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As a firearms instructor, I want to share my ideas for the reform the NRA needs as it heads into a trial its leadership will NOT win. The court will order that the organization be rebuilt, but if we don’t make it clear what’s really needed, we won’t get the results we need.

If you agree, be sure to check out a petition I put up here and sign it.

Before I get started, I need to cover a bunch of background information. There’s a lot of bad information out there about the organization’s real problems and what it needs to do. Many people also don’t understand the situation the NRA is in with the trial. Both of those things must be understood to come up with good solutions.

The Original Purpose Of The NRA

During the Civil War, it was calculated that for every hit on a confederate soldier, over 1,000 rounds were fired by union troops. During earlier wars, soldiers at least had an excuse, but more accurate minie balls in far better rifles meant that soldiers were capable of doing a lot better. But, they needed the training.

In 1871, the National Rifle Association was formed to solve that problem. Not only did the organization work to establish marksmanship clubs across the United States, but it also worked with military units and promoted international competition to keep the improvement going globally. In the following decades, the whole shooting world (civilian and military) became safer and more accurate.

The NRA initially backed U.S. gun control measures passed between 1934 and 1968. But, as the 20th century wore on, gun control law after gun control law eventually got to the point where gun owners were fed up with all of the restrictions. So, members pushed the organization to make an effort to fight back against these restrictive laws, working to repeal and cut back on them starting in the 1970s.

The NRA Has Lost Its Way

Starting in the 1990s, the organization lost its way on both the educational and the legislative fronts. 

Today, the NRA is a joke in the gun rights community. Organizations like Gun Owners of America, Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Defense Leagues, and now the Firearms Policy Coalition have picked up the baton that the NRA dropped. Now, when those other groups score a legislative or court victory, it’s not long before an e-mail from the NRA hits our inboxes telling us all about how they won.

With the abandonment of serious gun rights efforts, surely they’d have been working hard on the training side to improve gun safety, right? Sadly, the training department has also become a joke. Once a dynamic effort, the training department kept having its budget cut until it became increasingly slow to respond to instructor and student needs. Long delays in creating a concealed carry certification is a great example of this.

Training at the NRA is on the edge of collapse. The training department now consists of only two people. Grants to local training efforts and facilities are way down. Instructors are largely going independent, only maintaining certifications as needed for state concealed carry courses. Other organizations, like USCCA, are filling the vacuum the NRA has left, while many states are scrapping concealed carry permit requirements, negating much of the need for certifications in the first place.

What Did They Do With All The Money?

Instead of spending time and money on improving gun owner education or fighting gun control, we’ve found in recent years that the leadership has been robbing and misusing the treasury. Friends and family billed the group for expensive services. The executive vice president spent big on suits, an expensive SUV and travel.

The other problem is that the NRA exists within the increasingly polarized political environment every other organization has to exist within. Governments used to fund the NRA, but when they initially failed to toe the gun control line, that funding evaporated. In turn, the organization had to “pick a side” to survive in the 70s and 80s. Now, in the 21st century, the success of gun rights activism has led to gun ownership rising in all parts of society, and the NRA is having a tough time serving the wider community of gun owners while serving what has become its core constituency.

In sum, the NRA establishment doesn’t appear interested in performing the organization’s original mission or the political mission it picked up along the way, and the problem goes much deeper than just bad spending at the top. 

The NRA Will Be Reformed, But We Need To Push For Good Reform

After decades of mismanagement and the corruption described above, the organization then spent big money on legal fees to protect the people who robbed it. Now, the leader has resigned and the organization is going to trial for wasteful spending practices and possible violations of its non-profit status. New York’s attorney general Letitia James wanted the court to dissolve the NRA, but the judge refused and the NRA is in the midst of a trial.

This is a trial that the organization’s current leadership will not win. The leadership will be removed by the court and an independent monitor will be in charge of putting the organization back together. When put together, it will get some of the money back that was stolen from it, but will be required to act like other nonprofits.

But, as NRA instructors and students from every arena in America, we need to be active in pushing for a good organization to come out of this effort.

What The Reformed NRA Must Do

The most important thing the court’s monitor or special master can do is bring it into compliance with applicable laws, and end the organization’s involvement in politics so it can focus on its original mission of training and education.

This might sound bad for gun rights on the surface, but anyone who takes a serious look at the fight for gun rights in the last decade already knows that the NRA has not been effective at that for years. Instead of soliciting donations for gun rights, the new NRA should instead refer members wanting to oppose gun control to donate money to serious groups like the GOA, SAF and FPC.

What remains should be focused on education, training and grants to organizations that provide education and training. All funds from members and other sources should be used to build a serious training program that:

  • Creates innovative and cutting-edge curriculum and software for youth, adults, law enforcement, and military (including virtual reality, laser training, and remote learning)
  • Builds serious training facilities that cater to the training needs of all kinds of gun owners
  • Provides real continuing education for instructors and coaches, not just collecting a payment every two years.
  • Reaches out to all gun owners, regardless of background
  • Uses industry standard concepts in firearms training, such as Cooper’s Rules and reasonable safe storage training that people owning a gun for defense might actually follow
  • Does not allow gun control groups to dictate any part of the curriculum
  • Does not plan events in “gun free” zones or invite speakers who require the audience to be disarmed
  • Does not invite political candidates of any party to serve as keynote speakers at events

The organization should also have an ombudsman to take complaints at all levels. When anyone faces discrimination or a hostile work or training environment, the organization needs to address those concerns instead of sweeping them under the rug.

Finally, the new NRA should seriously seek to rebuild partnerships with private and governmental organizations at every level to spread good training for people of all ages and backgrounds. This would make the organization a real charity that serves the public good and keep it from being destroyed by litigation in the future.

If you agree with this, or agree with part of it and want to comment about things you think I’m wrong about, be sure to check out my petition here and sign/comment.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. I’m watching Johnny B. on YT as I read this. No fixing the NRA. Worse than we /I thought🙄

    • RE: “The NRA initially backed U.S. gun control measures passed between 1934 and 1968.”

      The detour above throws the democRat Party, the party that owns the legacy of Gun Control, a bone. Because a newspaper board, a chief of police, etc. uses their position to advance their agenda is no indication the rank and file are on board. I.E. Wayne and his pal’s spending habits, etc. clearly does not represent the NRA rank and file.

      When mentioning Gun Control note the party that has owned it lock, stock and barrel for centuries…The same party that owns the legacy of Slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, the kkk, lynching, Eugenics and other race based atrocities…the democRat Party.

      • RE: “The NRA initially backed U.S. gun control measures passed between 1934 and 1968.”

        What the NRA has done is change counter-Revolutionary laws to bring American Law back _toward_ congruence with the Bill of Rights and the Framers’ intentions. Pretending the NRA ever had the votes to “repeal the NFA”, etc, is just another troll-made anti-2nd crap sandwich.

        Leticia, Bloomberg, and a whole buncha moles on this site want that NRA-led SYG, shall issue, Castle Doctrine, MacDonald/Heller/Bruen train to STOP IMMEDIATELY.

        I have been thinking that 2024 is the Year of the Leftwing Mole. Mole coming out of the closet, that is…

        What is happening here (eg, “the homeowner started it by opening his door”) tends to meke me think I might be right.

        Those attacking the NRA are doing so because the NRA has been the most EFFECTIVE organization thwarting their plan to disarm all civilians.

        Good luck on your crusade to convince a bunch of racists to ditch gun control because it is racist. Hope it works.

  2. A nice sentiment but no.

    IMHO, the only thing the NRA can do going forward is be the name the antis love to hate. Since they’re not even very good at that anymore… well, a strange electrical fault at the HQ and an insurance payout come to mind.

    The decentralized nature of the other organizations means it will be very hard to run a propaganda operation against them the way was done to the NRA. As it should be. They’re also more effective.

    While an organization dedicated to training sounds great, I’m not real hot to give the NRA more money, especially when such a thing is basically asking the current corruptocrats in D.C. to declare them a terror organization solely so that the membership can be prosecuted in kangaroo courts.

  3. Nuke it from orbit. That’s the only way to be sure. Any stuff that needs to be done that used to be done by the Negotiating Rights Away group can just as well be done by another group that will pick up the dropped baton.

      • What the hell are you talking about?.

        I’m sure in your mind it sounds brilliant…but it’s just incoherent babbling to everyone else. Wait…are you Babbling Biden?

        Letting the NRA die will be the best thing to happen for the gun rights community in a very long. It has done nothing but work against gun rights for the last 20 years.

  4. I think I agree with getting the NRA out of the business of lobbying for gun-rights. It makes the NRA the BIG target. If they amend their charter to stay out of lobbying then they are not going to be the huge disappointment they have proven to be over the last several decades.

    If the state affiliates each take their turn lobbying Congress they become much harder to target. Imagine the gun controllers trying to whip up a furor over the “Buckeye Rifle Association”. Each time they hit one state affiliate another affiliate takes the witness seat in a Congressional hearing. The gun controllers will have to play wack-a-mole.

    Meanwhile, we can respond “NRA is now barred by its charter from lobbying in Washington.”

    The most important thing to do is to get rid of the nominating committee. I don’t know what the right solution is, but I’ll suggest an idea. Have each state affiliate nominate a member of it’s board to be a member of the nominating committee. Each year the nominating committee is composed of drawing a dozen or so names from a hat. No one person would get control of the nominating committee.

    Get rid of the celebrity board members. Exclude every existing board members. Consider any board members who were kicked-out of their offices.

    • And if any “event” happens, the NRA’s reaction is to STFU.

      While the world moves at the speed of the internet, the NRA still moves at the speed of telegram or snail mail.

    • How stupid. Assuming you are pro-2A…

      If not for NRA lobbying, you would never have held a handgun…

      … much less carried one.

  5. What the US needs is no more NRA. They were crooked then, they are crooked now, and they will be crooked tomorrow. They never did anything with their $400,000,000 budget except fill their pockets, negotiate rights away, and pop the occasion youth shoot just long enough to get new PR photos. They are a scam.

  6. The future of the NRA? Depends on what comes out of the wash. If the goal is not to abolish Gun Control
    like its sidekick Slavery then the new NRA will not see a dime from me…goes for any other org.

  7. Training and education should be the primary responsibility that the NRA takes into the future. That is the best way to grow the membership. And this will bring more people into the acceptance of the second amendment, as a civil right.

    Most americans have no idea what the second amendment means. Because the gun grabbers have done an effective job of destroying what the definition and history of the 2A is in this country.

    You could prepare a 2A school curriculum. Based on the information that has been published here on TTAG. Since the site began over ten years ago.

    As far as lobbying goes I support the lobbying mission. As a private organized group, they have 1st 1st amendment rights, just like any other private organized group.
    The people who hate gun owners will always hate gun owners no matter how their organized.

    The way to beat these people is to only refer to gun rights as “civil rights”.
    Because it is your civil right in america to own, sell and purchase guns. And it is especially your civil right to pass on your guns to your family members. Or whoever you choose to pass them on to.

    There are thousands of indoor and outdoor gun ranges all over the United States. Small public events could be organized at these facilities. That is how you grow the membership and grow knowledge and support for civil rights.

  8. There is an NRA outdoor range less than an hour from my house. With a 175 yard rifle range. A 30 yd pistol range. And an archery range.
    I am sure there are many others like it all across the country. And I hope they stay open.

    Instead of having that enormous facility in New Mexico. They should sell it and open up hundreds of smaller ranges all across the country. Bring the Second Amendment closer to everyone else.

    Instead of only the very wealthy. Who can afford fly into New Mexico and shoot at that huge “white elephant” facility.

    I never understood why they needed to compete with Gunsite or Thunder Ranch???

    • I shot at a great NRA range near Bonfield,Illinois(Kankakee)as a kid. My dad was a member. I have a very old friend who is a member there. I wish it was closer but I can shoot whatever I want at Range USA formerly Point Blank. Including a verboten rifle in Indiana. Likely the NRA chose property they could get cheap🙄

  9. A lot of CNN stooges have been hanging out at TTAG for years. You’re getting what you and the progs wanted. Now GO AWAY and no whining.

  10. National Rifle Association.
    That should be a bunch of associated guys buying rifles and distributing them nationally to any member.

  11. Protect Yourself: Do More Than Just Ask for an Attorney After a Defensive Gun Use > https://shootingnewsweekly.com/story/326/protect-yourself-do-more-than-just-ask-for-an-attorney-after-a-defensive-gun-use

    At the link above, an article by John Boch, this is mentioned….

    “Repeating, if you’re unsure of what to say, don’t say anything. Don’t answer questions from the police. Nothing you say can be used at trial to exonerate you. But everything you say can and will be used against you. As an attorney friend once said, everyone has the right to remain silent, but few people can actually do it.”

    I’d like to point out something, and something I learned very quickly after one of my DGU incidents thanks to a hint from one of the police officers while I was waiting for my attorney to show up …. if you do choose to exercise that right and remain silent the police and prosecutors can use your silence as an indicator of guilt or admission UNLESS you tell them this > “I am invoking my constitutional fifth amendment right to remain silent”. (Yes, even if they read you your rights or you are not arrested or detained at the time).

    In other words for you to have the right to remain silent you must speak and specifically invoke that right. You must verbally invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to prevent police and prosecutors from using any resulting silence and incriminating body language as evidence of guilt during a jury trial.

    Yes, even though the DGU (or other defense) was valid and legal and justified it does not mean an over zelous prosecutor can’t put you through legal-hell by using your silence as evidence of guilt to have you indicted by a grand jury and proceed to a trial. SO IF YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN SILENT specifically invoke that right to keep your silence (or body language) alone from being used against you to have you indicted. Now, that being said – invoke that right verbally and clearly then shut up and wait for your attorney. You do already have an attorney in mind don’t you?

    This is because in 2013 a ruling from SCOTUS decided (in the case Salinas v. Texas 12-246) “The Fifth Amendment guarantees that no one may be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; it does not establish an unqualified right to remain silent, …. Before petitioner could rely on the privilege against self-incrimination, he was required to invoke it,” (among many different references including the SCOTUS decision its self, one of them explaining this > https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2013/0617/Supreme-Court-For-right-to-remain-silent-a-suspect-must-speak?nav=89-csm_category-topStories)

  12. There is only one way forward that would be of any use to the average gun owner.

    NRA president Colion Noir with the power to remove members of the current board.
    Suggest he put Tammy Bruce in charge of communications.
    That would really make the Leftists heads explode.

    • Yes, please. The NRA should stick around IF they can admit that they need to be reformed. Then they have to make drastic changes so people will trust them. Even if WLP & Co. are completely innocent, they have failed the NRA because people stopped trusting them enough to renew, join, or donate. Then their reckless behavior made them susceptible to lawsuits and bad publicity. They have to replace more than WLP.

      When I bought my shotgun, I went to the NRA’s website to find an instructor. I found one nearby. They had a course setup complete with a booklet you take home. I was the only one there, so it ended up being private instruction. It was great. I paid him extra.

      “The most important thing the court’s monitor or special master can do is…end the organization’s involvement in politics so it can focus on its original mission of training and education.”

      I wholeheartedly disagree with that. Why would that be important? Do you realize that is the real reason they wanted to take down the NRA? The Left systematically goes after every single industry that supports their opponents.

  13. Sorry Jenny but the Cincinnati Revolt in the 70’s was over that very issue. The NRA still carries a lot of weight with corrupt politicians and the NRA simply has to jump feet first back into the fight for gun rights with fists flying.

    I think cleaning house and getting in new management as well as re-establishing Democracy by letting the members vote each year on electing officials is key to bringing the organization back to its former power and greatness. Oliver North would clean house and make a good NRA President.

    Getting the NRA out of politics is absolutely the very worst thing that could ever happen to it and to everyone’s 2A rights. We cannot have enough gun rights organizations out there fighting for 2A rights and these organizations primary job is to bribe the corrupt prostitute politicians into keeping the right to bear arms. Corruption is how our Government was designed to work by the Criminal Founders of Capitalvania. People get into politics to become rich and Bribery is the name of the game. They do not get into politics to help anyone but their greed monger selves. The NRA needs once again to become the primary cash cow feeding the kowtowing political scum in Congress.

  14. She says we should be able to view the petition and comment on things we think she’s wrong about. I went to the site, but see no place where I am able to do that.

  15. Hopefully GOAL the NRA proxy in Massachusetts will heed this hard earned lesson going forward especially when dealing with progressive liberal Democrats, who have nearly overwhelming control at all levels of governance in the Commonwealth, originally referred to as “the cradle of liberty“

  16. I have to disagree here. The NRA, while having lost it’s way in the last decade for sure, had an excellent political arm in the NRA-ILA. The former head of the ILA was ousted by LaPierre years ago when he claimed they were staging a coup to take over. That’s when the chit really hit the fan and the whole world learned about the corruption that had taken root. The ILA arm did great things for fighting ignorant gun control laws. ANd while they may have faltered recently, they still have some political clout. Hence why all those liberal extremist blame the NRA for every shooting.

    The NRA needs a massive shift in structure, for sure. But the call for education and training to be its sole mission is foolish. I know enough people who carry or have carried that had no skills at all with a firearm and had no intention of getting any training. While that may be a bad thing, it points out a flaw that the OP doesn’t seem to see. Training and education are selective things. Most people are going to selectively not do either. Focusing the organization on programs that won’t be utilized by all gun owners is a fools errand. I was sitting in a deer stand alone by age 8 with a single shot .410 shotgun. I’ve carried everyday since I turned 21. I’ve attended required courses for states other than mine for a conceal permit. (That is pretty well in the past now that most reciprocate or have constitutional carry) I can say this for sure. Those training classes required to get a permit are a joke. It isn’t a pass or fail type of setting. It’s simply you are required by the state to sit through X hours of training. A woman in one of the classes I attended was so poor at following instructions that during the live fire portion of the classes the instructor would give you a command to follow. When he said to draw from holster, fire one shot, then reholster. She emptied the mag and then turned towards the rest of us, gun in hand waving around wildly. Needless to say she passed the class. Another individual in the same class was asked at the start of the class what type of weapon he brought. He said a 9mm. When asked about the brand he said “I don’t know, won it in a raffle a couple weeks ago.” There is an unlimited amount of ignorance out there when it comes to carrying. I hate that as I am a proponent of gun ownership and conceal carry. But the fact remains, that people will not take the time and effort to get training they don’t see as needed. And because of that attitude, an NRA without an ILA division is an organization waiting to fail.

  17. These crooks belong in jail. Wayne LaPews secretary was making 600k. want to give them your money? Not me!!!!! Him trying to buy several mansions under a shell name!
    my money goes to Second Amendment Foundation, and Gun Owners America!

  18. I don’t see why the NRA can’t have an internal reformation while promoting rights and training and competitions and safety programs and ranges and historical documentation and whatever else deemed necessary by the membership. Again, BY the membership, which is the entire problem in a nutshell.

    To expand that nutshell, they need new bylaws that dissolve all former contractual ties (BTW Brewer), establish proper parliamentary procedures, set up a much smaller/efficient board of directors appointed by the membership for regular and limited time spans, have them appoint officers for similar regular and limited spans of time with clearly defined and limited roles, and have the reporting at membership meetings be transparent and above board. It isn’t impossible or even difficult in practice to do, aside from getting rid of the squatters who took over the boardroom for the last forty years. And while the courts are likely to fix that issue, the trick is salvaging whatever is anything is left after they finish their reconstruction.

  19. Not a bad article, jenn, but as you can see there are others with a more critical view of the NRA. Beyond the travel club, wine club, country club atmosphere the democrats don’t care if the EVP and BoD steals from us, after all that’s what they themselves do best. What frosts the dems was alluded to in the original article,and danced around almost completely, was the fact that politics, especially national (DJT) politics put the NRA right in the crosshairs of the congressional majority. This is the main reason Leticia James and the state of New York has persequted the NRA in conjunction with Trump. We are seen as “the enemy”.

  20. Only 75,000 out of 2,500,000 NRA members eligible to vote for the NRA Board did so last time and the percentage has always been low.
    Sure, LaPierre should be in a cell , but like politics, we got what we voted for, not what we shoulda voted for . Vote only for candidates nominated by petition of members and maybe the NRA can make a course correction . Too many yes men on the Board, some of them need cells adjacent to Wayne’s.

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