[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 MD Matt:
I want to start by saying I am not an NRA member and at this rate probably will never be. This is not for lack of desire on my part, but for lack of results on the part of the NRA.
As a gun owner in a very blue state, I don’t have the luxury of spending my funds on bumbling giants that support anti-gun causes. The NRA claims to have a powerful lobbying arm—and maybe it does. Certainly, they’ve made themselves a fixture in the Republican electoral process, but how many substantive policies did they drive through with Republicans in control of the House and Senate?
I realize that it might have been difficult to get a super majority in either house but as far as I can see they didn’t even try. Bump stock ban? They supported it before they were against it, before they were for it—again.
The NRA has done a terrible job articulating its mission and how that mission actually benefits its members. They have done a great job soliciting more and more money, but on the merits, they have done a terrible job allocating resources to further 2A causes.
Now we learn that the organization has significant financial, legal, and leadership problems. If it wants to be a shooting sports organization, then it should focus on that mission. If it wants to defend 2A rights, then it should focus on that mission as well.
If it wants to earn my patronage, it needs to get its house in order, stop the transparent money grabs, and start actually fighting for 2A rights.
Why should anyone join an organization where they will have no meaningful voice, no common cause, and be constantly solicited for more and more donations for no meaningful results?
It is not a privilege to join the NRA. It is a privilege to represent millions of Americans. The NRA needs to take less and start serving more.
From Barron Clark:
My opinion regarding the recent NRA controversies is pretty simple: the NRA leadership needs to hold itself to a higher standard.
Gun rights are under constant attack in this country. Many people in the anti-gun crowd have been mislead to believe that they have the moral high ground. They believe their desire to infringe on our rights will actually lead to more safety for the average American (CDC-accepted estimates of annual defensive firearms use compared to generally-accepted statistics for firearms-related homicides show us that this is not even close to true).
Most of them are genuinely good people who honestly believe they’re doing the right thing. The NRA cannot adequately counter these people in the public eye while tainted by corruption, scandal, private interests, and infighting.
The NRA leadership must hold itself to a higher standard. The NRA needs to stand for all Americans, and it needs to do so justly, ethically, and morally. People who cannot embody those values have no place in NRA leadership.
That’s my two cents. Two cents off, today only.
And from Clifford Classen:
The finale to Game of Thrones, a series only available on a premium channel, drew more viewers than the finale of The Big Bang Theory, the most popular comedy on free network television. Sears, JC Penney, and Macys are either dying or working on it.
GE, once the darling of Wall Street and every MBA program in America, has fallen so far the DJIA dropped it. Ford, realizing that they haven’t made any money on a car other than the Mustang in 15 years, is dropping the sale of cars to focus on CUVs, SUVs and trucks.
Amazon and Google are barely old enough to drink legally and Facebook has just entered puberty. This recitation is simply to remind everyone that things change, and can change very rapidly.
Oh look! I just received a giant direct mail solicitation featuring some kind of giveaway from the NRA. It is 1995 again. I have a suspicion that most NRA members did the same thing I did with that envelope: straight to the recycle bin without even bothering to open it.
It has the same problem that Harley Davidson has; an increasingly older demographic. That is fine for the AARP, not so fine if you are planning on remaining relevant.
While Donald Trump is no spring chicken, his marketing strategies are cutting edge. So, while getting younger or more “diverse” is not necessarily a winning strategy (ask Beto how his Presidential run is going), leadership does require a nimbleness that the current leadership of the NRA has manifestly displayed it does not have.
It is unfortunate that the most conspicuous display of managerial floundering is also the seediest; its finances. It is pretty clear that the NRA spends a great deal of money raising money, a major red flag in the charity business.
Indeed, if it wasn’t because of what is supposed to be its primary mission — protecting the Second Amendment — I would never donate to the NRA because of that (see: Wounded Warriors).
My suspicion is that the NRA is like the department store of old, trying to be all things to all people in an age when that strategy is difficult to say the least. Amazon proves every day it is possible to be close to a one-stop destination, it just uses an entirely different mechanism.
The current management of the NRA has to do several things: 1) Come clean on its financing debacles, 2) Display how they are going to radically change their marketing, and 3) Recognize a massive streamlining of the organization has to occur.
I don’t see the current management being up to those tasks. They have to go.