[ED: We asked readers to give us their thoughts on the the current controversies swirling around the National Rifle Association and we’ve received a number of thoughtful responses. Click the link above if you’d like to contribute, too. Here are a few more and we’ll continue to run them over the coming days as we receive them.]
From reader W:
I am an NRA Benefactor Life Member, an NRA Range Safety Officer, and have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for Friends of NRA with my local group. I have taught new shooters in CMP Basic Rifle Clinics. I participated in CMP Garand-Springfield-Military matches. I helped build and operate a new sporting clays range at our local gun club to encourage new shooters.
I regularly donate to organizations working to defend the Second Amendment including SAF, CCRKBA, GOA, and even the NRA. I do what I can within my very limited abilities whenever and wherever possible to help promote a positive culture of safe, responsible firearms ownership and usage.
We need a strong, active, effective NRA to help us defend and preserve our Second Amendment rights. We need an NRA that can reach out to the many millions of gun owners who do not contribute any meaningful support and find ways to encourage them to join us.
We need an NRA that is lean, capable, hungry, and aggressive to win great legal victories in our courts. We need an NRA actively planning and executing effective actions for the expansion of Second Amendment rights nationally. We need an NRA with respected leaders who inspire us to do more. Now, more than ever, we need an NRA of which we can be proud to be a member.
Unfortunately, the NRA today appears not to be the organization we members need or want. Recent revelations of scandalous NRA leadership behavior indicates our organization is in strong need of new and vastly better leadership.
The cathartic release for us members is a complete reorganization which installs high quality, dedicated, respected, and morally strong leaders who can decisively and effectively control the organization’s efforts, marshal it’s resources, and lead us to win victories.
Any partial measures short of this action will result in NRA’s effectiveness on our behalf being slowly killed off by adverse publicity as an ineffective organization unable or unwilling to reform itself to respond to its members needs.
The NRA organization is too valuable to be reduced or lost because of the singular misbehavior of its leaders or members. It is unreasonable for our members to pay membership dues and regularly contribute requested donations to NRA but yet continue to suffer infringements of their Second Amendment rights, especially new infringements in “progressive” districts because of lack of effective actions taken by NRA.
We need more and better results from the NRA. We need an NRA that works with us and for us and does not squander our valuable contributions of good deeds and hard-earned financial support.
We need a reformation of the NRA.
From Dr. Michael S. Brown:
I’ve been a gun rights activist for two decades and have had articles published in many places including America’s First Freedom and TTAG. From the beginning of my involvement I’ve heard rumors of problems at the top of the NRA. Excessive salaries, sweetheart deals and general self-enrichment.
One thing the members deserve is to have leaders who believe in the cause. When they are pulling in such large sums, you have to wonder what they really believe. Is this why the NRA has performed poorly for us in recent years?
I wonder if our leaders have spent so many years in Washington that they have become part of the swamp. Are they more interested in collecting money than in winning the fight? Are they afraid that if they score too many wins the members will lose interest and the gravy train will dry up?
It certainly looks like LaPierre has been milking his job for every dollar he can get. He isn’t a gifted speaker or leader. I’ve felt some sympathy for him as he struggled to perform better in public. But he is past retirement age now and should step aside to allow in new people and new ideas. People say he has a cabal of insiders around him and if true, they should go too.
Some say it’s normal for CEOs of big corporations to earn salaries as large as LaPierre’s, but CEOs move on when they lose the confidence of their investors. It’s a normal part of corporate life.
Why is a group of board members and former officers so adamant about keeping him around? Why are they so frightened of greater transparency? There are now so many suspicious things about the NRA leadership that one can’t help but suspect nefarious actions.
Right now with Trump in office and Republicans in control of the Senate, we have some protection from the anti-gun lobby. This would be a perfect time to clean house and load the NRA with new energy for the battles ahead. Let’s get it done.
And from lifetime member MarkPA:
THE issue at hand is the board of directors. Are they executing their responsibilities in setting policy and supervising the paid staff of the NRA? If they are NOT doing so and REFUSE to do so, then they must be replaced. If not by vote of the members, then by the State of New York.
Will the NRA survive as a corporate body? Can the cause of gun rights afford the loss of this institution?
It is a distraction to concentrate on one man, Wayne LaPierre. If the members were satisfied with his stewardship then he would certainly be worth every penny of his salary; plus his wardrobe and T&E budget.
But we are not satisfied. Moreover, it is widely held that WLP has “captured” the BoD as well as many salaried staff and handsomely paid consultants. While such is often the case in corporate bodies it is not SUPPOSED to be the case.
It is the BoD, which the members elect, that is supposed to set policy and supervise the association’s affairs. The Board seems to be NOT DOING THIS AT ALL. Instead, they seem to be under the spell of WLP. It is this situation which – if true – would be intolerable.
Here, I argue about no policy position NRA has taken with respect to governments. If these were all wrong (from the NFA ’34 to the Bump Stock Ban) then certainly the many Boards that served were culpable. If they were all correct, then that supposition would not relieve the BoD from responsibility to manage the fiscal affairs of the association.
That NRA is suing its primary vendor, Ack-Mac, and Ack-Mac is counter-suing, is evidence enough of failure to supervise the financial affairs of the association.
There are also questions about the billing arrangements with a major law firm. The Board has failed to persuade the membership that it has been responsible; and, so, the membership is rebelling.
The gun-owning community has been rebelling for decades. The primary beef has been about policy in defending the Second Amendment; yet, an underlying theme has been the question: ‘What am I getting for my $35 dues?’ Now we know. Ack-Mac.
The Board must decide to put its house in order. Thereupon, it must fashion a reorganization proposal. It must continue to insulate the NRA from an invasion of membership by hostile forces (such as is served by the 5-year/life-time voting rule).
At the same time, it must ensure that directorships are not handed out by the Nominating Committee as political patronage in cementing the CEO’s tenure. The board must represent the interests of the membership completely independent of every other interest. Fundamentally, NRA is out of the frying pan precisely because it allowed the board to become the alter ego of its CEO, the EVP.