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A few days ago, the NRA had a change in leadership. With Executive VP Wayne LaPierre resigning from the organization amid scandal and resulting court turmoil, the top seat in the organization along with several others was up for election. The EVP slot went to Doug Hamlin, who previously ran NRA Publications. The first and second VP positions (below the EVP) also went to reformers.

This obviously leaves the organization in a position to fix itself, focus better on the gun rights and training missions and perhaps even avoid a court-appointed monitor.

But, we also need to keep in mind that the wins weren’t a total sweep and they weren’t unanimous. The mostly figurehead president seat went to former congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, who was not among the reform candidates. Barr is also known for a gun accident he once had at an event held in his honor. The seats that were won still had a significant showing by the old guard, with the EVP seat going to reformers in a 35-31 vote.

In other words, we shouldn’t count the old guard out. With only a small shift in the winds, the establishment that let Wayne LaPierre destroy the organization’s credibility and distract it from its missions could easily assert control again in the coming years. Neither members, the wider gun owning community that isn’t NRA members, nor the courts should assume that the organization is necessarily committed to being on the right track.

The other problem I see in the reporting from the recent annual meeting is that the organization is a little too comfy with the Republican Party, and intends to fight hard for Republican victories in the upcoming elections. While gun ownership and a commitment to gun rights is common among conservative Republicans, we have to keep in mind that this sadly isn’t always the case.

For example, Donald Trump may have given a great speech at the meeting and promised all sorts of great things, but if we want to be honest with ourselves we need to ask where this version of Trump was when he was in office. Not only did Trump ban bumpstocks, but voiced support for “red flag” gun laws (“I like taking the guns early…Take the guns first, go through due process second.“) and even had Dianne Feinstein jumping for joy when he supported a ban on “assault weapons” (a position he supported in his 2000 book The America We Deserve).

The obvious counter-argument to this is that Trump is better than Biden on guns, which is true. But, if we fail to hold Republicans accountable and demand that they do right by us on guns, they can give us more gun control than Democrats do when we all rightly oppose their nonsense. This is basically what happened with Barack Obama, who utterly failed at passing any significant gun control and even begrudgingly repealed the ban on guns in national parks, while Trump took several actions against guns with minimal opposition. Worse, many Republicans claimed Trump was pulling some sort of “4D chess” move!

If we don’t have an NRA that’s independent enough to hold conservative politicians’ feet to the fire as much as they do the liberals, we’re leaving some pretty big gaps in the armor against gun control. That’s not a good thing!

Between the very real threat to responsible NRA leadership the old guard still poses and an overly-cozy relationship with the Republican Party and Donald Trump, it’s clear that we can’t stop fighting for a better NRA.

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  1. Uh oh, someone give Debbie a Xanax. Someone on the pro-gun side said something negative about OLAS Trump.

    • RE: “Between the very real threat to responsible NRA leadership the old guard still poses and an overly-cozy relationship with the Republican Party and Donald Trump, it’s clear that we can’t stop fighting for a better NRA”

      The NRA cards have been dealt. Therefore if you do not approve of your hand that’s not grounds to spin it like a dirty diaper democRat into finger pointing Republicans and Trump. The cozy alternative at this point is trying to establish a cozy relationship with Bar’s placid libertarian party. Or establish a cozy relationship with the likes of Jim Crow Gun Control democRat joe…that is if you are a cozy glutton for much more 2A punishment.

      Just as pathetic as stooping to throw Trump and Republicans under bus over what Wayne and some bad apples did what I see stinking up this forum during a crucial election period are the freeloaders who say they support Trump followed by a “but.” It’s exactly like those who say they support The Second Amendment followed by a “but.” Either lead Jennifer, follow or get the f out of the way…fjb.

      TRUMP 2024.

      • Uh, I believe Jennifer is attempting something akin to leading by rightfully pointing out what some of us already know. Trump is for Trump. Always has been, always will be. He’s no more a hypocrite than any other politician, but I can think of many politicians that are waaaaay more hypocritical than Trump. Miss Sensiba made salient points of fact about what The Donald did & didn’t do.

        I happen to believe that any elected official that willingly ignores or openly defies the US constitution should be removed from office for treasonous behavior. But of course, that would jeopardize the entire country as more than half of elected officials would have to go.

        • The largest gun lobby in the world, who throws millions to Republicans, basically asked for a bump stock ban. Yes, Trump shouldn’t have done it. Okay. Now do the multi-million lobby org that asked for it, and who has the job of influencing politicians on our behalf.

          You don’t have a voice. Lobbyists have a voice. That’s how it works. My dad had a job that required legislation for a raise. His group met and decided it was time for a raise. My dad said he personally knew his local state representative, so he would talk to him. He made the case for a raise. The rep. said that isn’t how things work. Have your group hire a lobbyist. Then have the lobbyist ask me. So they did, and got a raise. That’s how it works.

        • Yeah pretty much, not perfect but we can at least do business unlike the commie options.

        • I’d be fine with them “going”. They are a threat to the freedoms of American Citizens.

  2. A start for sure, a good start… perhaps…….time will tell.
    Seems this recent start only skimmed the surface and thus requires a lot more work to finish the job.

  3. “The other problem I see in the reporting from the recent annual meeting is that the organization is a little too comfy with the Republican Party, and intends to fight hard for Republican victories in the upcoming elections. While gun ownership and a commitment to gun rights is common among conservative Republicans, we have to keep in mind that this sadly isn’t always the case.”

    While I am not always happy with the weak knees of many Republicans, the alternative is, what? Are the Democrats likely to be more responsive to the input of gun owners? Doesn’t seem likely. Is there a third party, or some other group, that is likely to advocate effectively for gun owners at any level of politics? None that I know of. So, my options are, Democrats, who suck, some other party who are effectively non-existent or irrelevant, and the Republicans, some of which suck. Well, sucks, irrelevant and sorta sucks leaves me in a position of picking “sorta sucks” because that is the best I can do.

  4. I would absolutely LOVE to see the NRA become a respectable organization once again. Whether or not that happens I have no idea. If they come around, I will resume supporting them.

  5. “I will resume supporting them.”

    And in the meantime (pun intended), you will continue haplessly supporting bloomers, mda, everyclown and tish, et al…

    Wow, I got thru that post without referencing Stalin, KGB, SS, Marx. gestapo or Papa Doc!

    +1 for me.

    • I would not recommend giving funds to the NRA until we see REAL results. Fox example, Doug Hamlin, the new EVP is still an unknown and the reformers believe he will support them, specifically in firing Brewer, but you never know with the other side side of the board. Two questions that we, the reformers, want to know are:
      1. Why hasn’t he fire Brewer?
      2. Why hasn’t he accepted Fraser’s resignation?

  6. “Not only did Trump ban bumpstocks”…he also said a bunch of words.

    Hillary never would have done it after the Vegas shooting. I’m sure of it. What did the NRA think about it? Didn’t the NRA call on federal agencies to review the legality of bump stocks? But Trump! What about Trump? *screams at sky*

    We’ll see what the SC haz* to say about it. Now imagine Hillary’s appointees instead of Trump’s. Sometimes it feels like the SC is barely holding things together these days.

    *avoiding moderation. Yes, has isn’t allowed in that context. Why?

  7. I’ll never join the organization that helped write the NFA and had its fingers in every major gun-control bill since then.

    Negotiating Rights Away.

    I’d sooner join Mom’s crave action. At least they are honest about their true goals.

    • @Nikita, at least with the Moms Crave Action with some beer and a little luck you might get lucky.
      However, it might take a lot of beer, if you know what I mean.

  8. Excellent summary of what’s happened and an important reminder that “it’s not enough”… the NRA has made moves to make reform possible, but they shouldn’t be trusted yet.

    One of the 5 Tenets of reform for the NRA, established several years ago, was focusing on Gun Rights exclusively… and that means breaking ties with the Republican Party.

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  10. First: The opinions I express here are my own and do not represent any official position of the NRA or the Board of Directors. I am a newly elected member of the NRA Board of Directors, but I am not speaking in that capacity here, just as a knowledgeable, 40+ year Life Member of the NRA and political junkie.
    The Executive VP is not “over” the 1st and 2nd VP’s, and the President is not a “mostly honorary” position. The Executive VP should be rightly called the Executive Director or more simply, CEO. He’s paid staff, hired to execute the directives and policies of the Board of Directors, which is led by the President of the Board. All NRA policy and governance is in the hands of the BoD, not the EVP. LaPierre turned that dynamic on its ear during his long tenure, leading the Board around by their noses, but that’s not how it was supposed to be or is now. The President and the two VP’s hold significant power within the Board.
    Yes, this is only the beginning of reform within the NRA, but it’s a really good start. Our new Interim EVP, Doug Hamlin, hit the ground running, reinstating Joe DeBergalis as Executive Director of General Operations, and appointing Mike Blaz to replace John Frazer as General Counsel. LaPierre had fired DeBergalis a couple of weeks before Christmas in order to put Andrew Arulanandam in the ED of GO position. He did that because the Bylaws say that in case of a vacancy in the EVP position, the ED of GO steps into that position, and LaPierre knew he was about to announce his resignation. He picked Arulanandam as his replacement. The Board has now undone that move. A search committee is working on finding a more permanent candidate for that position, with Hamlin expected to serve in the position for only a year or so. His job is to get the Association back on track, clean up as much of the mess as possible, and get the finances in order. He knows he’ll hurt some feelings and make enemies in the process. That’s his job. He’ll eventually be replaced by a professional CEO who will be able to start with a fairly clean slate and a house that’s already mostly in order — and with no blood on his hands.
    Right now, the biggest challenge facing the new leadership of the NRA is trust and money. The past 5 years have put us in a very difficult financial situation and we need the support of members and donors to give us some breathing room and time to make the needed changes. Some things can be done right away, but other things require planning and careful execution. We didn’t get into this situation overnight, and we’re not going to get out of it in one fell swoop.
    Right now, I’d ask NRA members and supporters to look at what the Board and new leadership have done and promised to do, and give them the chance to fulfill those promises by renewing memberships and making donations to help get the NRA back on its feet.
    As to being too cozy with the Republican Party, I’ve long argued that we’re not supposed to be the National Republican Auxiliary. Our support and financial contributions should go to individual candidates, not any party. I’d like to see us more active in Primary elections, where we can punish squishy “friends” without shooting ourselves in the foot. (For instance, Texas 23 should have been a flagship primary for GunVoters and the NRA. Ernest “Tony” Gonzales stabbed us in the back and he should be held accountable for that. Brandon Herrera is a solid pro-rights candidate who we could depend on. Unfortunately, both the Herrera campaign and the NRA dropped the ball on this one so the NRA is on the sidelines in this important race.
    The bottom line in the General Election though, is that we have a closely divided Congress and the party with the majority has a significant advantage, even if the majority is only one vote. Democrats have declared themselves to be the party of gun control. Their leadership acts on that declaration. Republicans have declared support for the Second Amendment, though they often fail to live up to that declaration. In the General Election, the game isn’t Chess or even Checkers, it’s Tic-Tac-Toe and GunVoters must “Block that Square” to keep the gun controllers out of the majority. It’s that simple. If Gonzales wins the run-off in Texas 23, I’ll be disappointed, but come election day, if I was in that district, I’d give him my vote in order to keep the Democrats from gaining a majority.
    I’m not happy with some of what Trump has said and done, but Trump will get my vote, just as he did in 2016 and 2020. Not because he’s my favorite, or because I think he’s the best candidate, but because he’s the only viable option and he at least listens to our concerns.
    That’s where I stand on all of this. I hope most gun owners will stand with me, and stand with the new leadership of the NRA.

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