TTAG Readers on the National Rifle Association’s Current Controversies

nra heaquarters hq

Courtesy NRA

[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.

 

comments

  1. avatar rdsii64 says:

    I purposely let my NRA membership laps as they have done nothing to earn my donation in a very long time. I now donate those funds to the GOA! Until I see an honest good faith attempt to right the ship, the NRA can die on a vine.

  2. avatar MMurcek says:

    I’ll send them a contribution when they dump angry woman Dana Loesch.

    1. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

      What is the problem with Dana? I actually thought she was a very good idea.

      1. avatar elsullo says:

        Among many other ridiculous rants, she once on her YouTube channel called gun control advocates, “GODLESS LIBERALS!” and actually implied that “liberals” (whatever THEY are?) that oppose gun freedoms are motivated by SATAN and want all citizens to be enslaved by Coastal Liberal Elitists. Now, that repels me very much, as I happen to be a “liberal” who strongly supports the Second Amendment as the anchor of our liberty. I too oppose “liberal elitists,” but not because any SATAN is theoretically involved. She does NOTHING to educate “liberals” to a more open point of view. She is DRIVING AWAY support for firearm freedoms!……………………………….elsullo

        1. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

          As with lots of different applications, I think the crux of the problem is the term liberal. Literal definition of the term applies to folks like you, but to mistakenly use is to encompass the “real” fascists also is indeed wrong. As far as Dana is concerned, that’s the only critique I have, she alliterates the feelings most of us have concerning the “grabbers”!

  3. avatar Ron says:

    I knew the NRA was in trouble financially when my NRA member cap had a “Made in China” label. I, too, have grown weary of the constant request to extend my membership several months after I did just that! Also have grown tired of the multitude of gimmicks, drawings, and other such methods used to raise funding! As a second generation NRA member/supporter (I’m 80 now…) I want to see some changes… or I’ll be moving on to the GOA.

  4. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

    Their failures extend well beyond Wayne & Co. getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
    The core mission of NRA is NOT being accomplished. The executive lifestyles, lack of accountability, contempt for membership and the galactic amount of arrogance displayed when challenged or called to account are setting us back decades in the fight to preserve 2A in an increasingly hostile environment.
    The general public’s already strained tolerance of NRA has worsened. Their effectiveness as a lobbying or advocacy arm are being limited. The costs of legal defenses for the NY AG and other cases, coupled with declining donations and membership will be difficult to recover from. For NRA to spend more on defense than advocacy is unforgivable.
    Costs and declining student numbers resulting from a period of terrible, indefensible press pieces affect Instructors, Coaches, Counselors and schools.
    Empowering the anti’s with self inflicted wounds is bad enough. Refusing to accept the will of the membership and doubling down on shitty past practices is, as far as I am concerned, a breach of their contract with membership and sponsors to uphold sound business practices and to maintain fiduciary accountability. Neither of which they have.

  5. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    I’ll say it again; yes WE have our problems for sure. You also have to be able to separate the flyshit from the peppercorns! We have a whole slew of enemies out there who will do anything they can legally or otherwise to destroy us, many of whom are not beneath posing as members. Sure GOA is another great organization, the more the merrier, let’s just keep everyone honest and stay together! An awful lot depends on it.

  6. avatar Eugene Ninnie says:

    The LOVE of MONEY and GREED are KILLING the USA. The NRA is not immune to this rampant social disease. It is pervasive in every industry. The above author is correct get back to the BASICS and I say stop with the Wash DC money God worship that has corrupted lobbyists and politicians alike and have damaged the membership from effectively stopping anti 2A emotionally driven twits

  7. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Wayne LaPee and the complete management along with the board of directors have to be gutted from the organization if there is in hope in saving it.

  8. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Dan

    TTAG should also stay true to its mission.

    Of the last 20 posts or so…..1 has been about a gun.

    And that one not really a review…more of a history overview.

    If this is going to become Guns in the News or Gun Legislation or Political Battles of Guns…..you are going to lose readership.

    Where is Jeremy or Chris and a review or two. ?

    Remember…need to balance the political/legal battles with the fun stuff as well.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      I was ready to disagree, but it turns out that I can’t. I like the political content and realize it’s always been part of the charter, but there is such a thing as too much.

      I miss the part where TTAG writes about actual guns.

      Reviews and informative explorations of how we actually USE guns are what I first came here for — and what I stayed for — but they’ve been few and far between in recent weeks and months.

      Jeremy and Chris are making guns instead of writing about them now, and there seems to be no one to fill the void.

      Heck, if TTAG could supply the ammo plus a bit of remuneration for the significant effort it takes to do a good review, I’d jump at it. Hmmm… Now that I think about it…I could actually do it. Not like Foghorn and Jeremy did it, but I bet I could keep people coming back for more.

      Dan, I’ll be sending you an official letter of application asap.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I don’t think you guys really understand a big chunk of this.

        Part of this is that new guns get released each year. That means the writers go to SHOT and figure out what’s interesting/new/innovative and what they want to review. They have to put in a request with the manufacturers for that which puts them on a list.

        Then they have to wait for the guns to be shipped by the manufacturer to the reviewers and, if they’re down farther on the list they have to wait for the test model to be tested by everyone farther up in the line and then get shipped to them which is why they sometimes get dirty or mistreated guns.

        Then they actually have to do the review and write it up, submit it and then it has to go through editing before it can be posted. If other stuff comes up in the meantime then the review gets bumped in favor of the “hotter” news.

        On top of all of that if they need to talk to a vendor there’s more time for that too.

        They don’t just run out and buy one of each gun to test each year because that would be way, way too expensive for the business model they’re using. So there’s a significant lag time on this.

        And you should be glad about this process to some degree because the reverse would be incredibly annoying too. If we all knew there was a major court decision or law passed or NRA issue and TTAG didn’t cover that so that they could run three new reviews people would complain about “canned content” as they do on other sites.

        I can also say from personal experience that the review process often kills a good percentage of the enjoyment you get out of this kind of thing. You stop constantly to take notes, record data, look shit up and test things so that you’re getting it right, oh and take pictures, record data, touch up those pictures potentially or reshoot them because they didn’t come out right, review, review, review, edit, review some more, edit. Then submit for another round of editing from fresh eyes, which in my experience can take anywhere from a week to a month depending on what’s going on.

        Of course then there’s weather and life that get in the way too. Do you really want a review of a serious target rifle that was done at 200 yards in a blinding rainstorm with gusts to 60mph? No, that’s an entirely unfair review process.

        On top of that, not shitting on TTAG here, but I can tell you they don’t really pay that well so this is a side gig that isn’t getting 40 hours a week unless you’ve got a trust-fund kid reviewing this stuff. That’s just the nature of TTAG’s business model. You don’t pay for this website so they don’t pay top-dollar for reviews, which keeps the site free and supported by ad revenue instead of paid memberships.

        As such it takes a lot more time than you might expect. If I hand you a pile of a dozen guns and you come back in a month or two with the reviews you better be retired and super dedicated because otherwise you didn’t put in enough time for them to even be worth editing.

        Why do you think TTAG does reader-submitted reviews? Because that gets them a fuck-load of reviews that they really can’t do themselves.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          Pretty sure I understand fine. They have a site called TTAG.

          The original site had a variety of posts/articles/reviews/opinions and yes, a double dose of pompacity with RF. But that was ok.

          So RF sold out to some “group” that spends less effort, energy, and resources in covering a diverse approach to guns and gun-related topics. So, we get lots of bits from other publications/ sites that require little effort and hopefully are provocative enough to get clicks. Need some unique content to keep my attention. I seem to pan about 60% of the current content without reading. In short, I look for what interests me.

          And …. I was not asking for a review of each new piece to hit the market. Just some articles on guns and shooting that dont necessarily have anything to do with latest suppressor/ binary trigger/RMR/night vision optic that someone thinks I need to buy.

          I have written for newsletters and blogs and it is standard to mete out articles on a variety of topics while making room for some breaking story or up-coming trend.

          The work required is irrelevant. My point is that if this trend on TTAG continues, readership will suffer (my opinion). I was offering constructive criticism for the site. They will make their own decisions.

        2. avatar Ing says:

          I’ve been here since TTAG was just a scrappy little upstart blog and have been a professional marketing writer for 15 years, so I do understand the limitations of time, space, and money in content creation…and I know how it used to be. It used to be more and better in regards to content about actual guns.

          Even with the time it takes to get T&E guns and turn them around, there should be a consistent pipeline. But where ARE the reviews? Either someone let the pipeline dry up or there’s no one on hand to keep the reviews coming. Jeremy and Chris are busy building guns instead of talking about them. Or maybe TTAG isn’t really in that part of the biz anymore. (I hope not.)

          No plans to get rich or famous here. I just love to shoot guns and rarely get to do so these days, and would also like to write about them. I have no illusions about being as prolific as Foghorn or Jeremy or as knowledgeable as any number of regulars in the comment section, but I’ve done reviews before and I know how to write engaging content.

          I will admit that I got all excited in the heat of the moment… Do I really have the time and energy and gun expertise to devote to a regular slate of reviews? On sober reflection, I have my doubts. But I genuinely would like to help TTAG continue being awesome.

  9. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Well-written opinion. I will hold out on my next membership, to see if anything positive comes from all the negative publicity. As of this moment, I see NOTHING to indicate the leadership of the NRA (with a couple of exceptions) has ANY intention of taking positive measures. The first would be LaPierre voluntarily stepping down. Without that first step, I see a, old boys club about to flounder and sink.

    I hope a BETTER organization takes its place.

  10. avatar daveinwyo says:

    @ Specialists38; YES, upvote X 10!
    Quit with the failed NRA narrative. I will put my money where I want. Enough shilling for wayne’s world. Yes, guns in the news is important, but not every day!
    Get/go back to talking guns. Like the fact that Henry can’t keep it’s new single shot .410 in stock w/ a 8-10 week wait. My LGS called this afternoon and asked if I still wanted one, said 3 were available, said yes. Called me back after 1st call and none left after he placed my order. Now that IS gun news!

    1. avatar BORING says:

      This IS getting quite monotonous. If TTAG wants my thoughts on the NRA, it’s this. Stop these stupid pieces on the NRA and move on. I think everyone has expressed their opinion. Let’s talk about GUNS.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Thanks Dave. Did you buy the Henry?
      Love me some single shot shotgun. Great fun.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Oops….re-read you comment. Sorry you got sniped.

        1. avatar daveinwyo says:

          @ 38; ‘sok yes be here next week. First ever single shot break action. Looking forward to some grouse. Mostly for pest control, damn starlings get in my chicken coop and make a mess.

        2. avatar Specialist38 says:

          Cool have fun. I use a single shot for pest control a lot.

          410 is handy for snakes and armadillos. Guess yall dont have armadillos.

  11. avatar Gary says:

    When the focus turns to personal wealth instead of the mission statement of the organization; it fails everyone but the ones with the deposit slips. And when facts come to light that give the average man pause to consider misconduct, and the doors get closed; that is when my wallet slams shut along with my open mind. The NRA has really screwed the proverbial pooch this time. As long as the stench remains, my support will be absent.

  12. avatar Joe says:

    I wonder how many of you $hit heads that are complaining are really gun owners and have ever been members of the NRA. Are they a perfect representation for firearm owners. No. Have they represented every firearm sportsman there is, including hunting rights, AR owners rights, handgun owners rights? They most definitely have. They have the largest influence on Congress bar none. And always have. So if you want to flush your gun rights down the toilet, or you’re really Democrat trolls, please continue on with this debate. The NRA has its problems, but it’s the best thing firearm owners have going. Remember the Lefts mantra is to divide and conquer. They are accomplishing that here.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      The NRA leadership does not need any help from outsiders in dividing the gun culture. They are doing pretty good on that front: support for the bump stock ban, support for red flag laws, stabbing state gun rights organizations in the back on easing carry restrictions and on constitutional carry, taking credit for the work by actual gun rights organizations (e.g., SAF’s SCOTUS cases), throwing the USCCA out of the Annual Meeting, executing a piss-poor attempt of taking business away from the USCCA costing the NRA tens of millions of Dollars, helping in outlawing self defense insurance in NY and WA, spending $63M more than they have within two years and most of that on its advertising company, still giving away Made in China crap in the age of MAGA, etc. Oh, and that are only the NRA’s accomplishments since 2016. The NRA’s income from members dues has been shrinking for several years now. There is a reason for that!

  13. avatar Texan says:

    I do think they are still doing good, and for now are still a powerhouse in DC. But they do need to get their act together. While I do still support them, and I going to support them less and add other organizations. I do find it very annoying to see that W LaPeeAir spends money on designer suits, luxury travel and takes in a multi-M income while begging me for money on a daily basis. I’m tired of the wine club and the truck giveaways. Just do your job, NRA

    As a side note, I did enter one of the contests a while back and almost immediately my inbox was flooded with SPAM. Just sayin…

  14. avatar J says:

    I stopped being a member a few years ago. Their constant phone calls requesting monetary donations became an absolute annoyance. In critical moments they have rolled over or became an obstruction which adversely impacted their members, the gun owning public, and the second amendment.

    With dirty laundry such as Wayne LaPierre earning 5 million dollars a year and other indiscretions, they are killing themselves from within. Wayne, what is so wrong with only earning One million dollars a year and the spending the remaining 4 million on actively defending the second amendment and the people you represent? I am sure others are also “earning” exorbitant salaries too and it needs to stop. This organization is not here for you to “get your come uppins” or “get your big piece of the pie” off the backs of the dues paying members.

    Stop living high on the hog and start cleaning your house before it’s too late. The members of this organization deserve nothing less. Until you get that notion back into your overinflated egotistical heads, your demise will become more and more of a possibility.

  15. avatar Mikial says:

    Gun owners who turn against the NRA are essentially shooting themselves in the foot with the first round and then handing the loaded gun to the Liberals. Yes, hold the NRA to a higher standard and fight to get the BoD to fire anyone who doesn’t meet the standard, but don’t turn against them. Not when the stakes are so high.

    “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”
    – Thomas Paine

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      The NRA leadership is shooting themselves in the foot. The NRA members are just shaking their head and say WTF. The NRA leadership then says, sorry won’t happen again. Then the NRA leadership is shooting themselves in the foot, again.

      It requires 51 of the 76 NRA Directors to do something about this. Please name the 51 NRA Directors who you think will come together and fire anyone! There is a reason the NRA Board of Directors is so big. Its sheer size protects the NRA leadership.

      The lack of transparency and accountability is the reason why people drop support for the NRA. The only way to win it back is to offer transparency and accountability. Yelling at NRA members and calling them stupid, the enemy within, or Bloomberg stooges is just counterproductive.

      The current weak state of the NRA is exactly where anti-gunners want the NRA. If Wayne LaPierre is fired, then there is a chance for a stronger NRA. If the NRA is gone, then there is a chance for a stronger organization to emerge. Currently, the NRA sucks up all the oxygen in the pro gun movement and delivers one Charlie Foxtrot after another

  16. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Great points, Clifford!

  17. avatar MB says:

    If the NRA would behave like the GOA, I think 95% of the folks that are pissed off or annoyed with the NRA would come back to 100% support of the NRA. The NRA has alienated many many members including me, between the foolish “contests” that nobody will ever win, to the constant phone calls that border on harassment, to giving up too many “concessions” . The NRA’s stance should only be “Shall not be infringed” Period. End of story.

    1. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

      Could you explain how GOA is better than the NRA? When examining their financials from a third party source, they spend a much larger percentage of their revenue on their Executive staff. Other than rhetoric about how bad the NRA is and how they will never give an inch, I can’t find anything they have actually accomplished.

      They have ignored my request for a list of their Board of Directors. At least the NRA publishes a list of the names of the NRA Board, although admittedly, they do everything they can to limit member’s access to these Board Members. GOA has also ignored my request for a copy of their bylaws. While the NRA doesn’t make it easy to get a copy of their bylaws, they can be found.

      So, GOA is every bit as secretive, if not more so, that the NRA. Their execs get paid a much larger percentage of their revenues than the grossly overpaid execs at the NRA. Joining GOA seems like jumping out of a firing pan into the fire.

      Personally, I am more interested in fixing the NRA instead of destroying it.

      1. avatar MB says:

        @ChanceMcCall The GOA focuses on not surrendering any ground to the gun grabbers. The financial BS I could care less about. The NRA wants to pay someone 5 million, fine, but he better be laser focused on the mission. Seems NRA has lost their way. Ambrose E. Burnside would kick the asses of the NRA leadership if he came back…

  18. avatar Aleric says:

    The NRA like a lot of Republicans still think this is 1986. They are so behind the times they don’t even realize that mass media is the future and the NRA should have been one of the first groups to put out new shows on YouTube or started their own. Instead they sat and waited for others to come to them with these new ideas and then only when it didn’t cost them a penny. Now gauge that to the millions the directors spend on themselves and their buddies on a yearly basis.

  19. avatar Moltar says:

    Anybody else getting the super desperate fundraising calls? I got like 9 in a row last night, never answered, geez they’re starting to remind me of a crazy ex. I’ve moved on I’m happily with a new gun rights group but this crazy chick just can’t figure that out and keeps calling I think eventually they’re gonna drive the donation van by the house all hours of the night.

    1. avatar Charlie Foxtrot says:

      The NRA does not respond to do not call requests. Use nomorobo.com for any VoIP phone line for free to block such calls. Use the RoboKiller app on your cell phone (at subscription cost).

  20. avatar Kelly Rasset says:

    Another junk mail appeal for my money from the NRA.
    Now another ‘sky is falling” email from dear old Wayne.
    I replied that as soon as they replace the leadership I will contribute.
    It is time to scrape the NRA sticker off my back window.

  21. avatar elsullo says:

    I was a contributing member of the NRA for over forty years. I had growing doubts about the organization, but finally was convinced that the top leadership was consumed with personal greed and political senility when it was revealed last year that retired Col. OLIVER NORTH, a convicted traitor who deliberately betrayed his many oaths to the Constitution, had somehow without any public notice at all joined the Board of Directors and Presidency of the NRA! WHAT! I wrote and told them that that was the last dollar that they would ever see from me until Oliver North was gone!………………………………elsullo

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