Wayne LaPierre
National Rifle Association executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre (AP Photo/Mark Wilson)
Previous Post
Next Post

Recordings of a 1999 conference call that included members of the National Rifle Association’s leadership have been leaked. The call took place in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shooting as NRA leadership struggled to formulate a public response.

NPR reporter Tim Mak got his hands on 2.5 hours of recordings and has made some of the details public. The contents of the tapes reveal what Marion Hammer and Wayne LaPierre thought of their fellow NRA members at the time and how they feared being embarrassed by the membership.

Mak has released selected clips of the recorded conversations. When the group considered cancelling the upcoming NRA convention that year, Marion Hammer had this to say . . .

“If you pull down the exhibit hall, that’s not going to leave anything for the media except the members meeting, and you’re going to have the wackos … with all kinds of crazy resolutions, with all kinds of, of dressing like a bunch of hillbillies and idiots. And, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna be the worst thing you can imagine.”

Mak shows his receipts as part of an NPR hit piece on America’s oldest civil rights organization. He’s clearly doing his best to undermine NRA with a 22-year-old recording. Listening to Marion Hammer disparage many of the NRA’s members as hillbillies and wackos won’t please many of association’s members.

From NPR . . .

The tapes of the NRA discussions were recorded secretly by a participant and shared on the condition that the participant’s name not be divulged. NPR has taken steps to verify the tapes’ authenticity, including by confirming the identities of those speaking on the tapes with two sources and comparing the voices on the calls with publicly available audio.

Obviously plenty of people, both within the NRA and outside, don’t care for Wayne LaPierre’s continued leadership. Or the continued involvement of his longtime crony, former NRA president Marion Hammer. So the list of possible leakers is a lengthy one.

“Everything we do here has a downside,” NRA official Kayne Robinson says on the tapes. “Don’t anybody kid yourself about this great macho thing of going down there and showing our chest and showing how damn tough we are. … We are in deep s*** on this deal. … And so anything we do here is going to be a matter of trying to decide the best of a whole bunch of very, very bad choices.” …

In addition to mapping out their national strategy, NRA leaders can also be heard describing the organization’s more activist members in surprisingly harsh terms, deriding them as “hillbillies” and “fruitcakes” who might go off script after Columbine and embarrass them.

And they dismiss conservative politicians and gun industry representatives as largely inconsequential players, saying they will do whatever the NRA proposes. Members of Congress, one participant says, have asked the NRA to “secretly provide them with talking points.”

The NPR piece includes a couple of other clips. Former NRA lobbyist Jim Baker sounds the most savvy with his remarks on handling the hostile publicity from the mainstream media.

Not all of the NRA officials sounded as wise as Jim Baker. For instance, Kayne Robinson, then the NRA’s first vice president, suggested creating a victims’ fund for those killed or injured at Columbine.

“Is there something concrete that we can offer? Not because guns are responsible, but because we care about these people? Is there anything? Does that look crass or…”

If it didn’t sound crass then, it certainly does now.

Clearly, NPR posting these decades-old internal deliberations is intended further to undermine an already wounded NRA. At the same time, the recordings speak volumes how the NRA’s leadership views many of the association’s own members.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Well, they’re not wrong. But just because some of don’t speak the Kings English, have the ideal body or sublime fashion sense, doesn’t mean we are stupid or that our concerns are invalid. I understand that optics sometimes matters. An individual organizations board members and decision makers ability to speak candidly is important. I don’t begrudge them in their assertions and concerns at that time.

  2. “Gosh darn it Ma! Dem NRA’s aint gonna get us when I get all dressed up in my fightin cloths and my fancy sunday go ta meetin ammo vest with dat plate carry thing. Tie my beard up for me so its not a scrapn da floor”

  3. It’s like ANYTHING else that resides in D.C. too long, turns to s&&t!! What once was an honorable idealistic supporter of the second has turned into one more phony PAC! Pay attention GOA!

  4. Translation: “I’m worried that these hillbillies and idiots are going to do something to compromise my gravy train. They must be stopped.”

    • Anyone shocked or surprised? Didn’t think so. Glad I never paid a dime to Negotiating Rights Away. Thanks to Taurus free memberships. Ex member since June 2020…

  5. It’s 2021. If you don’t take being called a redneck or a hillbilly as a compliment, then catch a bath, shave your beard, and enjoy your tapas brunch with bottomless mimosas, cause you’re spineless. In other news, NRA actually stands for Negotiating Rights Away. There are far more reputable pro 2A organizations such as GOA and FPC that actually mean business when it comes to defending our right to keep and bear. If anything, my preferred jab at NRA members isn’t that they’re hillbillies… I like hillbillies. It’s that they’re FUDDS and RINOS and NOT true advocates of the 2A. Dear NRA members in 2021, your little circle jerking boys club sucks. Grow up, put your big boy overalls on, and join an organization that actually fights the anti gunners head on without compromise.

    • I have to maintain a membership to be a member at my gun club. I’ve brought this up at a meeting and the reponse was “we get an insurance discount.” Sucks, but I always find a way to pay as little as possible (“25% off if you sign up for 5 years” or other such)

      • When I was treasurer of our club and did some shopping I found out that the NRA insurance was overpriced and specifically excluded several of our most important events such as the junior club and Women on Target. We were putting them on essentially what civil defense attorneys call “bareback” — no insurance coverage for those events. The clinics we held were also not covered under the NRA policy. Unfortunately some of the jail house lawyers who always seemed to know the law without reading it shouted me down and the club renew again for a higher premium with S H _ _ _Y coverage.

        So much for NRA insurance. Tell your secretary to shop your club insurance six months before the policy lapses because it takes that long to find appropriate coverage for hour club’s activities. Do members bring alcoholic beverages to drink on the range after a rigorous day of shooting? That’s mot covered by the most insurance policies and certainly not the NRA policy. Do you provide training sessions? Instructing is specifically excluded in the NRA policy. This despite the fact that the NRA sponsors and puts on Women on Target. When I asked the NRA insurance rep if that event was covered I got a flat “NO”. Did the NRA privide liability coverage for the event? The NRA rep for WOT said “NO”.

        If your club sponsors a WOT event, and you have NRA coverage, better keep your fingers crossed that nothing happens.

  6. The key word from the article is compromise. The NRA does it all the time so long as the cash keeps flowing in to support Wayne’s fancy-pants lifestyle. Dump these prissy fudds and join the GOA.

    I expect the excuse patrol to defend them as usual.

      • I’m in on SAF. I see nothing but wins there and it’s never ending lawfare season. Hint, if you still stomach Amazon smile, select them as the charity.

        • GOA has their charitable foundation, GOF, and FPC has FPF. Also an option at Amazon Smile!
          (It gives me a warm fuzzy that Jeff Bezos has to pay out to 2A groups)

        • My regular UPS and FedEx delivery guys refer to the “Amazon smile” as the “P.P.P.” short for the Peyronie’s Penis Pricks…..

  7. Well damn it I feel left out. he didn’t even mention us Southern Redneck gun owners.
    I am disappointed in the NRA. ROFL.

    • @Country Boy

      “Well damn it I feel left out. he didn’t even mention us Southern Redneck gun owners.”

      he did mention them, he said “idiots”.


  8. 1999 and today you want me to hold a grudge? Not happening. Today there are bigger fish to fry in the NRA. On the other hand…One can only imagine what NPR calls Gun Owners. And where is NPR when it comes to apologizing for their beloved racist and nazi based Gun Control agenda? Nowhere. They just double down.

    • “And where is NPR when it comes to apologizing for their beloved racist and nazi based Gun Control agenda?”

      npr is communist. your projection just led you over a cliff.

      • The 1968 Gun Control Act was taken verbatim from Nazi Germany’s 1938 gun control law, but translated into English. Technically, Debbie is right. But the USSR had gun control too, so take your pick, either way gun control is totalitarian and serves to give tyrants unlimited power!

        PS: Communists aren’t people. They’re property of the collective.

  9. None of these organizations are perfect, including the NRA and GOA. The NRA needs to revert to what they were originally created for and that’s training. They can support other organizations that are better at litigation and politics such as the FPC, CCRKBA, GOA, and the NAGR. Doing so will free the NRA up to focus on military, LEO, and shooting organization training. Re-establishing high school shooting teams would be phenomenal. Once each organization is as good as the other in what they specialize in they will be far more formidable for the Brady bunch and the other anti-gun and communist organizations to go up against.

    • Don’t forget that the NRA is behind the NYSRPA v. Bruen lawsuit argued last week. NYSRPA is the NY affiliate of the NRA. The NRA has something like 20+ lawsuits pending around the country right now. If they would spin off that branch I would join it. But as long as LaPierre is in charge it is no dice.

      • Long-time NRA Board member Tom King is President of NYSRPA.

        It seems ignorant to me to not even spend the $35 to join NRA in support of all those lawsuits you mentioned, but after years of being educated in American public schools, we see a lot of “throwing the baby out with the washwater”.

        FWIW- it also needs to be mentioned here once again that the vast majority of members of GOA, SAF, possibly NAGR and other national firearms advocacy organizations are likely also NRA members.

    • “The NRA needs to revert to what they were originally created for and that’s training.”

      That has, for all practical purposes, the primary mission of NRA, that and safety. And that’s primarily where the dues money is spent.

      The arm of NRA that deals with legislation, lobbying, electing pro-2A candidates to office, etc. is NRA ILA, a seperate arm that raises funds through a seperate conduit.

      As for the “leaked call”- has anyone explained or verified just what NRA “meeting of the minds” it may have been? Was it the Executive Committee, for example?

      Around here, I have to believe that most participants have been in tons of “locker room sessions” and any and all of us, were we being recorded without our knowledge or permission, and speaking in plain and blunt English to get to the crux of the matter ASAP, would likely sound at least as bad as anyone on the leaked recording.

      Cut the pious crap, folks. If you hate NRA, you hate NRA, just admit it. Don’t act like something like this from 22 years ago is making a difference… And don’t act like you’ve never said far worse in private, and sometimes public conversations with friends, relatives and colleagues.

      • Some of us govern our tongues and our thoughts, so no, I don’t speak ill of those associated with me. I got into guns in 2012, and I had a positive opinion of the NRA right up until their financial misadventures started coming to light. The more I learned about the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, their financial practices, the internal politicking and their patented “negotiating rights away” tactics (including the fact that they tried to scuttle Heller) the more disillusioned I became with the organization. My membership lapsed in 2018 and I have no intention of renewing it. No longer fit for purpose, fund other gun organizations instead.

        These tapes just show that the rot has long been deep in the organization. Does it make a difference? Not really. Those inclined to throw their money away will keep funding the NRA, those of us who recognize a failing corrupt organization will continue to warn people away from contributing to Wayne’s slush fund.

  10. May I please offer that hillbillies and rednecks are substantially different critters. I am a hillbilly from Okolona, Kentucky. There are many differences. An example would be that the hillbilly’s rotting, rusted, non-working car in their overgrown, weed infested front yard is on cinder blocks. The redneck’s car has no cinder blocks and is melding into the ground. That’s just one point and there are hundreds of others. Contributors such as Possum to add to this.

    • Didn’t figure there were any hillbillies left in okolona, Ky since I left in ‘91. Sorry we left you behind enemy lines in Jefferson County but try to get by the best you can. Your well armed brothers and sisters ain’t more than a couple days hike south of you and your type are always welcome.

      • I appreciate ya’. I moved to Georgia years ago. Georgia has a fine crowd of rednecks and hillbillies whom I hang out with. Cooter, did you go to high school in Jefferson County. I went to Southern.

        • No I didn’t go to Southern. Lot of good memories there though, my mom taught swimming at the pool every summer when I was a kid. Lived around laukhauf, used to cut through 2 farms, play in the sinkhole trash pits and climb a barb wire fence to get to school. I don’t know whether we were allowed to by county ordinance then or not but we hunted rabbits with .22. There was still a couple little 10-20 acre farms back then.

          I moved 12 miles outside of etown where a man can still be close to things but there’s enough room to breath without sharing air with leftist commies and I can blast away with a rifle at tannerite with neighbors likely to watch on 4 wheelers instead of tattling to the police to come investigate me.

    • I was told another difference is hillbillies fck their sisters and rednecks beat theirs up?
      That and
      Hillbillies swallow their chew, rednecks spit it on the floor.
      And damn it Dave in PTC,
      my AstroVans blocks sunk in the mud and is sitting on the axles now, rats chewed up all the wires, to much trouble fixing it, now instead of being a rolling tool box it’s just a storage shed.
      Oh and on that, I did find out if you open the hood and prop it up about beer can height the rats wont get in the motor.

  11. Are they trying to drive American gun owners away from a largely controlled opposition group to join rabidly pro second amendment groups that have started and finished multiple lawsuits and pushed more gun friendly politicians?

  12. Burn down the House of NRA. Start over with a new charter, new rules. My Life membership barely qualifies as ass wipe these days.

    • NRA is what you make of it… If you’re that all fired up, go run for NRA Board or find another way to remake it in the image YOU think it should be. The potshots here aren’t finding their mark, nor helping anything.


      • seems like that has been tried…mre than once…yet Wayne and his cronies are still there…a bit like a third world dictator…

        • Exactly like a 3rd world dictator really. The NRA board is massive and consists of Wayne’s handpicked cronies. Membership has tried on several occasions to get new board members elected to try and fix the organization and failed dismally. Wayne has engaged in several purges to get rid of those who presented a threat to his little kingdom, including sacking his heir apparent, Chris Cox, as well as Oliver North, and any board members who were in the way. He still has tight control of the NRA and that won’t change short of a court order that sacks the existing leadership structure entirely.

        • If WLP was that despised by the general NRA membership, he’d have been gone long ago. What bothers the haters around here is the fact that a very vocal minority of gun activist-types, a majority of whom don’t even belong to NRA, are trying to dictate the mission and direction of NRA, as if they’d join if NRA did this, that, or something else. Crazy.

          As to Chris Cox being the heir apparent to WLP, I have no idea where in the hell you got that notion, it’s hilarious. I’ve been involved pretty deeply in NRA at a fairly high level for 30 years and I never heard that mentioned. Of course, big non-members would come up with a lot of stuff from hanging around the internet. Everything on the ‘net is the Gospel.

          Doesn’t it seem strange that neither NRA itself, nor people like me spend time and energy advocating that members from other gun groups jump ship and join us? Go ahead and stay with GOA, NAGR, the Dorrtard groups and the other lower-tier organizations that don’t have extensive and universally-accepted training programs, safety programs, women’s programs, youth programs, competition programs, etc., etc., all of which draw people into the act of becoming a firearms owner. And besides, even in the great, non-compromising GOA, probably less than 3% of membership is actually engaged in the cause beyond paying membership dues. 3% of nearly 5 million versus 3% of 100,000, perhaps?*

          It’s a big country and there are lots of avenues to travel.

          *from USCCA site, didn’t find on GOA:

          “/ 38.8075; -77.2196 Gun Owners of America ( GOA) is a gun rights organization in the United States with over 100,000 members…”

        • “I’ve been involved pretty deeply in NRA at a fairly high level for 30 years“

          Then either you’ve been asleep at the wheel and unaware of what’s happening within your organization or you’re complicit with WLP and are riding the gravy train (the existence of which is a matter of public record at this point). Either way your opinion is suspect and biased due to your close ties.

      • Where you would be one of 76. No other non-profit organization board has even a third of that, Wayne restructured it that way to ensure his permanent control. Oh yeah, as a board member you have significant financial liability, so that is a really bad idea!

  13. “He’s clearly doing his best to undermine NRA with a 22-year-old recording”

    if that’s his best then the nra is looking ok.

  14. Wow. Such reportage. I’m so unimpressed. Think I’ll write another check to NRA. And GOA. And NSSF.

    At least the NRA doesn’t hang with baby killers.

    • “Think I’ll write another check to NRA. And GOA. And NSSF.”

      during wwii the brits launched an air campaign against germany. they didn’t have many planes and the german anti-air was highly effective, so they operated at night even though night targeting was poor and inefficient. when the americans arrived they brought huge numbers of bombers and advocated daylight raids to increase accuracy and effectiveness. the brits and the americans argued over who should be in overall charge and thus who’s strategy would be implemented, but they couldn’t agree and angrily operated independently of each other, the brits at night and the americans during the day. the result was germany was bombed day and night.

  15. The NRA/ILA lied to me on a gunm cop taking deal back in 94.
    Their brochure said give us more money they’d fight for your gunm rights , our lawyers and shit will do this and that, when it came down to it all they did was nothing.
    That’s when I quit em.

  16. It has been pretty obvious for a long time what NRA thinks of us. All you have to do is look at how they have stolen or squandered the funds entrusted to them. No more money from me. My donations go to FPC and GOA.

    Hope LaPierre gets what he deserves.

  17. Sticks and stones. But, like others, I don’t give Wayne any money, and send it instead to FPC and GOA.

    Besides, I believe the “rednecks” and “hillbillies” are gonna save us all.

  18. I’m hardly surprised.

    First, while the choice of words may not be the best, they’re not really wrong. It’s been obvious for a long time that if 100,000 people show up to anything that the media doesn’t like then the SOP of reporters will be to actively seek the most outrageous two or three people they can find and use them to paint the other 99,99x people as being the same.

    They’ll even interview them and then selectively edit the interviews for maximum propaganda effect.

    Second, this is kinda standard it seems for any large company or organization. Remember when it was made public that McD’s referred to some of their customer base as “heavy users”? Not exactly the nicest way to refer to your customers, especially since you use every manipulative tactic in the book to get them in the door and then sell them a product you’ve intentionally made as addictive and damaging as possible.

    Finally, I’m hardly surprised that someone like Wayne thinks this way. It’s long been apparent that he’s a well-paid merc that, like all mercs, is in it for the money. He’s also come across to me as one of those people who thinks that the price tag on his suits makes him better than other people. Which has always been amusing to me considering that there are people out there with custom SteamPunk suits for every day of the week where each one cost the same as three of Wayne’s suits. Sure, they look weird to some people but hot-damn are they pricey and usually the people make them don’t do credit or credit cards, meaning that get-up was $5000+ cash up front.

  19. Those hillbillies and idiots are some of the nicest people in the world who would help you on a moment’s notice and never ask for a thing in return. Except respect.

    The fact that Hammer and company think the membership is below them isn’t surprising; its been obvious for years.

    • think Kenny and his family at Knob Creek…good people who actually invited me into their home when I had a problem…

  20. The comments on this page pretty much explain the comments made by NRA leadership. Hillbillies and idiots is a pretty good (clean) description of gun people. For me its a badge of honor!

  21. “Don’t care for Wayne LaPierre’s continued leadership”? The author clearly has a gift for understatement.

    Wayne and his gang of lying, thieving clowns must go.

  22. Mak just released a 300 page book about the NRA, with an additional 67 pages of references. This is hardly the most damning thing he turned up about WLP and crew. WLP and Bill Brewer seem intent on driving the NRA into the ground, with their cronies cheering them on, as long as the gravy train lasts.

  23. “you know you are a red neck” updated for today’s world…

    You know your a redneck if you use a plate from your wife’s Franklin Mint dish collection in your plate carrier.

  24. So anyway…. big deal the NRA called members hillbilly’s and idiots…

    Thousands of organizations and companies, politicians, people – even city, county, state, federal government – and a whole lot more call people that every day in their minds and behind your back and in their writings, and even cater to it with products and advertisement, and sometimes even to your face.

    Whats significant here is that people even care any more.

  25. Every time I see Marion Barber I think of Harry (Jeff Daniels) from Dumb and Dumber. I’ve never seen another middle-aged woman with a bowl cut.

  26. Am I supposed to be offended by a 30+ year recording of a board meeting discussing reining in the Radical members of the Association, so that the NRA could look united in its message over the Columbine School Shooting? Because I happen to agree with them then and still do now.
    Was it disparaging to refer to the Radicals as “hillbillies and idiots? Yes, it was and it would have been better to refer to them as the “more militant members,” that term would be more PC by today’s standards. Once again, I’m not offended because I agree that the membership needs to have a united front at all times.

    National Propaganda Radio is just trying to stir a schitt pot that really is only there in their Urbanite and Moron mindset (see, the game does go either way).

  27. Anyone remember that the N.Y. Times got a Pulitzer for it’s coverage of the “Steal Dossier” and some 12-15 months later we now KNOW what most suspected, that it was all B.S. Now I’m supposed to be all upset by a tale from National Panhandler Radio? Even if they did call some of the membership “hillbillies and idiots” so what? Think they might have been under some stress of the moment? So you don’t like the NRA, Bugger off. Keep standing on the outside and throwing rocks, your a real help. I’m sure the Brady Campaign loves you. Is the NRA perfect? No. So get involved and help fix it. Oh, sorry I forgot that takes effort, it’s much easier to sling mug, piss, cry, and moan.

  28. Been in NRA for a couple of decades, hoping officers/operations might change. My last membership expired a month ago and I do not plan to reactivate it.
    Ive also been a supporter of GOA, CCRKBA, FPC, JPFO and on the lookout for others that will help carry the load.

  29. I am a life/endowment NRA member and donated thousands to NRA’s coffers only to find that LaPierre and his cronies have been living lavish life styles off of our donations. I have never felt more betrayed. From here on all my donations go to GOA. They accomplish far more with a fraction of the NRA’s budget.
    La Pierre is to the 2nd Amendment as Liz Cheney is to conservatism, pure treachery.
    Stop rewarding betrayal and join GOA or the 2nd Amendment Foundation

  30. I’m an Endowment Life member and have been a member at one level or another since the late seventies. However the NRA will get none of my money until LaPierre and his greedy cronies have been shown the door. Be nice, calm and polite and have building security escort WLP out the door. Ship his belongings to him and insure he never again walks through the door. Then move out all of LWP’s supporters from the Board of Directors and reduce the board to twenty members representing the entire spectrum from each section of the country.

    • Unfortunately nothing will change until the membership is one again allowed to elect its leaders. Right now the NRA is an oligarchy and they are almost as big a criminals as the founders of the U.S. were.

  31. Left NRA a year ago. Gun owners of America. The NRA has gotten to tangled up in DC, and has become one of those in the bubble.
    Move on.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here