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[ED: We asked for 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 already. Click the link above if you’d like to contribute, too. A few responses follow and we’ll be running more over the next few days.]

Reader Porkchop writes:

I am a retired attorney and certified fraud examiner. I spent years investigating accounting and other financial fraud involving federally insured financial institutions for the federal government. The team I was on recovered more than a billion dollars in restitution for the taxpayers from auditors of failed or failing financial institutions. After I left the government, I did internal investigations for private companies.

Here is my perspective (as a 40-year NRA member, attorney, and fraud examiner):

An organization as large as the NRA, with finances as substantial as the NRA, and with long-entrenched management like the NRA, is exactly the kind of organization where corruption can flourish. But we don’t know the facts.

My advice to the board would be that it has to get ahead of the situation, just like a public company would when faced with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.  To be sure, I do not have a great deal of confidence in the board, since it appears that this is a hotbed of cronyism, but this is my advice.

No one outside the NRA has a clue as to who is telling the truth, and, perhaps, there are many at the headquarters building who don’t know either. The state of New York (where the NRA is chartered) is threatening to investigate the NRA’s finances with an eye to challenging its nonprofit status and/or revoking its charter.

Other government agencies may also be looking at the NRA, and there are numerous unhappy members that may decide to leave. Failure to act magnifies the possibility of a disastrous result.

The board should appoint a special audit committee. In turn, that committee should retain a law firm with no prior relationship to the NRA as well as an audit firm with no prior relationship.

The attorneys and auditors should conduct a thorough investigation and report to the board of directors through the special committee. If wrongdoing is found, the board should, first of all, dismiss the offenders and then refer appropriate matters to law enforcement.  Then, the board should provide information to the membership about the results of the investigation.

I am sure there will be skeptics, but without an investigation of any kind, it will be business as usual until someone (like New York) comes up with an excuse to destroy the entity completely.  It needs to clean its own house if it is going to survive.

From Kellan Bateman:

From what I’ve read, it’s either the end of the NRA or its best year ever. I happen to believe neither of these is true; in most situations similar to this one, it seems to be that the truth is somewhere between these two extremes, and usually a healthy margin away from them both.

I think our only way forward is the following: never place all our eggs into one basket; demand an accounting be provided to the board and long-time, trusted members of the NRA; and be calm and patient.

In the long run, the NRA may become extinct, but for now, it is our best means of defending our rights (it may not even be a good means, but it’s the strongest tool at our disposal right now); and we absolutely must not allow our virulent, and some may rightly say rabid, opponents to tear us apart. The interest of our opponents is not in a strong, healthy, and responsible NRA, it’s no NRA, or any gun rights organization for that matter.

As in the fight for our rights, so in this: the facts must come first, then we can have a reasoned discussion among ourselves on the best course forward, which very well may exclude the NRA, but we have to wait for the full set of facts.

If we don’t trust the mainstream media on Trump’s ice cream consumption habits, why would we trust them on the NRA?  Unfortunately, it takes time for the facts to be fully revealed, and until that time, we must support alternative trusted organizations, contact the NRA to demand that the facts be provided, and behave civilly, especially with those with whom we most agree.

All the best,

Kellan W. Bateman
Patriot Life Member

And this from Brent from Virginia:

This NRA Life Member’s take on the situation is this: the NRA, in its current state needs to be torn down and rebuilt. The organization has turned into a way for people like Wayne LaPierre and his cronies to enrich themselves off of the over 5 million member’s good faith donations to preserve our Second Amendment rights.

Wayne needs to go, the Board needs to be reduced in number and its members need to be replaced with new ones who actually care about protecting and expanding our rights.

I can only speak for myself, but after documents were leaked detailing the financial misdeeds of Wayne LaPierre and his cronies, it has led to a lot of doubt and questions about what the true goals of the organization are. I’ve heard people complain the group is controlled opposition, but now I’m starting to wonder if that’s what they are.

Their actions of late, pushing for the bumpstock ban, Red Flag confiscation laws chiefly, among the other moves, makes it looks like they’re trying to ensure they have continued revenue streams by “fighting” against these encroachments they supported in the first place.

Then there’s The Board of Directors. It’s amusing that TTAG ran an article from a group of past presidents and current BOD members that claim all is well with the organization financially, but their own publications such as American Rifleman BEG for donations because of the dire financial straits they’re in due to various lawsuits by New York State and other groups. Who do you believe?

Personally, I believe we need young blood on the board. This includes, gasp, those of us who are part of the millennial generation. While we’re at it, let’s cut the board size down, and, most importantly, allow independent verification of vote counts for Board member elections.

There are plenty of young 2A advocates who would fight tooth and nail to preserve and expand our rights. We need them directing organizational policy.

The old guard has done very little for us, and the last thing I want with the very real threat of a Democrat president who will enact EXTREME gun control, are a group of people who would rather profit than “Stand and Fight”.

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  1. It’s too late for me. Mine runs out and I’m letting it. I shoulda learned back in the 90s when they sold us out the first time. No more do overs

    • It’s fine, mistakes happen, the gun culture has a lot of internal baggage we’ve let slide, wolves in sheeps’ clothing and poseurs basically. It just had to run it’s course, I mean, hindsight is 20/20, but I had better things to do in 2008, just in terms of gun rights, than try to force NRA members to admit that they’re either fudds or tools. Cody Wilson is smart and uncompromising but even he, as late as last year, took a little sip of the partisan kool-aid last summer, when his work was going well. Anyway, welcome to the outside, I’m glad you’re here.

      • Partisan Kool-aid? Is that what it is called now. I thought he was dipping his wick in forbidden wax.

        • Yeah, he messed up in that way also. My point is that the Internet’s 5th most dangerous man, who’s usually a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic of the NRA and RNC, thought Trumpster was going to side with him. It’s sad that he was going soft toward the end, not a resounding note to end on. But again, oh well, he had a long strange journey, then success, a lot on his plate for a long time; who wouldn’t start being optimistic?

        • OK, you don’t condone Wilson’s apparent sex crime. Noted. That’s the correct view to have. You owe assurance to the collective, on an ongoing basis, that you’re not thinking the wrong things, and today; mission accomplished, you’ve virtue signaled.

        • Just curious where you draw the line, is all (btw, I’m out front with the other NRA critics calling out the bullshit & doing my little part to see Wayne booted & a better org made, hardly some dumbass sheep who thinks all is well in VA)

        • I appreciate your criticism of the NRA, really good stuff.

          As for where I stand on CRW’s apparent crime, I recommend not worrying about it. I don’t answer for stuff I didn’t do, nor will I avoid mentioning him to keep the convo focused, that’s a futile cause anyway.

  2. So sad that it has come to this, but we should not be surprised. In the life cycle of any new idea and resulting organization like the NRA, everyone initially works together to preserve the ideals of that idea. As the organization grows, maintaining the organization becomes more important than the originally established idea itself. The result is cronyism and abuse of funds and members that are used by those who are in power with little or no accountability from the bought and paid for board members. Don’t believe me? Just look at what has happened to the basics tenets and teachings of Christianity after the organized churches got a hold of them and set up their little fiefdoms. It’s no different. An expiration date for the NRA has been set in motion by those in power who now refuse to give it up. The result will be many new splinter groups will be arriving on the scene claiming that they will be the new 2nd Amendment messiah. And the beat goes on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I’m not an NRA member. My Grandpa signed me up ages ago. I have no idea what happened with that. I’m 25. I’m of that millennial generation. The NRA has an issue with that generation.

    I’m not exactly left. I’m more of a libertarian. I want the repeal of all gun control. I don’t believe there is an afterlife. I want the government to be a fraction of the size it currently is. I want taxed lowered to the bare minimum.

    The NRA has to be one of the most repulsive, pandering to christians, non gun rights organization there is.(I don’t have an issue with christians. they just do the same thing the left does)

    If they just worried about gun issues and were actually pro gun gun. I know dozens of people that would be members. Instead they make videos like “The godless left” or I wanted to share a colion noir video ages ago but he was quoting the bible in it. Who is that for? the people who already agree with you. If I shared that with people they would stick their fingers in their ears and go la la la because most people I know don’t care about religion or feel unwelcomed by christians to these groups. Whether those feelings are justified or not they are there.

    Then I meet NRA members who defend the non gun related positions the NRA makes about abortion and stuff like that. It has not been a gun rights organization for ages. I don’t care about the abortion issue I want to donate to a gun rights group not a conservative group or a leftist group. My only argument is that the NRA should be focused solely on guns. There are other organizations for that stuff.

    That’s why so many left people I meet become fudds as well. they look over at NRA propaganda and such and go “seeee it’s a power hungry conservative group”. Anyway. I Hope everyone is having a good day.

    Oh wait one more thing. When I talk about the NRA being unwelcoming and partisan. I don’t mean at all that I want “representation” I hate shoe horned in gay people and trans and stuff. it’s the left wing version of what the NRA is doing. The media from the NRA is made for right wing christians largely.

    • You remind me of myself at the same age. As the years tick by, you’ll become much more pragmatic. Wait and see.

      • I didn’t. You’re probably just soft-headed, went off half-cocked one way when you were young, now going another. Whatever way the wind blows.

      • HP Maybe so. I’m not sure my position on that will change. I think losing the NRA could damage the gun rights movement how ever it’s not an organization I can support nor many people I know. A lot of them much older than me. It’s the combination of the NRA supporting gun control, being worried about issues other than bearing arms and the pandering.

        If they day comes they oppose all gun control and stop pandering. Me and many people I know will back the NRA. Until then though it’s stuff like GOA and a few other local ones here.

        • Remember that the NRA is not the only gun rights org in existence. While the NRA has been negotiating gun rights away since 1934, The Second Amendment Foundation and the Gun Owners of America have not. So join one of these honest orgs(or some of the many others), instead of giving your $25(or more…) to the NRA.
          The NRA has long proven that will just continue to give you lip service, and hire whores as interns and to jet the board around with 10K bonuses each month for “clothing allowances”, while maybe a single penny of each dollar will be spent lobbying Congress, and then followed up by letters encouraging the government to ban gun parts through the scam of redefining language. Is that REALLY support for gun owners? Or is it just support for Lapierre and North’s ostentatious lifestyle?
          I understand the fear that without the NRA we would just be crushed by the citdiots overnight… but would that really happen? I don’t think so. Looking down from above, which tends to keep one’s fear under control, I question whether; for example, if the NRA does have their charter pulled and ceases to exist tomorrow, all those millions of members will just decide to roll over and die. Will they all just go away and forget that they have rights? Will they all just join the demanding left? I don’t think so. I think the GOA and 2AF(and the others) will see exponential growth in power, and they will be a far more effective club for gun rights than the NRA ever even dreamed of being.
          Think also about where this fear comes from. Where comes the idea that without the NRA gun owners would just become helpless waifs? Well, CNN and the rest of the dinosaur media proclaim this loudly and often! But has anyone checked CNN’s accuracy level lately? Can they even hit a barn from inside of it?

    • Yup, they insist on piling US-right baggage on the RKBA. That’s non-negotiable. They’ll say join and change it from the inside but that’s a trap, they take your money and political capitol and ignore your values, or rather your desire to focus on the RKBA and not personal values one way or another. If they old social-conservative partisan line-toe-ers really thought you could change it they’d want nothing to do with you.

    • You are completely correct; the NRA/etc’s strength is its focused message, and its ability to organize large numbers of voters. Not money (we’re small potatoes compared to most industries), not lobbying, not ‘influence,’ not issue-pandering, not the sorts of things guys like LaPierre claim are important in order to justify their wages/embezzlement. You should also try to be a little bit less hostile to Christians, as it sure sounds like any reference to that faith at all sets you off a bit. They can be annoying for sure, but their very existence shouldn’t be offensive to you; I don’t get in a huff whenever someone says “reap the whirlwind” or “teach a man to fish,” after all. I probably didn’t see the Noir video you mentioned, so I don’t know the context of his quote; if he was using the book to illustrate that self defense has been clearly recognized as a human right for a long, long time, I don’t see the problem. If he is saying “I’m right because Jesus says so” that’s another matter, but I’ve never heard him make such poor arguments in the pieces I’ve seen him do, so it would surprise me.

      • BARNBWT I am not offended by Christianity nor do I care if people are Christians. I do not think you understood my post. Unless you are talking to the other guy. I’m not sure.

        You can have an organization full of christians that supports gun rights but doesn’t bring their religion into it. I support lots of organizations that are run entirely by christians. The NRA creates a very specific deliberate image though.

        I mean if this is the image you want it’s okay with me. It’s just most atheists and people who are not religious are like what does religion have to do with any of this? NRA video example:

        I hope that clarifies my point better. It’s like calling one side bigoted. It’s what the left does. It’s very unappealing to many people I know. I would support the NRA either way if they were actually pro gun. “It’s an attack on our right to believe and our right to survive.” she said that in the video lol

        People often misinterpret that I don’t think using Christianity like this is a good way of attracting more people as me being offended. I’m already supporting gun rights organizations that are christian I’m talking about making a lot of inactive people more involved who are stuck with left leaning or leftist bubbles.

        Sorry if your post was not for me but if it was this was to clarify.

        • My understanding of Biatec’s comments is that the NRA should be focused on and about the single issue of protecting our 2A and the preservation of the 2A ONLY. Nothing more—–Nothing Less! Too which I agree.

        • I’m well aware of Loesch’s going off-message in that stupid video (and like five others); I think she’s & Ollie North are part of the same problem. I think she is the main driving force behind the NRATV shenanigans, actually.

          I was referring to your comments about Noir; I’m not aware of him bringing such extra-curricular axes to grind on NRA time (though this may have changed since he gained prominence). I don’t think he has the chops to have even a figurehead position at the NRA, but I do think he has been a valuable resource.

          It’s ridiculous the NRA didn’t find their other spokespeople like they did him –already somewhat popular for all the good reasons, by dint of his own merit– and instead tried to go for *star power* (imagine my Jazz Hands here) instead of hiring some affable & intelligent ‘gun bunny’ off social media. In retrospect, it’s obvious she was part of an arrangement to begin retooling the NRA into a GOP media fundraising organ.

  4. Two things I notice about all the finger-pointing and mud-slinging within the NRA leadership:

    1) Nobody is seriously refuting any of the allegations – the main defense seems to be “Don’t worry about what I did, that other guy is worse.” This leads me to believe that probably 80+% of the bad stuff everyone is saying about their targets is likely to be true, and that there is more than enough blame to go around.

    2) Throughout all the finger-pointing and mud-slinging, EVERYONE involved with the NRA agrees that the main thing is for everyone to send them more money. Everyone also claims that they (and not the other guy, whoever that might be) are the only way to save our guns. This leads me to believe that everyone is lying and primarily interested in continuing their control and access to the big bucks (and I don’t mean deer).

    From AT LEAST 1934 through 1968, the NRA has been actively opposed to the right to keep and bear arms. Right after they shepherded the GCA through Congress, the NRA suddenly discovered the Second Amendment — the problem is that they discovered the Second Amendment as a recruiting and fund-raising tool, but not as a guiding principle.

    Since 1970, the NRA has been greatly involved in fighting “Gun Control” but their primary interest is in fighting, not winning — because fighting brings in millions of dollars while winning means that cash flow dries up. The NRA wants nothing more than to keep the battle going. The Republican Hat Trick of 2016 was the NRA leadership’s worst nightmare.

      • “Don’t worry about what I did, that other guy is worse.”

        It’s worse than that; it’s rather quickly devolved to “I’m all you got.” I don’t even have to read all the comments here to know that there’s a significant fraction claiming that we deserve to be beaten, we have no place else to go live, and no one will ever love us besides our abusers –I’m sorry, I got my intervention speeches mixed up– we don’t donate enough money, there are no other good RKBA organizations, and we will never be a significant enough political force to merit real results from our elected representatives.

    • Double bingo!!!!!
      Plus, very well said. Statesman level debate point! No way to disagree, it’s just the well known facts.
      This is the type of stuff that, IF anyone does dare disagree, it will be by strawmen arguments or just a string of profanity. Because there is no reasonable alternative, since the facts shout quite loudly all on their own.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with Porkchop. The organization needs to do an independent thorough accounting and any misdeeds pointed out to authorities. Let the chips fall where they may. Nothing less can save the organization. Do this, show the membership it will not be tolerated and they may survive. Oh and stop paying the executives such exorbitant salaries. A true believer in the cause will work much harder for a lot less.

    Always did think Lapiere was the wrong person for the job. I can still remember when he got the position. He sucked then he sucks even more now.

    • It sounds like that’s what they’ll get, whether they like it or not. A shame it’s at the hands of leftist hacks in NYC, but regardless whatever sham of justice they try to perpetrate, the discovery findings will tell the tale. I suspect it will be an interesting tale, indeed.

  6. Like many organizations that find themselves at a crossroads where sound decisions can make or break you can rely upon those in charge to hide the truth and not fix the problems. I feel the NRA has reached the point where “the cover up is worse than the crime”, the crimes are probably multiple and the cover up will be the downfall of our organization.

  7. No need to write a novella. The NRA needs to do better. A LOT better. I’ll probably let my membership run out next year. All this graft & corruption shouldn’t even be public. And yet it is…I’ll pool my resources in ILLinois.

    • I’m a big fan of “and.” I’ll keep up my dirt-cheap annual membership because the NRA’s support of shooting ranges and training is worth the price of membership by itself.

      And if I donate extra funds to anyone, it’ll be to state orgs or the SAF, where I know the donation will be put to good use.

      • That’s a good point, about the NRA’s other/real mission regarding shooting sports (not shooting, itself). However, that side of the org needs Wayne/etc’s services even less than the political one. If they truly want to formally become a Fudd organization (nothing wrong with that IMO, so long as they aren’t selling anyone down the river) and limit the scope of their activities & advocacy, they will need to become a much, much leaner organization. Both because the crippling overhead corruption will be wholly unnecessary, and because they won’t get anywhere near as much support.

        I’d say NSSF already has that sort of base covered handily, though; they advocate for industry/business issues and ‘inoffensive’ firearms causes that don’t require much painful political capital (hunting regs, licensing regs, occasional beefs with ATF reclassifications, etc). If you only want to promote shooting sports & not the politics, NSSF is a much more efficient use of your money; if you want political advocacy, practically all local orgs are more efficient and effective than the NRA national effort (even the NRA local affiliates). The VA office is simply dead weight that’s sought to make itself important.

        • Can’t really argue with that.

          I figure I’ll keep holding the current course until I find out more. My membership is good through spring 2020 anyway. If some people get fired and the NRA shapes up and slims down, great. If not, then I’ll look for a different organization that’s more likely to achieve what people like me need it to achieve.

      • If I could humbly offer a suggestion, it would be to go to a ‘ Friends of NRA ” banquet if one happens within a reasonably close distance to you.

        Usually, the money stays locally, and supports programs within organizations such as the Boy Scouts, 4-H, and other groups, in addition to promoting safety, and entry programs for those just beginning to learn to shoot.

        Also, I have won 3 guns by my attending them.

  8. Here’s the non member view. The NRA by all rights SHOULD be working towards putting themselves out of business by actually fighting to win gun rights back. Instead, they bicker and argue and just fight to fight thus making millions by peddling the fear that we could all wake up on inauguration day 20xx and all of our gun rights be gone. They’ve created a monster that lives and breathes to do one thing, separate members from their hard earned money. Yes, what Wayne and co. have been accused of is terrible and yes they should all hang for it but the NRA is equally liable for many of the gun control crowds’ greatest hits such as, The NFA, the GCA, the Hughes Amendment, the 94 AWB, the new Bumpstock ban, and red flag laws. They continue to push for licensed CCW but refuse to push for the removal of the requirement to get a license and I find that a bit tone deaf. Yes, it is tragic someplaces won’t issue a carry permit but really instead of fighting for the permit to be issued they should be fighting to eliminate the need for permits all together and while they’re at it they need to fight the NFA and every other piece of gun legislation; it needs to be that the democrats won’t dare put forth a gun bill for fear of the years they’ll spend in court fighting with the NRA.

    NOTE: I know the list of greatest hits is incomplete and if you’re saying “Hey Moltar you fucking moron they had nothing to do with some of these!!!” before you type and angry comment just realize yes I know they might not’ve actually wrote them but they did allow them to exist without really fighting them or they allow them to continue to exist

      • What a novel idea, fight for NO permit required. An excellent idea worthy of our collective support.

    • “They continue to push for licensed CCW but refuse to push for the removal of the requirement to get a license and I find that a bit tone deaf.”

      They only fight for CCW because they make money with Carry Guard. Seriously. And that’s another example of something that mostly exists to separate fools from their money, since CG doesn’t pay out unless & until you are found not guilty…which makes it rather questionable as an ‘insurance’ or ‘retainer’ product. I don’t get to refuse to pay my attorneys if I lose my case, after all.

  9. Its a sad situation, but not entirely new. I resigned a life membership in the 90s due to all the infighting that was going on. Mismanagement seems cronic today and reorganizing is needed. If the NRA can’t do this they will start to loose members. The impropriety in operations can lead to issues in NY where the Governor and Attorney General are anti gun. Tough days ahead.

    • The only real role for the NRA is to appear to be the big bad bogeyman for the Democrats, Bloomberg, the SPLC and others to quake in fear from.

  10. NRA is forever needing money to protect my rights. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the American Nurses Association also troll regularly for money to protect my rights. Let them pick up returnable cans from roadsides like I’ve had to do at times.
    Wayne gets $2 million + per year, but the NRA had the huevos to report it can no longer afford to pay for employees coffee! I’ll do Waynes job for a measly $1 million and the coffee’s on me!

    • I’ll do Wayne’s job for 250,000 per year and anything left in the coffers can be spent building and improving ranges. I have a dream! A range in every town and an active and friendly training program at every range.

        • I’ll take the job for $150,000 and they can keep the hot blonde as I’m too old for that and besides my lady would not be too happy, nor would I after she got through with me! I ain’t afraid of her, but I do respect her if you know what I mean and I imagine you do!

  11. This post doesn’t surprise me as the editors of TTAG are a bunch of compromising fudds themselves.

  12. I’ve got to agree with Brent from Virginia.

    ETA: With one exception…

    “last thing I want with the very real threat of a Democrat president who will enact EXTREME gun control,”

    I think that would be preferable to the continued slow boiling of the frog. It’s better that the frog jump out of the pot with all of his might than to continue inside and risk death. Liberty will die slowly whereas it will be resurrected in times of great strife. If loss of liberty continues to creep up on the people over generations, it becomes normalize and they don’t even recognize it.

    • Yep can you imagine if republicans were afraid of losing because they were not pro gun? They have a place where as long as it’s slower erosion they can keep getting elected largely.

  13. I like Porkchop’s recommendation and agree with his assessment. An entrenched leadership is more likely to engage in dubious acts than leadership that changes frequently. An outside audit answerable to a select committee not a part of the current leadership with complete transparency would go a long way to restoring confidence in the organization.

  14. I can’t express how sad I am to see the NRA dragged through the mud this way. They need to clean up their act pronto. For an organization like the NRA integrity is first, last, and everything in between. There is no room for graft, corruption, unreasonably high salaries, etc. Full transparency is a must.

  15. “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” ― Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

  16. When Trump said Bump Stocks are now Banned I cursed him out on his contact form Who are you, King Louie.UnConstitutiona; move, Who was it in the NRA to compromise with Fienstien Pelosi and Chuck the whole Constitution Schumer?

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