The National Rifle Association Needs to Fix its Own Politics

nra members meeting indy 2019

Dan Z for TTAG

By MarkPA

NRA’s system for voting for members of its Board of Directors is “democratic” in the same sense as considered by the Founding Fathers in our constitutional system, i.e., a design that’s recognized as doomed to failure. Should NRA survive its current political troubles I advocate for a redesign of its electoral politics.

As presently constituted, NRA’s politics are that of a top-down self-perpetuating national organization. That’s just the opposite of the plan set for us by the Founding Fathers. As a crude first draft, I offer the following new design for NRA politics.

The NRA should be reorganized into a federation of the state “affiliates.” Each state affiliate would have its own local politics; its leaders would be elected by state-resident members. A state affiliate could have non-voting and non-resident members.

Each state affiliate would have as many votes for nominating board candidates and electing board members as it has total membership (resident and non-resident alike). Road Island would have few votes, Texas, many.

Each year a rotating slate of 25 nominating committee members would be named by state affiliates. A representative from a state could serve several years on the nominating committee (to accumulate and apply experience) but he would be term-limited. Each state would serve on the nominating committee for a term-limited number of years. Neither Rhode Island nor Texas would enjoy a permanent seat on the nominating committee.

In each annual election, the 25 state affiliates NOT on the nominating committee that year would name an “elector” to cast the state affiliate’s votes for director candidates (appointed by the nominating committee). The state affiliates electing directors would also rotate so that neither Rhode Island nor Texas would be a permanent member of the “electoral college.”

Resident voting members of each state affiliate would elect their officer to serve on the nominating committee or electoral college, as the case may be that year.

If the California state affiliate wished to be represented by a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors’ Guild, that’s fine. They could have a Ronald Reagan or Charlton Heston. A California affiliate representative could push a Tom Selleck for a director seat. Yet, it would seem unlikely that most state affiliates’ nominators/electors would push celebrity candidates.

State nominators/electors would be known by and answerable to their active state-resident members. If those members want duck-hunters, celebrities, marksmen, or 2A-advocates as directors, then that’s what they will push for in their local elections.

Nominators/electors will be likely to respond to the wishes of their members. Nominators/electors will not likely be pawns of hired officers or any other interest.

It would be mighty hard for any sector (e.g., the “greedy” gun manufacturers) to get control of both the nominating committee and the electoral college in any given annual election for directors. Just about the time they managed to hood-wink a majority of state affiliate resident members the game would change because the composition of the nominating committee and electoral colleges would turn-over. The ambitious cabal would have to start all over.

A “federal” system! What an idea! It worked once; well, sort of. It just might work again. Putting people in charge of the national organization who have proved their wisdom and leadership skills in the fires of state politics might be an idea whose time has come.

 

comments

  1. avatar Imayeti says:

    Sometimes you can throw a coat of paint on a house, and you’re good. Other times you must tear the house down and start over.

    1. avatar WI Patriot says:

      And you can put lipstick on a pig, but in the end, it’s still a pig…

      1. avatar Moses says:

        Bad idea. Rather than reinvent America inside the NRA’s wildly corrupt bureaucracy, instead gut the place and divide it into units with specialized tasks all according to the NRAs primary mission (TBD).

        If there is a clear mission, there’s no need for a complex and fear-of- unfairness mechanism. The current corruption is amplified by diluted oversight. Classic fertile grounds for waste, fraud, and abuse.

        1. I hear you – and I do not think that the two goals are mutually exclusive. The reality is that:

          1) The greatest threat to gun rights is new state laws, not federal laws.

          2) The perception – rightly or wrongly – is that the NRA has done little to nothing in many of the states at risk.

          State affiliates of both the NRA and GOA have indeed fought hard against these laws. SAF/CCRKBA has also been involved in many places. Frankly, I think a “federal” system would be a huge improvement.

      2. avatar Enuf says:

        Well, yes, but you have improved the pig’s appearance, it’s dating options and raised the pig’s self-esteem.

        Next step is a frilly party dress and an invitation to a ball at the palace……..

  2. avatar Leslie says:

    In other words, “Nothing Is Going To Happen”…

    1. avatar WI Patriot says:

      In a convoluted way around, yup…

  3. avatar Mercutio says:

    However to implement that idea you have to get rid of the kleptocrats running it now.

    1. avatar jram01 says:

      Funny thing. Just the other day, I said the same about the Ratpublicans.

  4. avatar Sam I Am says:

    MarkPA is fleshing out something written about previously – pre-existing shadow NRA, with pre-existing management/leadership organization plans. Rather than propose Mark’s changes to the existing NRA, his ideas would be ready to instantly become the structure of a renewed NRA, after collapse of the old one. We have here at least a starting point for reconstruction.

    We cannot wait until the doom to run around with our hair of fire, trying to figure out what to do in the midst of chaos. Here, we have something that can be reviewed, considered, critiqued. Let’s not fall into the comfortable mode of just slandering things we don’t like, don’t understand, and isn’t our pet hobby horse.

    We have the strategy: let NRA collapse. Now, we need to debate the tactics of the post-apocalypse reconstruction.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Bingo. That’s why the American Revolution worked as well as it did; we were already ready to govern ourselves with all the local statehouses, before the first shot was fired. In a sense, the war was already won before it started. The first step to removing the old regime, is to have something superior to take its place, otherwise the whole exercise is guaranteed to be self-defeating (see: French Revolution).

      The local, regional, and state chapters of NRA or even non-NRA gun rights groups need to start preparing to take on a whole lot more responsibility and importance than they have today, because whatever shakes out in VA, it’s almost certain that they will have a much greater role in the gun rights battle than they do today. Can’t rely on the NRA to do the work, can’t rely on the NRA to coordinate, can’t rely on the NRA to cover for failures.

      The other advantage to this ‘federation’ system is diffusion. If the National NRA is made up of independent delegates from 50-100 different orgs, there is practically no way to take the whole structure down at once. Not even by force. There’s no central funding or communication system to attack, let alone an obvious target like a fixed leadership hierarchy. The disadvantage is not much different than what he have today; the delegates will inevitably conspire with each other to steal donor money, so you will doubtless have pork projects and side-dealing. Nothing besides watchdog groups and a requirement to keep expenditures/voting records open can counter that; in other words, a vigilant membership. Personally, I think the membership will tend to be more interested if the group is successful and responsive to their needs. People get apathetic when they are shut out of decision making & holding the org accountable, which is how the NRA has always operated up until now.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “The first step to removing the old regime, is to have something superior to take its place,…”

        Along with the tactical effort in designing and controlling a renewed organization, it is important to understand how attractive it is to let someone else carry the water for a price.

        One good element of a federal system of governance for NRA is that state organizations would be the place to gauge the commitment of gun owners to their own success. Would local members be more active if the national group was not the controlling element? Do members today just look at the fight as being a matter of the membership dues paying for someone else to do the heavy work? Would that mindset be different if it were local/state organizations as the point of contact? Would a re-constituted NRA again become the surrogate for activism for a relatively small number of gun owners? Is a new organization to be the driver of 2A activism, or a clearinghouse and coordinating committee?

        Of course, all the current NRA members (and might become members) must agree on the strategy, first.

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          Both types of member will always be present, the important thing is to ensure that those who are interested in an active role, are given the opportunity to drive the org’s direction. Personally, I think voting rights need to be accompanied by attendance at an NRA event at the very least, if not actual participation/service. Not just giving enough money. Everything about the status quo –pay-for-status, fear-mongering for donations, funky ballot system, unaccountable low-profile “true” leadership figures, emphasis on lobbying over outreach, life memberships– is intended to create a membership that passively accepts the leaderships’ direction, while handing over money & being told that is the extent of their duty.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Both types of member will always be present,…”

          Thinking about the low attendance at state/local pro-2A rallies.

          Agree that voting should only include members at a national convention; challenge of commitment. Kinda does negate the “elector” concept, though.

        3. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

          I agree changes need to take place ASAP. However, I have to disagree with the proposal.

          First of all, we need far fewer Board Members – I would suggest 12 maximum. The proposed system would perpetuate a far too large Board.
          Second, many NRA members – including voting members – do not belong to their state associations and may not want to join.
          Third, many state organizations are run the same way the NRA is run, albeit on a smaller scale. The paid Exec controls his/her Board and ends up with much of the income of the association. Why would they want to change the NRA?
          Fourth, the current NRA sends money to state associations that toe the line regarding supporting WLP and his group. How many state associations are involved in trying to overthrow WLP?

          Just my two cents.

      2. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        This could also lead to further membership in states that feel left out. Can I blame those people in “lost” states for saying that they’re going to put their pro gun dollars elsewhere? Not really if the NRA’s advocacy in certain states is limited to “easy” fights.

  5. avatar FedUp says:

    Should NRA survive its current political troubles I advocate for a redesign of its electoral politics.

    They already did that, redesigned them to further entrench Wayne’s position. Just part of the problem, of course.

  6. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    The New Rifle Association; we’re the NRA.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      “Hey, we can keep our monogrammed slippers, this way!”

  7. avatar GS650G says:

    Anything to keep a few from enriching themselves.

  8. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Actor Ed Asner representing california on the NRA board???? Or Rosie O’Donnell???
    California voters are very strange. They recently voted to raise gas prices on themselves. And then they blame the oil companies.

  9. avatar daveinwyo says:

    And stop promotional give aways made in china. i.e. crappy knives and cheap bags.
    Maybe sell wayne la pew targets? I’d buy a dozen for a buck.

  10. avatar glitch says:

    To be fair, the Founding Fathers did institute a fairly top down system of politics, and the elite from the beginning essentially dictated what candidates would be on the ballot. Voting was originally restricted at the state level, senators weren’t directly elected, electoral college, etc.

  11. avatar Ogre says:

    While I am unsure if the system proposed by MarkPA would work effectively, I think it is definitely worthy of debate. In the case of the current NRA leadership, I think it would take the equivalent of the American Revolution to get rid of the NRA’s entrenched leaders to effectively install new ones, and have the “federal” system MarkPA describes take over. The new structure would have to be ready to go when the old one is brought down, while our anti-gun adversaries dance around what they think are the ruins of disaster that the NRA is wallowing in. Could it be done? IMHO, it remains to be seen, but if steps of this or any other kind are to be taken to cure what ails the NRA, they need to be well thought-out and ready to go immediately. Or, if a New Rifle Association is formed as an alternative to the current NRA, with members transferring from the old to the new, it needs to be stood-up and ready to go, with the support of all state associations.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Dress up as wild Antifa and throw YETI coolers into the nearby James river in protest?

    2. And as long as we are rebuilding the NRA, let’s re-charter it in a more 2nd amendment- friendly state than the current one. Wouldn’t you love to hear what Cuomo would have to say when he discovered that he was losing one of his favorite in-state organizations to heap his hate upon.

      1. avatar Leslie says:

        So you’re saying the NRA doesn’t support the 2nd Amendment in the claim of “the right to bear arms”. By cutting out the population of New York States of ~19.5 million people, those people and others like them don’t have the [right] to bear arms. The [right] being an “Organized Militia” or the Military Only…

  12. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    What does lipstick on pigs have to do with it? The idea is to fix it. I am afraid Wayne has forgotten what the organization’s purpose is and it is the board’s job to re-affirm that purpose whether it still lead by Wayne or someone else. Someone like Kayne Robinson would be a good replacement, someone who has used firearms and in some way shape or form run a substantial organization. And has had to function in a political atmosphere.

  13. avatar 10x25mm says:

    Just keep in mind that our enemies are billionaires and would love the opportunity to take control of the NRA by paying dues for phony members.

    Are you ready for Michael Bloomberg as EVP of the NRA?

    1. avatar Ing says:

      They could be doing that right now, but they’re not. (Or are they…? We may never know.)

      The way the NRA runs now, they don’t need to go to that kind of effort. All they need is to ensure that one or two people at the top remain pliable/corruptible, and they’ve got their own “loyal opposition.”

  14. avatar Mark says:

    As a former NRA member who refuses to fund LaPierre and his overpaid minions, once I learned about LaPierre making some $900,000 per year via IRS tax filings, and the way the NRA currently prevents the Board from almost any meaningful control over anything, I was not shocked at the current house of cards tumbling down. See also: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/secrecy-self-dealing-and-greed-at-the-nra
    for more on the story.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      “Libural lies! And pictures, depositions, and SEC filings of also lies!”

    2. Everyone who wants to see WLP removed, should click on the link for the New Yorker that Mark has provided. If you read the information presented in the articles, it gives a way that POSSIBLY WLP can be removed..It also reveals some of the corruption there is within the NRA.

  15. avatar former water walker says:

    Reform all you want …not reupping until old Wayne goes. Not debatable!

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      me too…baby!…..not one more penny!…

  16. avatar Former board member says:

    I was on the NRA Board for 3 terms.

    A 75/76 member BoD is designed to fail. No successful corporation would put up with the bickering and fictionalization that it fosters.

    The size should be 18 or 15.

    The Nominating committee should be 5, two directors and 3 state activists (all rotated annually).

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, the directors must be willing to DISCIPLINE an EVP who disobeys their directives. Fine him up to $100,000 for each violation. The EVP must be an EMPLOYEE not a KING FOR LIFE as Wayne has become.

  17. avatar #2020Matters says:

    https://www.instagram.com/2020americamatters/

    Wayne must go NRA can u not hear us for the last 20+ years??

    Join FPC,GOA,SAF the real activist doing work with far less resources!

  18. avatar Mikial says:

    There’s no questions the NRA needs to clean up its own house. But I want everyone to know that the NRA was here in Virginia helping us (along with the GOA and the VCDL) to defeat Governor Northam’s anti-Second Amendment ploy to divert attention from his own failings as an elected official. They were certainly not the only one helping in this, but they were right there beside us throughout the whole thing. So before you toss the baby out with the bathwater, please remember that it is only in unity we will defeat our enemies. By all means, demand the NRA clean house and LaPierre step down, but don’t abandon it in these dangerous times. That will only serve the Socialist’s interests.

    1. avatar Leslie says:

      Even if Cleaning Within means keeping the Old Guard emplace! Then where’s the change then…

  19. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    If Wayne LaPee Pee doesn’t step down he will assuredly take the NRA down with him.

  20. avatar George D. Venable says:

    Nominating Committees named by Wayne are a problem for sure. I only vote for those 1 or 2 each year that were nominated by PETITION. Sadly, the percentage of eligible NRA members that do vote is low also. I’d like to see the petition process made easier and more of us vote only for those folks.

  21. avatar Jeff says:

    Road Island ain’t a state.

  22. avatar MIO says:

    Why y’all hanging on to this defunct organization? You can write a thousand articles and it will change nothing. It’s over

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Why y’all hanging on to this defunct organization? You can write a thousand articles and it will change nothing. It’s over”

      In a word….branding.

  23. avatar thebronze says:

    The NRA needs to be overhauled, but this isn’t it.

    Way too cumbersome.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “The NRA needs to be overhauled, but this isn’t it.
      Way too cumbersome.”

      The US constitution is way too cumbersome, for a reason.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email