Reports of the Death of the NRA Have Evidently Been Greatly Exaggerated

virginia governor Coonman Northam cropped

Joe Mahoney/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

This is exactly why it’s so important for the NRA to clean its own house. As we’ve said dozens of times, the protection and expansion of responsible firearms ownership in this country is served by a healthy, well-run, effective National Rifle Association.

The NRA’s status in American politics has seemed in doubt amid multimillion-dollar shortfalls in the organization’s budget, an ongoing investigation into its tax-exempt status by New York’s attorney general and allegations that the group has been manipulated by Russian influence-peddlers. Earlier this year its president, Oliver North, was forced out of office in a leadership tussle with chief executive Wayne LaPierre.

But this week’s events in Richmond showed that the organization continues to wield significant influence at the grass-roots level. Its legions of members – the group does not release figures but said it has “hundreds of thousands” in Virginia – are reliable voters who show up even during off-year elections.

Backed by those foot soldiers, NRA officials enjoy access to top politicians. Virginia GOP leaders spent weeks before the special session in frequent communication with NRA experts, who provided guidance and research on how gun-control measures had fared in other states, according to several people familiar with the interactions.

While Democrats were stunned by the way the GOP leadership shut down the special legislative session, the NRA knew about the move ahead of some rank-and-file Republicans.

– Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella in The NRA is in turmoil. But in Virginia gun debate this week, the group flexed its muscles.

comments

  1. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    People who joined a membership organization to advance their interest show up when politics impact their interest.

    Shocking.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      That’s why it’s shocking the NRA was a small part of the overall presence. They had no significant involvement in the opposition until after that very nasty response to the announcement of the special session, from both protestors and politicians. Now that they knew gun control was not happening courtesy of VCDL’s efforts, they sent in a few suits to meet with elected officials behind closed doors & take credit for defusing the situation.

      10$ says that some of the guys involved in this attempted gun control effort will retain A+ ratings and NRA endorsement in next years’ elections. The closed meeting was probably assurances of continued support.

      1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

        That’s typically what they do here in PA too. FOAC and PAFOA do all the work and then NRA shows up for the photo op.

        1. avatar Ginder12 says:

          I might add the Prince law firm that has taken on the gun confiscators and handed the bastards their lunch on more than one occasion

        2. avatar Wood Handle says:

          This article is classic death throws. The NRA is down to its last few stall wart members who are now embarrassed they’re still onboard as they yell “stay the course” with the SS NRA deep under water.

          The so-called influence of the NRA cuts both ways. As a brand, the NRA is huge and toxic, a marketing superfund site, if you will.

          The only solution to the NRA now is total containment and then bury it deep in the desert.

        3. avatar MarkPA says:

          “FOAC and PAFOA do all the work and then NRA shows up for the photo op.” Let’s suppose that this is absolutely true. Now, should I have a problem with that?

          The best legislators money can buy know when they are being lobbied that they have to toe the line or face the wrath of the voters behind that lobbying interest.

          So, when (let’s say) the Buckeye association sends some officers to lobby Congressman X, he gets the picture. Then, the Buckeye officers leave and the NRA officers show up with AP photographers. Everybody gets the idea that the evil gun lobby is powerful and must NEVER be opposed. They will rally their voting members and crush any politician who dared to defy that Goliath.

          Yet, you protest, that it’s really 50 “Davids” who deserve the credit. They brought their slingshots and pebbles to the fight. They defeated the controllers. Yet, their massive numbers – 50 – didn’t attract the attention of the AP photogs.

          What matters? That the AP photogs captured an image of a giant Goliath? Or, that 50 Davids deserved the credit?

          I don’t mind as much that credit was stolen so much as I enjoy that the impression was left that “common sense” gun control was defeated by “the BIG bad gun lobby”. If Bozo the Clown could make such an impression I would be equally happy.

  2. avatar Aven says:

    I think the influence of the NRA recently in Virginia was much less than claimed. There were roundtables throughout the state where we went and voiced our opposition to the proposed laws. I went to the one in Abingdon, Va. and the room was packed even after they moved it to a larger room. I was notified of the meeting and the details of it through several other gun rights organizations but very little from the NRA. One thing the NRA did that I thought was in poor taste and a mistake was they had someone there giving out NRA stickers to anyone who would take one. We were there because of the attack on our constitutional rights and many of us didn’t want to leave the impression we were there to support the NRA. I think their PR stunt backfired and it made me reconsider my membership to the NRA (and their frequent begging for money).

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      They so took pictures of people in NRA T shirts for their newsletter. Their presence was more astroturf than Mom’s that day (except for all the VCDL folks who happened to be NRA members already)

  3. avatar barnbwt says:

    Huh. I could’ve sworn it was VCDL who organized the protests & petitions beforehand, because the NRA “doesn’t do those things,” and the NRA did nothing besides send some suits to talk with the politicians behind closed door. Which if history is any indication, was probably more an effort to tell them “now is not the time” than to threaten them with a voter boycott & political annihilation should they ever do something so stupidly traitorous to gun owners again, as try to ram bills through in a special session.

    1. avatar Baldwin says:

      This!

    2. avatar Aven says:

      Yes. The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has been working hard for our constitutional rights than the NFA and their PR campaign to promote themselves. I get information from the VCDL nearly every day and I got this this morning with relevant information:

      Help needed: Salem Gun show July 20-21
      Action Item: For Louisa County members
      Are your Carry Cards orange? They are outdated, toss them!
      Videos of Lobby Day will be available soon
      Coverage of Lobby Day / Special Session
      Absentee voting info
      Five main reasons why a law-abiding gun owner could end up in jail
      Why these defensive uses should disarm Second Amendment skeptics
      News report on suppressors – shows guns used with and without them to compare
      Another example of why we don’t want any Red Flag laws in Virginia
      Racism and gun laws
      Florida pastor stops burglar at church
      Member’s LTE in the Smithfield Times
      Shocker: Many MDA members from out of state
      Senator Saslaw not happy with VCDL, says so on the Senate Floor [video]
      Remember the warning NOT to fire warning shots? This person really missed that message
      Gun control fail: Mexico homicides nearly triple the U.S. number
      A little humor: TacStorm, and for fun: miniature guns that shoot [videos]
      ATF rescinds prior methods to measure a firearm’s overall length when equipped with a stabilizing brace
      How to take back the Second Amendment in deep-blue states
      New U.S. Supreme Court ruling on prohibited persons and firearms
      Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, on psychotropic drugs as causative factor in mass shootings
      Different world under President Trump: Justice Department submit brief in support of the 2A!
      Knife-Wielding Man Kills 2, Injures 17 In Japan Mass Stabbing
      British teenagers sent to East Africa to avoid rising UK knife crime
      At least 4 killed and multiple crime scenes in Australian rampage
      Florida mother holds criminal at gun point for 26 minutes, waiting for the police!
      Training tip: penny drill
      Book on the failure of gun control to work, ever
      New Zealand gun owners NOT turning in their guns
      Protective order didn’t save soldier from his wife

      1. avatar TFred says:

        You too, can receive this FREE e-mail newsletter from the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).

        It’s the best source for Virginia-related gun rights issues available, hands down.

        https://www.vcdl.org/VA-ALERT

        Did I mention it’s FREE!?

  4. avatar enuf says:

    No amount of Public Relations Spin Doctoring is going to make me trust NRA top leadership.

    Not one damned cent $00.01 until Wayne LaPierre and his cronies are gone!!!

  5. avatar Made in America says:

    NRA. Bunch of BS. Pay the dues, suckers.
    Looking out only for their personal advantages and well fare.

  6. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I will put it this way for those who would relish the absence of the NRA, which is better a representative organization or millions of wild cards. Think seriously about that.

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      History is the best teacher. Representation and Diplomacy will only take You so far in the Quest/Preservation of Freedom. Our Founding Fathers along with 10’s of Thousands of citizens learned that lesson in the 1770’s. Civilizations have faced this question for Thousands of years. There oft times comes a point when the pen is no longer mightier than the sword. When those in Power desire nothing more than Control of The People. It has been at those times in history. When The People chose to throw off the bonds of those in Power. In many case the very people they had chosen to be their leaders or so they had thought. Every civilization has reached this crossroad it’s history. Has OUR nation reached that point in it’s history. Time Will Tell.

  7. avatar Darkman says:

    I joined as a Life member decades ago with a lump sum payment. Other than buying a couple of items from the NRA store. I stopped all monetary support because. They(NRA Leadership) were/are slowly chopping off the limbs of the Tree of Liberty. Regardless of the Why or Who. Treason is Treason. The Penalty for which is and has always been Death. So if the NRA must die So be it. The True Patriots of Freedom do not reside in some Crystal Palace in Fairfax Virginia. Patriotism resides in the hearts of the Men and Women of this Great Nation who have fought and died to Preserve it’s Freedoms. As well as in those still believe those Freedom are worth fighting for. How do YOU Choose? Are those Freedoms still worth fighting for? Freedom has never been Free. It has always required the blood of average Men and Women to Attain and Preserve. Will You/WE allow it to continue to die a withering death at the hands of those who detest OUR Freedom? Wishing only to subjugate The People in pursuit of Total Control. Is this the future You/We want to leave to OUR children? Will YOU when laying on Your death bed in some distant future. When your Freedoms are gone and the hope for your Children’s Freedoms are nonexistent. Not wish You had stood up and at least tried to give them Freedom. True there are no guarantees in the fight or life. It is a sure thing if You choose to not fight. The enemy will Always win. Keep Your Powder Dry.

    1. avatar ron says:

      well said –I agree with you …. but who is going to wear the suit and ties in the courts to fight the liberals and leftist ? who want total control of the American Citizens. Even if we all were to gather at the White House – in Protest of States Gun Control & to Protect our 2nd Amendment. It would be hard for us all to leave our jobs and homes to gather and Protest….. I am retired so I can go anytime and hold a sign — but this is why we have so many Organizations to Represent us . to keep and bear our arms …. right? As long as the NRA and others do their job — I will still throw & at them to be there and represent ME….

  8. avatar User1 says:

    There were multiple 2A groups there. It wasn’t just the NRA. There was at least 3 others. Maj Toure also made it out there.

    1. avatar User1 says:

      The media only likes to focus on the boogeyman [NRA]. They don’t like to mention other 2A groups. Giving other groups recognition could increase their size and political power. The media must put the focus on the organization that is willing to pass gun control. Hence why they mentioned gun confiscation can pass seeing that the NRA and Trump support it.

      Notice how they named all the anti gun groups?

      Come on people. Don’t be fooled. You have to at least get on their level.

      1. avatar Carl B. says:

        Horsesh**.

        1. avatar User1 says:

          The NRA supports gun confiscation powers and ATF regulations to get rid of bump fire stocks. Trump supports even more gun control than that.

          Did you read the article? If you did you would see that they named like 4 anti gun groups that were there and only 2 of the pro gun groups, they didn’t name the GOA or mention Black Guns Matter was there too. They correctly state that the NRA and Trump have said they would support certain gun control.

          Where is the horseshit?

          I saw a video of the commie mommies yelling at American Firearms Coalition thinking they were the NRA. Even the article appears to mention them as being part of the NRA.

        2. avatar User1 says:

          Did you know that Wayne and Cox where Democrat aids before taking over the NRA?

  9. avatar daveinwyo says:

    Really tired of seeing whiny wayne le pew’s face on other sites begging for money. Maybe he should sell a few of his suits and toys if he’s that hard up.
    Let the beast die.
    As nature hates a vacuum, another group will rise to the top.

  10. avatar David Bradford says:

    MarkPA says:
    July 14, 2019 at 12:41
    “FOAC and PAFOA do all the work and then NRA shows up for the photo op.” Let’s suppose that this is absolutely true. Now, should I have a problem with that?

    YES, Yes you should have a problem with that.
    As long as the NRA is allowed to claim it is their efforts that are making positive difference in moving legislation(a complete lie, mind you) they will continue to strip the limited discretionary funding for the fight for our 2nd amendment rights away from the folks who are actually doing the work. I mean, would you be OK if some lazy ass coworker got your Christmas bonus because he had his picture taken next to the work you did and claimed he did all the work himself? We POTG that lack the skills, expertise and time to fight the legal fights in the courts and in congress are willing to put forth the funds to support those that can and will take on that task. Every time the NRA gets away with deceiving some uninformed gun owner that they are the only option that portion of funding is lost from the real fight. The NRA takes in something like $350-$400 million annually, the majority of which is pissed away on things that have nothing to do with guns, gun owners or 2nd amendment rights advocacy. That money will be there for advocacy and litigation regardless of the NRAs’ existence. Better that no one gets recognition than have our money go to con artist who will take our money but never show up to do the work that we paid for in advance.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Sending money to the NRA is a distinct issue from who takes the credit for defending gun rights.

      Albeit I’m still a life member, I haven’t been sending money to NRA for a couple of years now; long before the current controversies.

      If we are to keep our thinking clear we need to refrain from conflating issues that ought to be considered independently.

      IF NRA were merely a shell organization with a budget just sufficient to set-up photo ops then it might serve a useful purpose by focusing attention on what would be perceived to be the biggest and meanest SoB in the valley.

      IF NRA were a huge money generating machine which were used to fund grass-roots operations that were effective, then it would serve a useful purpose.

      Tragically, at the moment, it appears to be a huge money generating machine which primarily sets up photo ops to generate huge amounts of money. So, I think we agree about the substance of the issues; we merely disagree on whether NRA’s appearing to be a big mean SoB on Capital Hill is good/bad thing.

  11. avatar "keep yur hands off my dead guy" possum says:

    Whats an NRA? I can’t get all worked up over something if I don’t know what it is.

  12. avatar FedUp says:

    Not a dime until Wayne LaPierre & Company are gone.

  13. avatar Anymouse says:

    NRA membership tops out at 6 million. The $50M spent on Trump was unprecedented. Their influence isn’t their money or membership. They cloak themselves in the mantel of the tens of millions of dedicated 2A advocates, or the 100M+ gun owners, in general. Politicians advertise their ratings, and members disseminate them to other gun owners.

  14. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

    NRA has historically shown up for the photo op regardless of the extent of their role in accomplishing something. They want to hold the baby even if they’ve never met the parents.
    Folks might be more inclined to notice now that their shenanigans have been shown the light of day, but the tactic is not new on their part.
    The next news item I care to hear from or about NRA is what time that morning they showed WLP the door.

  15. avatar The Grey Man says:

    A lot of libs coming here judging by the comments…..

    1. avatar daveinwyo says:

      Now, you are just being insulting.
      Libs, and a few do show up, would be crowing and shouting for glee.
      Most all comments are just the truth as some see it, myself included.
      Hard to prove our credibility behind a keyboard. Keep reading and come back later.

    2. avatar Cpt. Obvious says:

      Don’t be absurd. Libs would never come here, with topically made-up names like ‘enuff’ and ‘FedUp’ etc etc etc etc etc, spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt, to weaken the NRA after the attempted coup to take it over blew up in their faces. Bloomberg would literally never pay people to come here and shill that way. The anti-gun Left are too honest and honorable for such things. Yep, that scoundrel NRA guy is The Devil. He’s trickin’ all us slackjawed hayseeds out of our BudLight money. Eff that crook!!

      Just like most of us here, I am 110% sure, from our decades of all being a Top Level D.C. lobbyist and heads of a large national corporations, that NRA chief WLP holds no mojo whatsoever .. and what Really swings the day isn’t backroom agreements between long-established powerbrokers, .. and contact lists of Millions of politically active people, .. but rather me and Jimbo going down the courthouse and scowling sternly. Yep, we totally raised hell! Eff the NRA. No more money until that guy we tried to overthrow, err .. I mean that rotten bastard that definitely only loves money, gets thrown out!! Rarwr!!!

      Some internet alias — I agree with ‘that last guy’!! Fvk the NRA!!

      Subsequent internet alias — Fvk ’em!! Hey, me too!! Grrr!!!

      Seems more like a ‘real’ name — Rawrr!! Yep!! Grrr!! So say we all!!

  16. avatar Old Hawg says:

    I just renewed my membership in the NRA because even if the organization doesn’t do all it should, it has undeniable political clout. It also serves as a lightning rod for the criticism heaped upon the POTG. What I will NOT do is respond with my “hard-earned” to their constant puling for donations, replete with dire forecasts of the evisceration of the Second Amendment. The NRA will not see another dime for me until Wayne LaPierre and his coterie in the Board of Directors is gone and a neutral party audit is conducted.

  17. avatar Aleric says:

    “Backed by those foot soldiers, NRA officials enjoy access to top politicians. Virginia GOP leaders spent weeks before the special session in frequent communication with NRA experts, who provided guidance and research on how gun-control measures had fared in other states, according to several people familiar with the interactions.”

    Translation: the politicians wanted to make sure the money they get was still going to be coming in as promised regardless of what the outcome was.

  18. avatar Mikial says:

    The NRA definitely played a role here as we fought for our rights, but we also had our state organization (VCDL) and GOA and they were both significant contributors to our success in shutting the governor down.

  19. let us not let ANY pro gun organization die. we need ALL of then if we want to win. and the NRA, while not being perfect ( and I have some issues with one of the others) still does a lot for our rights. all you are doing is falling into a communist ( democrat) plot to get rid of the biggest , most known pro gun organization so the communist wont have them opposing all their efforts. and without them can get rid of our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. all you do is help them accomplish that. you all play right into their hands and help them, and you don’t see what is going on. they are trying their best to divide us and conquer and get rid of the NRA so they can start chipping away at our rights. WAKE UP!

    1. avatar User1 says:

      What about those Republican politicians that are helping the communists? What about those Republican politicians that support and pass gun control? What about Trump who also supports, calls for and passes gun control?

      What about the Virginia Republicans that wanted to make it a felony to bring a gun onto public property? They wanted to make more gun free zones. What about the Republican president that signed the gun free zone law in the first place?

      What about all the NRA supported, backed or written gun control passed in the last 85 years?

      Where is the unity there?

      1. avatar Ad Astra says:

        Yes thats just we need a good ‘ol stalin esque purge of everyone not up to the most stringent levels of ideological purity. Yup that wouldn’t help the anti 2A crowd at all would it.

        1. avatar User1 says:

          So you support the “Republicans” that introduce and pass gun control? Are you criticizing the guy that says we shouldn’t support those people in their efforts to help the communists get what they want? You blame me for helping the commies when the “conservatives” take the commies’ bills and willfully sign them into law?

          You are one confused person.

        2. avatar User1 says:

          And… Would you chastise the founders of the U.S. for arguing for a certain “purity” of their ideology during the creation of the U.S.?

  20. avatar JW says:

    Life member here. The NRA may not be dead, but they are dead to me (and my wallet) until Wayne and his cronies are gone. There are other 2A rights organizations doing good work – no need for me to buy dinner for Wayne mistress.

  21. avatar TomC says:

    The NRA is highly effective at the grass roots level in many states. The state level organizations are also significantly more pro-RKBA than the national organization has ever been.

    The national organization takes credit for every victory that the state level people achieve, even when the victory is achieved with zero (or even less) support from ‘National’

  22. avatar GS650G says:

    It comes down to individuals and their interactions with politicians. That includes the ballot box which the left is trying to stuff with illegals and such. If the pols think noisy leftists can vote them out by any means necessary they cater to them, simple.
    Lost in this is the constitutional right to arms, almost like it’s debatable.

  23. avatar Terry Story says:

    I am a Benefactor Life member of the NRA and although I would like to see the leadership change, and the Board of Directors taking a more active oversight role in the organization, I am not going to reject my membership. nor am I going to stop donating to the. I also donate to GOA, GOC, NGOA, RMGO, and Black Guns Matter! We need every organization that exists, and we need every firearms owner behind them! If you choose to donate to any other organization and refuse to donate to the NRA, that is certainly OK, but remember that this organization is millions of members strong and they vote! That is the bottom line. If what I have read about Wayne LaPierre is correct, then he should go, but I would primarily blame the Board of Directors for allowing the executive to get away with what has happened, not the organization or the people that work for it, they are not responsible for its failures in leadership. As for the Board of Directors, all of us that are five year or more members have a vote for the board, why haven’t we exercised the power to un-elect those that are not taking care of their fiduciary duties? Why has Wayne LaPierre gotten away with supporting his mistress if that is indeed the case? Those issues need to be addressed and corrected, but to throw away the entire organization and its history of advocacy is just wrong!

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