Jeff Knox: Right or Wrong, Support the NRA!

Jeff Knox writes [via ammoland.com]

Many of us are angry with the NRA for the foolish statement put out by Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox in response to the atrocity in Las Vegas, and others are angry with me for publicly criticizing that foolish statement, and calling on the NRA Board of Directors to repudiate it. Strategy disagreements aside, NRA is the big dog of the gun rights fight. Without them we cannot win, and people who are not members have very little influence with the organization.

I began purchasing a Life Membership in NRA with my first check out of Army Basic Training back in 1978.  Even though my father was the Executive Director of NRA-ILA at the time, and even though I was only a couple of months too old to get in at the half-price, Junior rate, I got no discount or special pricing.  I’ve never regretted that decision, and I certainly don’t regret it now.

For most of the past century the NRA has suffered from leadership that was too often out of touch with the members. Originally the organization’s leaders were former military officers, including General Ulysses S. Grant. That tradition continued through most of NRA’s history.

NRA first president- Rhode Island Governor General Ambrose Burnside (courtesy legendsbeard.com)

NRA staff once wryly called the NRA Board the “Colonels’ Club.” [ED: NRA’s first President General Ambrose Burnside, above.] Retired military officers, and more recently, retired law enforcement chiefs filled key positions at the head table, and among paid staff. While military officers and career bureaucrats often have a good grasp on how things work in the nation’s capitol, they are also conditioned to follow orders from politicians and higher-ups within the Executive Branch.

That’s been an ongoing problem.

Many years ago, before the Annual Meeting became such a big deal, the meetings were always held in Washington, D.C. close to headquarters. It was not unusual for NRA members to turn the pilgrimage to the meeting into a family vacation, often taking the opportunity to do some sightseeing, and also to stop in and visit their congressional delegation.

This casual grassroots involvement became so popular among the members, that NRA leaders began hearing complaints from politicians about their active lobbying efforts. Distraught that their organization was being accused of trying to influence politicians, NRA leaders decided it would be better to hold the Annual Meeting of Members in locations other than the nation’s capitol.

So began the current tradition of moving the event around the country each year – and staying out of Washington.

Washington D.C.'s Firearms Control Act of 1975 (courtesy slideplayer.com)

By 1975 [ED: the year Washington, D.C. fell under the Firearms Control Act], NRA leaders were so determined to avoid being called “the gun lobby,” that they made plans to sell their Washington headquarters and move the offices to Colorado Springs. That plan was quashed by members at the Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1977, where an empowered membership exercised its authority under the law to direct their Association.

The assembled members provided new ways to govern the organization and put a new leadership team in place. Soon after that night, newly-elected Executive Vice President Harlon Carter told Neal Knox, one of the leaders of the revolt, that the losing side was already working to undo what was accomplished.  In the 40 years since, most of the reforms of Cincinnati have disappeared, and the legal openings that allowed the membership revolt have been nailed shut.

NRA Board of Directors 2015 (courtesy americas1stfreedom.org)

The current NRA leadership (2015 Board of Directors abve) now embraces the “gun lobby” label, but it does so because they are serving a market.  Today’s NRA does not exist primarily to defend the Second Amendment. It is primarily a fundraising operation that has found it can monetize defense of the Second Amendment. Paid NRA staff members take home million-dollar paychecks, and key vendors, notably its advertising and public relations firms, walk away with even more.

If you are angry with something NRA or its executives have done, withholding funds that you might have contributed is very reasonable, and can make a difference. But canceling, or choosing not to renew your membership, is self-defeating. We need you in the NRA.

We need your vote in NRA elections, and we need you to bolster the total membership numbers, to garner more influence with your elected politicians.  If you are an Annual Member, and let your membership lapse, that means you won’t be eligible to vote in NRA elections for another 5 years, unless you pony up for a Life Membership. Realistically, $40 a year is not much, especially considering the potential return on that investment.

If you want to influence the NRA’s actions, but want to minimize how much of your money goes into the pockets of NRA executives and vendors, the best deal is to purchase a discounted Life Membership at an NRA Annual Meeting. It’s not uncommon for them to offer Life Member packages with added perks at well below half-price at the Annual Meeting. You can sign up for a payment plan, and once you have your Life Membership, you don’t have to ever give the NRA another dime, but you have a voice for life.

You can also give directly to the NRA-ILA which operates separate from NRAHQ and their Advertising and Marketing Division. All money going to NRA-ILA is use for political efforts.

The Annual Meeting and Exhibits will be held next year in Dallas, and the following year it is scheduled to be in Indianapolis, then Nashville, then Houston. Start planning now to attend the one closest to you, and start putting a couple of bucks a day in a jar so you’ll have the cash to become a permanent NRA Voting Member.

The only way we’ll ever get NRA on the right track – and keep it there – is by having a strong majority of dedicated rights supporters willing and able to vote in NRA elections, so we can get the best possible candidates elected as directors, and the best people leading the staff.

NRA absolutely has some serious flaws, and gun owners are facing some very serious challenges, but the answer is not to abandon our most powerful asset.  Instead we must take control and steer it in the right direction.  We can only do that from the inside, as card-carrying members.

Friends of the NRA (courtesy friendsofnra.org:)

There are few people in the world with a more thorough knowledge of the NRA and its shortcomings than we Knoxes. We’ve certainly had our issues with NRA leadership, and we’ve never been shy about confronting those disagreements when and where appropriate, but there are also few who have worked as hard as we have to build up the organization and move it toward a principled defense of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

That’s why we urge all gun owners to join the NRA, renew your membership, and if you can, upgrade to Life Membership, then get active and involved in NRA politics.  Elect directors who will stand up to the tests and move the organization forward, then lobby those directors to keep the staff in line and working for all of our rights.

Our friends over at the Gun Collective news site have developed a tool for NRA members to reach out to their directors.  Just go to www.theguncollective.com/nra and enter your member information to send messages to your NRA Board of Directors.  We’ve been asking the NRA to create a service like this for at least 10 years, and finally it’s being offered, not by NRA, but by a group of independent members. Take advantage of it. Stay in the fight, and lobby your elected NRA representatives, just as you would lobby Congress.

Your rights are under fire. Now more than ever, you need to be a member of the NRA.


About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

comments

  1. avatar GunzGunzGunz says:

    I support the NRA, but there’s no way Honey Boo Boos mom looks hot now, not matter what that article says.

  2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    I am a member, but I sent the donation that was going to NRA when the SHARE act or National Reciprocity passed to GOA after the bump stock pronouncement by Lapierre and Cox.

    1. avatar Kevin says:

      Same here GOA and NAGR. got the money.

      1. avatar jonhaul says:

        Don’t donate to NAGR they’re a scam!

    2. avatar Mike Reagan says:

      Me, too.

  3. avatar S says:

    Sure, some time after they stop sending their board to speak at CPAC. Until then, not a dime.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      What’s wrong with CPAC?

      1. avatar S says:

        Virtually everything. I’m not a conservative, and I will never give money to anyone who shares the stage with the Heritage Foundation or Focus on the Family. Never, never, ever. I’m all for gun rights, but until they divorce themselves from hate groups like that, never will the NRA see my financial support. There are plenty of other groups I can support instead who are more deserving.

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          “I’m not a conservative”

          Got it, you do you.

        2. avatar henry bowman says:

          “Hate Group”=Group that you do not like/Is a worth while group doing things you dislike.

        3. avatar John Haley says:

          While I am glad to have you with us, as we need all the help we can get and only fools expect agreement from their friends/allies on all points, designating Heritage or pro-family groups as “hate groups” is beyond curious.

          Disagreement, yes, quite possible. But the only hate or violence I see comes from the left, from people who talk hate rather than engage in debate.

          Still, let’s celebrate the areas where we agree!

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    No. Blindly supporting people is how we got into this mess. Fix your shit.

    1. avatar paul r says:

      “fix your shit” Not sure what this means. Also, not sure what Knox wants the NRA to be but from where I sit, they have been doing a good job nationwide. Aside from the bump stock debacle that is but hey, everyone slips from time to time.

      1. avatar Smitty says:

        Bullcrap, your memory is short. This is the same NRA that was willing to limit both the 2nd and 6th Ammendment rights of Americans… Remember, they supported no-fly, no-buy after the Orlando nightclub killings:

        http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/06/johannes-paulsen/nra-endorses-no-fly-no-buy-gun-sales-delay/

      2. avatar Kevin says:

        It means fire the idiots that stepped in the crap. That means Wayne LaPierre.

    2. avatar KURT Robert INGALLS says:

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    3. avatar Deerfield says:

      Agree 100%. Until it’s fixed (ain’t holding my breath), my money and my support go to GOA.

  5. avatar PROUD chicano says:

    I will NEVER join the KKK I mean NRA. Better pick another wagon to hitch your wagon to because this one is obsolete.

    1. avatar Excedrine says:

      Even though the NRA actually armed and trained folks like CORE and the Deacons for Defense and Justice against the KKK. Try reading Charles E. Cobb Jr.’s book “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible.”

      Irony. You just don’t fucking do it.

      Or truth, either, for that matter.

    2. avatar W says:

      If you don’t like the KKK, then don’t support Democrats.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        The Democrats have been the political wing of the KKK since their inception. They only softened their stance to the poor and minorities when incidents during the civil rights era were blatently embarrassing. But, old habits do die hard. You should hear what the DNC, and Saint Hillary in particular, say about their voting base when they think the microphones are turned off. They unleash vile racial invectives that would make a Slave Overseer blush.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Not related directly to guns, but I was told by an anonymous source that all, all the racist Demoncrats joined the Republicans at the beginning of the Reagan presidency. Since that time, not Demoncrat remains who is racist, because Demoncrats believe all the races are equal in every respect.

        2. avatar Joe R. says:

          [if true] That was told to you by a lying, POS (D). The longest seated U.S. Senator Bird, was a grand klegal of the KKK.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “[if true] That was told to you by a lying, POS (D). The longest seated U.S. Senator Bird, was a grand klegal of the KKK.”

          If you are talking about my anonymous source who believes all the racists in the Demoncrat party fled to the Republicans, that story is absolutely true. And the individual gets really agitated that anyone would believe the D party still harbors racist people. He/she also believes the Emancipation Proclamation actually freed slaves in what was then “the South”. He/she said it is part of US history that all the salves in the South then fled to the Northern states, leaving only a few hundred slaves locked ball and chain to their plows. He is convinced that all the descendants of former slaves returned to the South when it was safe, but over time, Republicans restored slave conditions and blamed it on Demoncrats. Claims this is what she/he was taught in high school and college. He/she also refuses to believe there were segregated units fighting in WW2 because Roosevelt was a Demoncrat, and would not have tolerated that. Long, long story. She/he admitted that Byrd was once racist, but got mad about the KKK being part of the Republican Party, and joined the Demoncrats when he was still young.

          It is hard to keep from laughing while writing this, but these people actually walk among us. The source is otherwise a dear soul, and tries to do well by everyone. Volunteers often in Costa Rica (where racism does not exist), and a local shelter near home.

        4. avatar Drake_Burrwood says:

          I heard that actually what happened was since those Politicians faught on the wrong Civil War when the refugees from the war went North after it they were hired go to those big cities flooded with refugees.
          . . And help take care of them.

          You can still see the results of their policy decisions in the crime rate and racial death numbers.

      2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        And you know something, Proud c-bot? The NRA would never join YOU!

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      I couldn’t help but notice that your handle is PROUD chicano, not PROUD American. That tells me all I need to know about you.

      1. avatar PROUD chicano says:

        Your name is another way to say vomit so that sums you up nicely.

  6. avatar cogline says:

    I am a life member, but until the badly needed changes can be made my donation budget goes to GOA.

    1. avatar paul r says:

      Like?

      1. avatar The Punisher says:

        Like…not endorsing or offering any opinions that restrict the 2A or freedoms in general in any way?

        But, since reading the article one can obviously grasp that the NRA is made up and controlled by people that are deeply tied to politics does anyone wonder why the NRA does what it does?

        I sure don’t.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Meh…I’m a member BUT if they’re dead wrong I won’t support the NRA. I’m ambivalent about the jingoistic flagwaving and “support the blue” thing they’re pushing(got American Rifleman today). Since my membership is free(thanks Taurus)I take it all with a grain of salt. Get rid of old Wayne is a good start…

    1. avatar TruthTellers says:

      Yeah, the NRA has made it plain and clear they will support cops over law abiding CCW holders every time no matter what the circumstances. The NRA supports the Stasi civilian repression force that will also be used to confiscate bump stocks should DiFi’s bill become law and if the NRA walks in lock step with them and won’t stand up for us when cops are shooting us with their trigger happy fingers, then there’s no reason to give money to the NRA.

  8. avatar CZJay says:

    Ron Paul worked within the system to change it. The result: Obama then Trump.

    To put it simply, the system is too entrenched to work from the inside to fix it. You have to tear it down or trigger it to fall apart. There isn’t enough people to turn the ship around.

    1. avatar Doc Samson says:

      ^ This! If nothing else, the Trump presidency has brought out everyone’s true colors and we can see who truly stands behind their words. I am done supporting politicians/agencies/organizations that “kind of” support the 2nd Amendment. Telling those of us who see this issue in black and white that we are part of the problem is how we ended up here in the first place, i.e. through compromise after compromise after compromise. Bottom line is that I, and millions (at least I hope!) of others, are willing to go through a quick collapse rather than this slow boil…

      1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

        Agree. Refresh that Tree of Liberty. And I don’t give a rats patootie if doing that causes a SHTF event. I am ready and have enough resources socked away to last the rest of my lifetime.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          This is not a trick question, or intended insult, but you seem cocked and locked. What is the red line? What is the incident that launches refreshment.

    2. avatar TruthTellers says:

      Right on. The Swamp and these lobby organizations all share the same humid, diseased climate and you can’t expect that climate to change by those who aren’t PC politicians who won’t take a stand for anything or won’t risk their money or power.

      LaPierre and the cucks that run the NRA have to go. People like Eric Trump who don’t rely on being a lobbyist for their livelihood are the ones who should be running the NRA.

    3. avatar The Punisher says:

      Bingo.

      Play by the house rules and house always wins.

      Peaceful secession is the way to go. If the fedgov and/or stategovs come back with armed response…well then there’s your answer to how they really feel about you…

      I already know the answer and I would bet most people that comment on this site do too…but most have their head in the sand and their fingers in their ears chanting “lalalalalalalalalalalalalala”.

  9. avatar Ed says:

    I refuse to support any orginization that supports background checks, permits for a RIGHT and bans or regulations on ANY firearm. PERIOD. Anything less is unpatriotic.

  10. avatar Sam I Am says:

    I just failed to really “get” this posting. Knox tells us that all the avenues for the membership to control the directors were nailed shut, but somehow continuing to pay dues and attend meetings will one day leas to better people being elected to a closed system.

    As known, I am not a fan of shouting, “Shall not be infringed” as a means to prosper the fight to secure and maintain our second amendment rights. But until groups like the NRA come closer to, “Shall not be infringed”, I keep my wallet closed.

    1. avatar Ziggo says:

      Exactly this. These NRA apologists are a hoot, and if they want to keep donating, knock yourself out. But the NRA won’t get an extra dime from me unless they clean up their act. If the NRA wants to negotiate or compromise, then can start with the NFA. I’ll wait.

  11. avatar billy-bob says:

    NRA, uber alles, NRA uber alles!

    (aopologies to the DKs)

  12. avatar Nanashi says:

    Are any potential board members running on termination of LaPierre’s position after his support of NFA and Hughes, revealing his lack of action 1986 onwards was an intentional dereliction of duty?

    If not, I don’t really see what voting membership is going to do.

  13. avatar Hermos Libertate says:

    What happens if we suddenly got all our gun rights back? The “need” for the NRA would go away. They don’t want that. Ever.

    Which is why they’d rather “compromise” instead of help reclaim that which is all of ours by birthright.

    They make too much money by fear-mongering, capitulating our rights one day so they can fund-raise to “get them back” the next.

    I’m sick of it. You’re time is over NRA. You lack the Constitution (sic/pun-intended) to do the job.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “What happens if we suddenly got all our gun rights back? The “need” for the NRA would go away.”

      Nonsense. First of all, if we suddenly got all out gun rights back, we’d have to fight like hell to keep them — or do you think that the Democrats are suddenly going to wave the white flag?

      Second, the premise is so absurd and preposterous that you might as well ask what happens if all of us suddenly hit the Powerball jackpot.

  14. avatar Jeff Hunt says:

    The only thing the NRA is good for is making money for itself.

    1. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

      And trying to bribe you with crappy bags, hats and crummy pens. Made in China!

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    They are no-bigger a + than – .

    When an organization puts itself out there as your stone wall, your last best hope, then goes used-condom-firm on you, you throw it out. IT IS DANGEROUS TO HAVE A WET SHIT AGENCY AS YOUR SELF-APPOINTED PROTECTOR.

    It don’t matter how old it is, or its ‘grand history’. THIS IS BASEBALL, MF’S. YOU CAN TOUT THEIR ‘CAREER AVERAGE’ WHEN THEY’RE GONE. RIGHT NOW IT’S “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY”.

    The nra should be able to understand that policy. It’s how they run their fundraising.

  16. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

    NOPE!!
    Maybe when the seven figure income rats, LaPierre and Cox retire. For now, my hard earned monies go to Gun Owners of America, Firearms Policy Coalition and last but not least, Second Amendment Foundation. All do and achive far more good than the corrupt NRA. I advise all real supporters of Freedom and Liberty to do the same. Please.

  17. avatar HP says:

    I am a member of both the NRA and GOA. Last year, GOA sent out one of their “action alerts”, and I can’t remember what it was regarding, but in the middle of the email, GOA bluntly stated one of the things that you should do is “contact the NRA” and urge them to pursue a certain course of action. My point? People claim they only support GOA, and that’s fine, but those people should remember that when stuff needs to get done, even GOA looks to the NRA to do it. Guess what the NRA needs to get things done? Support. So if you don’t like the idea of a donation helping to line the pockets of the NRA board, make a donation to the NRA-ILA, the Institute for Legislative Action, which is the NRA’s lobbying arm. That money has to be used for lobbying. Do it today. GOA and the rest of us gun owners need you to support the NRA.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Maybe, when the big dog is gone, we will find out who is all hat, and no cattle.

      1. avatar HP says:

        This reply is in no way meant to attack you. You come to a blog like this, and it seems like everyone hates the NRA. But if everyone did, why doesn’t GOA have like 15 million members? I don’t think the big dog is going anywhere. Unless millions of gun owners member up in a different organization. But that would require spending money. Lots of people are cheap, and won’t. Even fewer people will actually become involved. Seems the easiest thing do is to be angry on the internet and type “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” in all caps to show everyone how serious you are. That also does absolutely no good. Nada. Zip. Zero. But I digress.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Consider this: continuing to support (funds) an organization that says one thing to get your support, then does the reverse (or worse), what would you call someone who continued to try to kick the football? What would you call a group who finally got tired of the swindle, and said, “Enough is enough; represent us, or get lost”?

          How ’bout Republican establishment, and the Tea Party? The similarities are blatant.

          Let us follow your reasoning (or at least what I conclude is your reasoning). Because no other “pro gun” group has X number of members, and because those X number of members provide all the money to do the work of the “pro gun” group, it is unwise to drop support of “the big” dog because no one can replace it.

          Well, maybe if “the big dog” is put out of business by those X number of members, their funds and numbers would be available for the next “big dog” in line. Just because the “big dog” sucks all the air out of the room doesn’t mean there will be no air if the “big dog” is replaced.

          If your employee continues to fail to do the job you set before them, how long do you keep them on the payroll? Why?

          Why fight the effort to run the old, fat, lazy, crippled “big dog” out of town?

  18. avatar Adam says:

    Screw the NRA, I foolishly donated money right after the Las Vegas shooting because I knew they would need it to stop the oncoming gun control. Then they go and use my money to say they support a bumpfire stock ban. Needless to say, I was infuriated.

    As of late, the NRA has been a massive letdown, so I will now be spending my money at organizations that specifically represent my views and goals, such as The Second Amendment Foundation and Gun Owners of America.

  19. avatar Joe R. says:

    IF the NRA hasn’t “handled” it already, and there needed to be unicycle-back-peddling, required just because some ahole (with nothing to do with us) shot up some people in LV. Then it’s TOO FVCKING LATE, and it’s PAST THE POINT THAT THE 2ND AMENDMENT SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN EXERCISED TO IMPLEMENT THE 2ND PARAGRAPH OF THE DECLARTION OF INDEPENDENCE. AND IT’S THE WET SH1T NRA

    T H A T _ T R I C K E D _ U S _ I N T O _ W A I T I N G _ T H I S _ L O N G

    DECIDE WHICH.

    I’ll give you a moment.

  20. avatar Parnell says:

    I’m a member, but quite frankly, only because my gun club requires it. What I find funny is that at every member meeting there are complaints about the lack of support we get from the NRA. Stuck here in New Jersey I would appreciate NRA support when the NJ Second Amendment Society and the Gun Club Association fight the state on the ludicrous anti-gun bills proposed in our legislature. NRA-ILA does little to help us but is constantly looking for money.

  21. avatar Family of Founders of America 36 Generations!! says:

    Instead of bitching go out and form a BETTER #PRO2a organization with 5 million+ members and the clout and power of the NRA and I will Gladly join along with many more #2a peeps!

    Until u do….. cry be a fing river and go back 2 ur moms basement with ur blankee and coloring books!

    Get off ur ass!

  22. avatar #2Arally2017 says:

    How many people have a #2Arally2017 capitol rally in their state or is making it happen on Nov 5th?????

    Its about people and grass roots…don’t wait 4 someone else to do it 4 u….stand up to be counted like a free citizen not a subject bowing to a king!

    https://www.facebook.com/2A-Capitol-Rally-1414981381948986/?__fns&hash=Ac0Jl7Xo0fFO0lez

  23. avatar Drake_Burrwood says:

    Will I continue to give to the NRA, NRA-ILA.. of course how can i, if I don’t agree with a bumpstock ban.
    . . Because they know if we have our way it won’t happen.
    How many times are they told how extreme they are and roll their eyes. And say “you think so wait for the letters.”
    They needed us to react just as outraged as we did at the statement.
    The NRA-ILA and NRA-PVF are simply the first line of defense and the know it.

    Now all you have to do is remember that yourself.

  24. avatar ADM says:

    I’ve often considered NRA membership, but they keep pulling stunts that make me glad I kept my money. My dues go to the SAF.

    1. avatar JW says:

      I have a discounted NRA life membership, vote in the elections – and send my annual gun rights donation to SAF. Tactical is a concept better applied to politics than gun accessories. 🙂

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