. That doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy and disgusted with the way the organization is run. I got a whiff of trouble when Pete Brownell, whom I respect, left after just a year. That was when I looked into it and noticed all the rotten spots. I hope and pray, and if I get the chance I will work, to see that the good parts prevail and the rot is surgically removed.

    You know, a lot like the rest of the country.

    I would match the NRA and its financial shenanigans against the Red Cross any day.

    • #22
    • August 8, 2020, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  23. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Dems hate the NRA because it is a wall preventing their gun banning agenda. However, if the Dems had respected the 2nd, the NRA could have stayed in its lane, promoting hunting, competition shooting events, and gun safety. Dr Frankenstein was a piker compared to the Democrats when it comes to creating monsters.

    The NRA was a bipartisan organization until about Bill Clinton. The term “Jack booted thugs” to describe the ATF was said by John Dingle D MI back when guns were not a leftist issue.

    • #23
    • August 8, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):

    Stephen Richter (View Comment):
    have members of the NRA been complaining about the organizations finances and leadership? I would expect the NRA to be able to police itself in that contributions and membership will decline if leadership does not deliver pro gun results.

    In. Spades.

    The NRA’s membership has continued to rise in spite of its leadership, not because. Every time the Dems go for a gun grab, their membership climbs.

    Sadly this puts the leadership in a classic Baptists and Bootleggers situation – They know they get paid so long as the Dems keep trying to grab, and so take for granted that they have a steady paycheck.

    • #24
    • August 8, 2020, at 7:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    In one of my past lives I was an executive of a nonprofit organization with a $5M budget. We built a HQ and museum in northern Virginia, and we worked with regulatory agencies to protect our members’ rights, on a Federal and a local level. We did good, important work. Still, when I think back on some of the shenanigans that went on, the allegations about mismanagement at the NRA feel familiar.

    @kevincreighton you are spot on as to the necessity of maintaining the NRA. It urgently needs to be reformed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the dirty laundry got hauled out just before an election. That puts a spin on reform efforts that is going to make it a lot more difficult; things are so Manichean these days that any effort to change the NRA management is going to get accused of being on the side of the attackers.

    Personally, I think the NRA is essential, especially the instructor program. That doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy and disgusted with the way the organization is run. I got a whiff of trouble when Pete Brownell, whom I respect, left after just a year. That was when I looked into it and noticed all the rotten spots. I hope and pray, and if I get the chance I will work, to see that the good parts prevail and the rot is surgically removed.

    You know, a lot like the rest of the country.

    I would match the NRA and its financial shenanigans against the Red Cross any day.

    Yes! Good analogy there.

    • #25
    • August 8, 2020, at 7:59 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Ida Claire Member

    Here’s what I don’t understand, if this case is “strong” why is the AG suing the NRA, as opposed to indicting them? Is this usual?

    • #26
    • August 8, 2020, at 11:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Who is being hurt by ‘fraud and mismanagement’? The donors and members of NRA

    This is a civil matter not a criminal matter

    Another political baseless prosecution by corrupt state attorneys, in this case NY AG.

     

    • #27
    • August 9, 2020, at 1:08 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    In one of my past lives I was an executive of a nonprofit organization with a $5M budget. We built a HQ and museum in northern Virginia, and we worked with regulatory agencies to protect our members’ rights, on a Federal and a local level. We did good, important work. Still, when I think back on some of the shenanigans that went on, the allegations about mismanagement at the NRA feel familiar.

    @kevincreighton you are spot on as to the necessity of maintaining the NRA. It urgently needs to be reformed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the dirty laundry got hauled out just before an election. That puts a spin on reform efforts that is going to make it a lot more difficult; things are so Manichean these days that any effort to change the NRA management is going to get accused of being on the side of the attackers.

    Personally, I think the NRA is essential, especially the instructor program. That doesn’t mean I’m not unhappy and disgusted with the way the organization is run. I got a whiff of trouble when Pete Brownell, whom I respect, left after just a year. That was when I looked into it and noticed all the rotten spots. I hope and pray, and if I get the chance I will work, to see that the good parts prevail and the rot is surgically removed.

    You know, a lot like the rest of the country.

    drain the swamp?

     

    • #28
    • August 9, 2020, at 1:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    I am still wondering why anybody would accept what an AG says at their word. Have you folk learned nothing from the Russian hoax?

    This is not an either/or situation. It’s entirely possible for the NRA to be doing business fraudulently AND the NY AG to be using this lawsuit for political gain. The NRA’s dealings with Ackerman McQueen, its former ad agency, and the ongoing mess that was NRA Carry Guard tell me that some sunlight is needed inside the organization, and quickly. One can support the mission of the NRA and be 100% in favor of reforming the operation, and still think the AG is going way overboard here.

    term limits

     

    • #29
    • August 9, 2020, at 1:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Stad Thatcher

    Great post, Kevin.

    The NRA is the 600 pound gorilla when it comes to gun rights advocacy and 2nd Amendment protection. As such, it will always the biggest target and the left’s bogeyman for gun violence. Like you say, reform is the best option. If there is malfeasance at the top, deal with it.

    • #30
    • August 9, 2020, at 9:14 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.