I’ve been pleased with the direction the NRA has taken in the last decade. As an organization, they’re more protective of our rights than they were in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Before 1976, the NRA board was an exclusive club. And board members selected any new board members. The NRA revolt at Cincinnati in 1976 changed that. Board members could be selected by the membership. But those reforms have been eroded and the membership now has much less power than it had in 1980.

This year, there’s a separate ballot for the NRA bylaws, with 15 amendments. The proposed amendment package of the bylaws is an attempt to further weaken the power of the NRA membership. It’s effectively a coup designed to put all power of the organization in the hands of the board of directors. As with any group of part time board members, this means that a small group of insiders will have almost total control. They will decide who gets on the board and who does not.

The meat of the bylaw amendments is inside a rather lengthy total package. Some reasonable administrative changes are included, but you’re only allowed to vote yes or no on the entire proposal. The amendments would make it nearly impossible for the membership to nominate board members outside of the current power structure.

Currently, 250 signatures of voting members are necessary for a membership nomination. It’s difficult to obtain that many signatures, but not impossible. One of the problems with the suggested amendments is that it raises the number required to .5% of the votes cast in the previous election. Typically that would be around 500 or 750 signatures. Members with experience in the process know that this is a high hurdle unless the candidate is a national celebrity.

Item 12 takes away the possibility of a bylaw change at the annual meeting. Item 13 makes it virtually impossible for the membership to petition for a change, by requiring a petition to have the signatures of a staggering 5% of the number that voted in the last election. If such a Herculean feat were ever accomplished, item 14 allows the board to unilaterally undo the change.

Not all NRA members have voting rights. In order to vote in an NRA election, you have to be either a life member or have been a member for five consecutive years. Of all voting members, only about 5% voted in the 2015 elections, so your vote can have disproportionate weight.

Most voting members don’t know the people they’re voting for. As there are at least 25 slots to fill (26 in 2017), people tend to depend on the biographies printed in the NRA magazines to determine who to vote for. Prominent in the biographies: whether or not the candidate has been nominated or re-nominated by the nominating committee.

The NRA magazines are controlled by NRA management. That’s the nature of the beast. The NRA management also controls who is on the nominating committee. If you want to change the way the NRA does business, it’s unlikely that you will accomplish that by voting for the establishment candidates.

To be an effective NRA voter, don’t vote for 26 nominees. That’s what most voters do and it dilutes your vote. The candidates who receive the most votes win election to the board. If you know of only one candidate who you support, vote for that candidate. Just as importantly, do not vote for other candidates that you have little knowledge of.  That maximizes the impact of your vote.

Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition, has watched the NRA board closely for decades. I’ve always found his recommendations to be well thought out. He’s recommending votes for three nominees to the board. From Jeff:

For the Board of Directors election, I am recommending you vote only for the following 3 candidates, and no others: Sean Maloney, Adam Kraut, and Graham Hill. There are others on the ballot who are good, but they don’t need our help.

The recommendation on the package of bylaw amendments is simpler. Just vote no. The bylaw vote is a separate ballot, so you don’t have to vote for a board candidate to vote on the bylaw change. It’s easy to fill the circle by the word NO completely, put the ballot in the envelope, sign it and drop it in the mail.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

53 Responses to Weingarten: NRA Ballot Amendment Will Diminish Members’ Power

  1. Part of the reason that I decided against joining the NRA. Members don’t really have all that much of a say in what direction it takes. All they do is take your money and do whatever they want with it. If you live in strongly pro 2A state, there’s not much to accomplish that can realistically be done. If you live in an anti-gun state, you might as well just light your money on fire and pee on the ashes.

    • Verendus- Good insight. Here in Illinois NRA state lobbyist Todd Vandermyde put Duty to Inform IN the 2013 carry bill.

      The only people who opposed DTI in the debates were Chicago area Democratic Black Caucus legislators who feared racial profiling. Carry bill sponsor and NRA’s (good old) boy Brandon Phelps refused to take Duty to Inform OUT of his bill! There are traitors in the NRA house.

      Any gun owner who gives a dime to NRA has rocks in their head. Send your money to GOA and SAF instead. At least they try to win.

        • You’re consistent, I give you that. And I sometimes think demo man has some text in a cut-and-paste file.

          But every single post? I’m seriously curious, what’s your beef here?

        • No one- Most people think of Illinois as a Northern state that entered the Civil War on the Union side. Once you get south of Joliet, Illinois is mostly washed out little burgs like Chatsworth, the location of ISRA World Headquarters.

          IL state rifle association is the state tumor of NRA. ISRA HQ is Richard Pearson’s insurance office. When you call ISRA, Pearson’s secretaries answer with an “ISRA” greeting from the special Bat Phone. I am not making this up.

          Within and around all the little crummy towns and trailer parks south of Cook County, there still exists a remnant of inbred trailer dwellers who are stupid enough to believe that NRA is looking out for their best interests.

          Habitual consumption of moonshine and meth has degraded their brain function to the level of a plant. These manimals comprise the Todd Vandermyde cheering squad, which you see here.

      • Demo Man,
        I’ve seen you rant about this repeatedly on this site. Tomorrow I will be travelling through Illinois so I was refreshing my memory on the law. I found this on Handgunlaw.us:
        430 ILCS 66/10 (h) If an officer of a law enforcement agency initiates an investigative stop, including but not limited to a traffic stop, of a licensee or a non-resident carrying a concealed firearm under subsection (e) of Section 40 of this Act, upon the request of the officer the licensee or non-resident shall disclose to the officer that he or she is in possession of a concealed firearm under this Act, or present the license upon the request of the officer if he or she is a licensee or present upon the request of the officer evidence under paragraph (2) of subsection (e) of Section 40 of this Act that he or she is a non-resident qualified to carry under that subsection.

        Looks to me like there is not a duty to inform, only a duty to disclose if asked by a LEO.
        Full information is here: http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/illinois.pdf

        • Who’s an “officer?” Nothing in Illinois’ carry bill states that the “officer” who questions you has to be in uniform, on duty, or within the jurisdiction that employs them. How about if two guys walk up to you the minute you walk out your front door and demand to know if you are armed?

          Since John Gacy had a Cook County Sheriff’s badge, who’s to say that the “officer” in an unmarked car that disarms, abducts and rapes your mother is not a police impersonator/serial killer? Ted Bundy posed as a cop also.

          Every alleged violation of Illinois’ carry law is criminal, with penalties of SIX MONTHS or ONE YEAR in jail, so any cop you deal with always has the option to use deadly force to arrest you. Let us know how that works out when a police criminal splatters your brains like Philando Castile in Minnesota.

          Definitely send more of your money to Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA/ILA so they can pay lobbyists like Todd Vandermyde for this great “work.” Vote for the bylaw amendments, NRA knows what’s best for you.

    • Yeah, fortunately I had already voted no.

      I also voted for Adam Kraut. I even collected signatures for him. (I don’t know him, just watch him on the Gun Collective on youtube). He is extremely informed on the legal side of things and strongly supports getting rid of federal gun control like the NFA, GCA, and the Hughes Amendment.

  2. Explain how LEADERSHIP would/could stage a “coup”. No need to hyperventilate.

    Robert you throw article up. You call NRA for a clarifying statement?

  3. In most things, I’m a tempered man, on this matter its of no concern…they will never see, hold, or count my coin. If the board was on fire, I wouldn’t piss on them to save their lives. If they were in a gunfight, I’d load mags for the attackers. I absolutely hate (ejected mouth spittle) them…yes that’s how I really feel.

    • mk10108- My political contacts go from county boards to the White House and Congress. You haven’t been in politics if you haven’t been lied to and had promises broken.

      Watching NRA state lobbyist Todd Vandermyde place Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties IN Illinois’ 2013 concealed carry bill, and then watching Black Caucus Democrats trying to get DTI OUT, points to only one conclusion: treason.

      I’ve never seen anyone or anything so degraded that they would deliberately promote legalized murder. If Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham pay lobbyists like Todd Vandermyde, then the continued existence of NRA is a clear and present danger to the Constitution and the rule of law.

  4. Proud Patron member of the NRA and grateful to our 5 million+
    Members of whom have kept Washington Pro-Second Amendment! God Bless America.

    • … your talk of God and 5 million NRA members conjures images of Charlton Heston as NRA president saying “Let my people go !”

      • PDW- Long time NRA watchers know that the insider group deep sixed Neal Knox as president of NRA for Charlton Heston.

        This is probably the same inner core of unelected staff that is pushing the bylaw changes to make sure another Revolt in Cinncinnatti never happens again. Based on some of the naïve and childlike replies I’ve seen here, they might actually pull it off. I’m constantly amazed by the stupidity of the typical NRA member.

    • Pro2Aguy- “Proud Patron member of the NRA and grateful to our 5 million+
      Members of whom have kept Washington Pro-Second Amendment! God Bless America”

      NRA would go broke tomorrow if not for simplistic flag wavers like this. Anyone who looks at the record of NRA colluding with police unions to legalize police execution in state carry bills and still gives money to NRA must have rocks in their head.

      Question: what’s the average I.Q. of NRA members?
      Answer: average

    • That’s a very valid point you make.

      I’ve kicked a particular scenario around for a few years – What if Soros or a similar ultra-wealthy person wanted to destroy the NRA and do it with a billionaire’s fortune?

      5 million NRA members. A life membership costs 1,000.

      If Soros spent 6 billion dollars paying for 6 million life voting memberships, he could control the NRA, shut it flat down, and sell all assets, and then he could put the 6 billion he spent right back into his own pocket.

      Something like that would be very tempting for a wealthy Anti who hates the 2A.

      Not that it would do him any good, we’d just start another gun rights entity…

      • Geoff- “What if Soros or a similar ultra-wealthy person wanted to destroy the NRA and do it with a billionaire’s fortune?”

        If we could only be so lucky to see this come to pass. As corrupt as NRA is now, it might be an improvement.

        “…shut it flat down, and sell all assets…”

        I’d pay to watch NRA HQ be demolished.

        “…we’d just start another gun rights entity…”

        Most of the work is done by unpaid grassroots anyway. Grassroots people introduced Otis McDonald to Alan Gura, NRA had nothing to do with it.

  5. So, in the midst of a populist “revolt” against unaccountable “elites”, a membership organization decides it needs to make it’s elites more elite and less accountable to its membership. Who thought up this plan, Wile E Coyote?

    Dear NRA:
    Everybody with a policy preference has money. The coin of a populist realm is people — you know, the proles — marching, advocating, showing up at “town halls” and yes, even voting. They’ll do that way more the more they are part of deciding what’s to be done.

    Your power in politics isn’t the relatively thin dollars you wield, it’s the votes you can influence. (Have you been listening to any of the congresscritters describing your influence for decades? It ain’t about the Benjamins.) So, your plan it to distance operations further from the members so they will listen to you even less. Good plan. (Sheesh. Has nobody noticed? First there was an impossible Brexit, then the double-plus impossible election of Donald Trump to the presidency.0

    • Jim- “Who thought up this plan, Wile E Coyote?”

      Maybe it was thought up by the Ackerman McQueen advertising agency, or unelected staff like Chris Cox. Clearly NRA is not run by the elected board. No one here has been able to answer who is on the Legislative Policy committee, for instance.

      NRA is a white suburban country club stuck in 1962. The proposed bylaw changes are just dropping the mask. You don’t know the secret handshake, but they’ll continue to take money from anyone stupid enough to send it.

  6. NRA Board of Directors members Charles Cotton and Graham Hill discuss the proposed NRA ByLaws amendments and explain the need for them in this podcast:

    https://www.texasfirearmscoalition.com/index.php/podcasts/166-special-edition-episode-proposed-nra-bylaws-amendment

    The podcast is a good listen and it gives you good insight into the need for the NRA ByLaws amendments. I’m voting Yes for the amendments.

    Also, here is a link to a podcast where Charles Cotton interviews Graham Hill. Mr. Hill has an impressive background in supporting 2nd amendment rights and he is running for re-election to the NRA Board. Here is your chance to learn a little more about Mr. Hill.
    https://www.texasfirearmscoalition.com/index.php/podcasts/165-special-edition-episode-interview-with-graham-hill

    Charles Cotton is also running for re-election to the NRA Board of Directors. Through competitive shooting over the past 3+ years I’ve gotten to know Mr. Cotton and he is a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights. Over the decades, Mr. Cotton has been instrumental in getting many gun right laws passed in Texas.

    I’m voting for both Charles Cotton and Graham Hill for NRA Board of Directors.

    • “The podcast is a good listen and it gives you good insight into the need for the NRA ByLaws amendments.”

      For those without the time, could you give us a quick summary of the conversation, the main ‘bullet points’, so to speak?

      • Geoff- “…could you give us a quick summary of the conversation, the main ‘bullet points’, so to speak?”

        Yes, tell us how we should think. I wish to conform to the group.

        Judging by their legislative record over the past ten years, NRA is probably the worst enemy of gun owners in America, but I want to fund their efforts to undermine my rights in collusion with police unions. I don’t care to do my own research, that’s too time consuming.

        Unbelievable. Now I know why NRA can still pay the electric bill.

      • Discussion between Charles Cotton and Graham Hill about the proposed NRA bylaws amendments.
        https://www.texasfirearmscoalition.com/index.php/podcasts/166-special-edition-episode-proposed-nra-bylaws-amendment

        I have tried to summarize the conversation as best I could but you would be better off listening to the whole conversation.

        5:49 Two ways to get on the NRA ballot:
        1) Nominated by Election Committee

        6:45 2) By petition with a certain number of signatures from voting members.

        6:55 Change to number of signatures needed to be on the ballot.
        – Currently 250 signatures from life members.
        – Suggested change to 500.

        7:25 Explanation for new 500-signature number.

        7:50 Threshold that exposes who gets on the ballot from bad dealers.

        8:25 Bloomberg made public statement the only way to defeat the NRA is to destroy it from the inside by getting non-gun folks as members and on the Board of Directors.

        10:00 Requiring 500 signatures to get on the ballot is not a Bloomberg fence.

        10:25 Had to balance the number to allow good people to get on the ballot.

        10:40 First ever recall attempt and possible use by bad actors.

        11:50 Due process for a recall

        13:04 Directors are elected by voting NRA members, but only a few hundred signatures to recall, which would set aside the will of millions of members.

        14:00 Potential for misuse of recall. Someone could even try to recall all 75 Directors. Even if it fails it would cost the NRA millions.

        15:20 Voting members govern the association and it is under threat because of the nature of the Bylaws.

        15:30 Changes are being made with a common goal that a few hundred signatures should not overrule the voting members and the decisions they make.

        17:10 Due Process – minimal fairness and protections

        19:10 Current bylaws essentially did not allow the accused to defend them selves.

        20:00 Current bylaws did not have a standard for a recall accusation and it did not even require a good cause.

        22:15 Current bylaws have no real examination of facts and pretty much any accusation would go strait to recall.

        22:30 Not fair to have the vote of millions of NRA voting members disrupted by a relative handful of folks that start the process. Equally unfair to have members donations wasted on a frivolous accusations without some kind of review of the facts before it goes before the voting members.

        23:50 Cottons personal opinion: Potential problem that it is possible to have a proposed bylaw change made from the floor at an annual meeting. Bloomberg could buy 500 life memberships and they show up to the annual meeting and propose bylaw changes. No one took the time to look at the NRA bylaws, but now they have.

        27:20 We have to maintain control of the organization by its members.

    • Dan- “NRA Board of Directors members Charles Cotton and Graham Hill discuss the proposed NRA ByLaws amendments and explain the need for them in this podcast:”

      Translation: since these two guys are already on the board, I’m going to believe what they say. They care about me. Classic appeal to authority.

      “I’m voting Yes for the amendments.”

      Translation: Four out of five households in my neighborhood use Hoover vacuums, you should too. Be part of the group.

      “Mr. Hill has an impressive background in supporting 2nd amendment rights..”

      Such as what, exactly? NRA sold out Texas gun owners by supporting the requirement that open carriers must already have a CCL. That’s not freedom.

      “… and he is running for re-election to the NRA Board.”

      Translation: since he’s already been elected, he must be okay, so you can trust him and elect him again. I trust him, and you should too.

      “Here is your chance to learn a little more about Mr. Hill.”

      Translation: get to know him. He’s just a regular guy like you and me.

      “Through competitive shooting over the past 3+ years I’ve gotten to know Mr. Cotton and he is a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights.”

      How exactly is he a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights?

      “Over the decades, Mr. Cotton has been instrumental in getting many gun right laws passed in Texas.”

      Such as what laws, exactly?

      “I’m voting for both Charles Cotton and Graham Hill for NRA Board of Directors.”

      I trust them, and you should too. Be part of the group with us, and flush your member rights down the toilet forever. Unelected staff runs NRA, and they want to be in power permanently. Help us give you the shaft!

      When I read ridiculous nonsense like this, I have to wonder if the median education of NRA members could possibly be over G.E.D. level at best. I can’t wait until the brain dead baby boomers die off, along with the NRA. I’d pay to watch the wrecking ball take down NRA HQ into a pile of rubble and put the refuse into the dustbin of history where they belong.

      • Demo Man, I get the feeling that you don’t like any of the NRA Board of Directors nor do you like the NRA. If you are not happy with the NRA and are a voting member then please vote for the change you want.

        To answer your question about Charles Cotton, you can find out more about him here:
        https://www.texasfirearmscoalition.com/index.php/2017-nra-board-elections

        He lists his Second Amendments accomplishments as:
        – Consulted with Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate sponsors of Texas’ Concealed Handgun License (CHL) bills and related bills since1993 through 2017 Texas Legislative Session.

        – Testified in numerous public hearings in support of CHL, Castle Doctrine, Motorist Protection Act, Range Protection and other pro-gun legislation.

        – Played key role in drafting and passage of the Castle Doctrine Bill, Motorist Protection Act (a/k/a “car carry”) Bill, Emergency Powers Bill preventing governmental entities from confiscating firearms during times of emergency, Range Protection Bill, “Fines for Signs” Bill, “open-carry” Bill, “Campus-Carry” Bill, as well as other legislation.

        – Written all or part of most pro-gun bills passed in Texas since 1993.

        – Second Amendment advocate as interviewee on television, radio talk shows and newspaper articles both before and after passage of Texas CHL statute.
        Seminar speaker on Texas’ CHL statute and Texas firearms laws and state constitutional protections.

        – Founder of TexasCHLforum.com, Texas Firearms Coalition, and Texas Firearms Coalition Podcasts.

        Mr. Cotton lists other gun, shooting and hunting activities as:
        – Competitive shooter, hunter and gun collector.

        – NRA Certified Instructor: Texas LTC Instructor

        – Multiple Thunder Ranch graduate: Defensive Pistol, Team Tactics (multiple times), General Purpose Rifle, Urban Rifle, Precision Rifle.

        – Ardent supporter of juniors’ programs and Eddie Eagle Program.

        – Founder of Youth Action Pistol League (YAPL)

        • Dan- Ask your buddies on the board for the names of who is on the Legislative Policy Committee. Post it here and start with that. Let’s see if NRA can bring itself into 1992 or so.

    • “I’m not a member…”

      That makes at least one gun owner in America with some self respect. There is hope for the future.

  7. “Recommended Bylaw Changes” the picture above says it all. Recommended by who, exactly? The unelected staff? NRA is a bureaucracy plain and simple, and like government bureaucracies, the number one goal is to perpetuate its own existence.

    Here’s what NRA has done in Illinois:

    Didn’t put a dime into the state for about forty years, except for a few state Rep. races and such.

    Initially opposed Alan Gura’s McDonald v. Chicago lawsuit, then barged in at the last minute in 2010 by hiring former Solicitor General Paul Clement, later collecting $1.3 MILLION in legal fees from the city of Chicago.

    After the 7th Circuit U.S. Federal Appeals Court in Chicago totally overturned Illinois’ FIFTY YEAR ban on concealed weapons, NRA state lobbyist for Illinois Todd Vandermyde placed Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties in the “NRA backed” concealed carry bill in 2013. Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA/ILA did nothing to stop him.

    NRA lobbyist Vandermyde made Illinois’ law even deadlier for citizens in 2015 by placing gun seizure language at request of IL State Police.

    What a list of accomplishments! Selling out Otis McDonald and all the black people in Chicago, backstabbing Alan Gura, setting up armed citizens to be executed by police criminals like Philando Castile in Minnesota or abducted by police impersonators with Duty to Inform, and catering to anti-gun police unions!

    It really couldn’t get any worse. NRA, Inc. is a whorehouse filled with rats and scum that sell out the lives of their own membership. Let them die off with their aging members and do us all a favor.

  8. I’ve never voted for the full number possible; 22 was my max and that was my first time. I’ve voted for fewer and fewer as time goes by; only marked 11 last time as I recall.

    As for bylaws, I NEVER vote “Yes” for a bloc of changes. Any time someone strings a bunch of changes together in one bunch it tells me there’s something dishonest going on.

    Now, where’s my ballot….

    • Yeah, if they had given each amendment an individual vote, I would have voted for most of them. This is the first time I have been eligible to vote. I read through all the bios and amendments making notes and then get to the ballot and find the yes/no for all of them. I was upset by that.

      • TX- The game is not designed for you to win. The vast majority of NRA members are brain dead hicks who live in trailer parks. Like most “Americans” with a G.E.D. level of education, it’s about the cult of personality.

        Wayne LaPierre is the father figure they never had, and they desperately want to trust someone or anyone that can explain to them how the world works- the local Sheriff, the police chief, or the NRA. Even when NRA lobbyists promote police state murder in collusion with the anti-gun police unions.

        Clowntards like these are the reason NRA can pay the electric bill every month.

  9. The bylaw revision will pass with flying colors. Most NRA members will not read the proposal – just vote for it. Those that do read it will not comprehend, and then vote for it.

    As demonstrated above in several places, many are so oblivious they fail to even recognize a ballot when they see one.

    All in all, the proletariat are a bunch of fools. Most of them don’t grok the word “proletariat”, so their feelings won’t be harmed.

    Sorry folks, the truth hurts.

    • cd- “Most NRA members will not read the proposal…”

      Most NRA members cannot read, period. If the typical NRA member didn’t have the I.Q. of a house plant, NRA HQ would be burned to the ground tomorrow.

      Check out the comment from Mike B. above. No matter how many times NRA lobbyists collude with police unions to set up armed citizens to be executed by police criminals, the slaves struggle to justify the actions of their worst enemies.

      How can you respect people with no respect for themselves? Maybe the baby boomers and old farts that send money to NRA will die off soon, and NRA with them. We can hope.

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