What’s going to happen during the NRA emergency Board Meeting this weekend?
“And, that brings us back to this weekend: The NRA is diminished, distracted and less relevant because of gross dysfunction and mismanagement.”
By Rob Pincus
No one is asking because, frankly, the gun community is a bit bored with the drama. Most people simply don’t care anymore. They don’t care what is happening and they don’t really care about the NRA anymore in general. They are over it. Even if Wayne LaPierre announced his immediate retirement, Mr. Brewer announced he had reached a settlement with the NY Attorney General’s Office and the Board unanimously voted to support the Bankruptcy Gambit (retroactively), the days of the NRA pretending they speak for American Gun Owners, strong arming industry companies for donations and bullying other organizations are long gone. Even the media has had to reluctantly accept that the NRA isn’t their easy button anymore. No references to their thoughts on the Boulder Killings this week (or lack thereof) can be reported without mentioning that the organization is “beleaguered”, “distracted” or “plagued” with legal troubles. Unless they go with something like “impotent”, “muted”, “diminished”, “castrated” or at the very least “less relevant” due to financial struggles.
Regardless of which route they take to explain it: They are correct. The NRA is less relevant to American Gun Owners than ever before. Established members of the community that know where the fights are and who is working the hardest are supporting Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition and a handful of State Organizations in the places where the gun rights are the most infringed or under the most direct threat. New gun owners, for the most part, seem to want nothing to do with the NRA at all, if they think it even still exists. They are flocking to the aforementioned Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America, who’s marketing & image appeals much more to younger gun owners and the current crop of community influencers.
New gun owners, regardless of age, also have thrown support behind organizations that focus on advocacy, education and public awareness groups that represent specific areas of gun ownership, the armed lifestyle or gun owner groups. These organizations, such as Walk The Talk America, Liberal Gun Owners, United States Concealed Carry Association and Second Amendment Organization (which I am the Executive Vice President of), do not fight the traditional gun rights fight in the courts or through elected officials, they focus on educating gun owners to be more responsible, to be better advocates for gun rights and on raising public awareness in regard to the truth about gun ownership and use in the United States. The truth is that the NRA used to do all of those things to one degree or another… and, arguably, they did it pretty well until the a couple of decades ago when they lost their way.
And, that brings us back to this weekend: The NRA is diminished, distracted and less relevant because of gross dysfunction and mismanagement. The accusations of wrong-doing have been listed for a long time. They have been catalogued and discussed in articles on this blog and many other places. If, somehow, you are reading this and don’t have any idea what I’m writing about, you can get caught up by listening to Season Two of the Gangster Capitalism Podcast… and then reading all about the last few months of ridiculousness surrounding an attempt to simultaneously claim that the organization is in great financial shape and declare bankruptcy at the same time… in a State other than the one where the NRA is incorporated… and also not the State where they are headquartered… just days after preferentially paying the lawyer leading the efforts several millions of dollars… right before the Department of Justice filed a motion with the Federal Bankruptcy Court to have him barred from serving as legal counsel because of his past and current shenanigans.
So, it is understandable why most of the gun community doesn’t care about this weekend’s meeting. To be honest, I’m willing to bet that a solid third of the 76 person board doesn’t really care either. All indications are that they are over the whole thing to. Several Members have resigned over the past few years and several others have already not run for re-election or indicated that they will not when their current terms are up. Infamously, one Board Member who’s been on the board for a long time has still never bothered to show up to a meeting. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been to more meetings over the past two years (all of them) than at least 10 current Board Members. There was barely a quorum at the last meeting that took place in January and this emergency meeting had to be postponed from its original date because at least one person “critical” to the proceedings couldn’t make it… allegedly.
When the NRA emergency board meeting was scheduled to happen two weeks ago, I had my tickets and hotel room booked. I was flying to Dallas after a day of teaching on the range that Saturday and flying back to Florida late on Sunday night, so I could be back teaching again Monday morning. As I write this on Friday evening, in Denver, I haven’t decided if I’m going to head to Dallas. Every Board Member and other “insider” I’ve talked to has told me not to bother… but, I can’t help but wonder what might happen. There have been a ton of rumors swirling for several weeks now.
Is there a Settle Agreement with the New York AG’s Office?
Has an heir to Wayne LaPierre been picked by the leadership cabal?
Is there a formal Re-organization plan that they Board will be lead to approve?
Has the Special Litigation Committee been told to decide to try to withdraw the Bankruptcy case?
Will there be a change in lead counsel?
Will the Board actually get an assertive and independent counsel of their own?
Has a new location for the re-location been chosen?
Of all those possibilities, some of which are pretty far-fetched, the ones that I think are most likely are the settlement agreement. I can’t imagine that they really want to go to trial with the NY Case, and settlement puts them in a position to argue against a Trustee being put in charge of the organization by the Bankruptcy Court. It seems inevitable that the Board will come out of a private executive session having approved whatever it is that Wayne and his lackeys have decided should happen next. There simply aren’t enough reformists on the Board to result in any other outcome. I do, however, hope that a few voices will distinguish themselves by finding a way to get it into the public record that they objected, argued or at least commented skeptically on any plan that doesn’t involve Wayne’s apologetic resignation and a wholesale replacement of the entire Executive Committee and every Corporate Officer.
Phil Journey has surprised everyone with his audacious stand against the leadership since regaining a seat on the Board last year. I hope he has inspired, or at least provided an opportunity, for some other members to risk being blackballed, sued or simply shunned at the lunch buffet. That certainly is what people were thinking would happen when this meeting was originally scheduled. Stephen Gutowski wrote about Journey’s efforts, and ostracization, in the Washington Free Beacon.
One thing is certain, the DOJ Filing put all of Board Members On Notice of the real problems and their severity. Before that filing, it could be argued by any of them that didn’t serve on a very small number of very powerful committees that they had done their duties simply by accepting the word of the Officers or Executive Committee that everything was fine. An article in the Atlantic or an accusation from a former NRA employee doesn’t create any real pressure… even the NY AG’s claims can be rationalized away as a “political attack”… but, the Department of Justice telling a Federal Judge that they believe there has been serious problems, and spelling them out, makes it a little more clear that there really is a compelling “fiduciary responsibility” to act. I think… and so did the No Lawyers, Only Guns and Money Blog.
The safe money is on nothing big happening at the NRA Emergency Board meeting and I’m leaning towards not showing up myself. Hopefully, some other NRA Members who do still care will be there to question the Directors and express their thoughts. But, the truth is there really just aren’t many who care anymore. The NRA is closer to being a lost cause than ever before. Maybe that will change on Sunday if at least a few Board Members take bold action.
The truth is that what happens with the NRA should matter to the gun community. That’s the reason that Savethe2a.org exists. We believe that a strong and relevant NRA is a great asset to the gun community… we also believe that we won’t have a strong or relevant NRA without significant reform.