What’s going to happen during the NRA emergency Board Meeting this weekend?

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

That’s question that (almost ) no one in the gun community is asking.

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.

What about the NRA Board of Directors Legal Counsel?

What about the NRA Board of Directors Legal Counsel?

“With proper legal protection in place, would the Board be braver? Would they be able to do more to push reform? Would they be able to regain control of the organization for The Members?”

By Rob Pincus

For several years, the issue of the Board of Directors having their own legal counsel has been contentious and convoluted. While there is officially a Board Counsel, he hasn’t been very engaged in working on behalf of the Board Members.

Much attention has been focused on the extraordinary amount of money being spent on the services of William Brewer’s firm to defend the NRA against the investigations of the NY AG’s office and the multi-million dollar lawsuit with the former tail-that-wagged-the-dog PR Firm Ackerman-McQueen. The issue of inadequate Board Counsel since things exploded into turmoil may be far more important than many people think. With proper legal protection in place, would the Board be braver? Would they be able to do more to push reform? Would they be able to regain control of the organization for The Members?

Amidst the many Resignations of Board Members since the tumultuous Member’s Meeting in 2019,  there is good reason to believe that some Board Members have felt that they have been put in legal jeopardy by the actions of the NRA’s Leadership, both civilly and criminally. At least one Board Member is currently being sued by the NRA for trying to help the organization clean up its act. He was denied use of the Board’s Counsel and a judge ruled that the NRA doesn’t have to pay his legal fees involved in the internal fight. Finding out that Board Members working on behalf of The Members that elected them have to pay their own legal fees makes one question the purpose of the Board of Directors having separate counsel from the organization in the first place. There are also questions about just how separate the Board’s current lawyer is. Over the past few years, there have been many changes for the NRA’s legal team, most of which have resulted in a consolidation of power under Brewer’s firm.

In 2019, the Board’s longtime counsel, Steven Hart, was removed from his position, apparently after challenging the way in which the Brewer legal team was handling things. He has been very critical of Brewer and his tactics… unfortunately, Hart is also credited with originally bringing Brewer in. He was replaced by William Davis, who was not in the firearms industry or affiliated with the NRA prior to the assignment. It might be more than a coincidence that he did work with Brewer on a big case involving FLIR a handful of years ago. He lives in Wisconsin and, to my knowledge, has done nothing of note for the NRA, much less Board Members trying to fix the organization in his almost 2 years as Board Counsel. I can’t recall hearing him speak at any of the Board Meetings, nor do I believe he has even been present at them. If he’s honestly representing Board Members in any significant way, no one is talking or writing about it… and we still have board members resigning.

Last year, a leaked recording featured Wayne LaPierre saying the troubles that his leadership caused the NRA cost over $100,000,000.  I didn’t need to hear the recording, because I heard him say it no less than 3 times with my own ears during various committee meetings during the Winter Board Meeting in Virginia. We now know that the Brewer Firm had billed the NRA over $50 Million at that point. Estimates are that the current bill with Brewer reaches 9 Figures,  which includes the dubious investment in the Bankruptcy Gambit that seems doomed to fail. If you don’t understand why that is so, check out the articles at Creditslips.org, they spell it all out clearly. As of last week, Brewer’s stranglehold on the NRA Legal Fight may be weakening, as the organization had to backpedal a bit and propose a different firm to represent them in Bankruptcy Court. That only happened after the Department of Justice had to point out that Brewer’s Firm had “Disqualifying Conflicts”. While that may seem like a win for those with concerns about Brewer’s legal acumen, the whole bankruptcy play seems like the final act of conniving treachery for those who have never trusted his intentions. Let’s not forget that Brewer is the angst-ridden son-in-law of Ack-Mack Patriarch Angus McQueen. Many believe he’s been manipulating a befuddled LaPierre and fueling a “ civil war within the NRA”  for his own gain this whole time. 

One good thing that can come from the bankruptcy maneuver is that the court may appoint a trustee to oversee the NRA during the bankruptcy proceedings and the restructuring. At this point, that would be better than having the case dismissed. That Trustee will almost certainly remove all power & control from Wayne LaPierre and his cabal of hand picked Officers. That might give the legitimate NRA Board Members still remaining a chance to fight back. The opportunity to step up and regain control of the organization is more likely to be taken if they have proper counsel, of course. Maybe that will come with the changes that seem imminent.

The goal of Save the Second remains to see the NRA reform from within. The damage that has been done from within is immense… but we still believe that the NRA is capable of restructuring and should not be dismantled from the outside by those who wish to do (more) harm to the cause of Gun Rights in the US. 

The Sinking Ship

NRA - The Sinking Ship

“Save the Second’s goals remain. Far better to see our NRA made strong, relevant, effective and accountable than see it sink to the bottom of the abyss.”

By Ron Carter

On January 15th, 2021 the National Rifle Association declared bankruptcy, filing for chapter 11 protections and also attempting to reincorporate in Texas. In its 150 year history, this is the first time that the NRA has ever declared bankruptcy.

This comes as no surprise to those NRA members who have been following the drama inside the NRA. Since the NRA Annual Meeting in 2019 it has been obvious that the leadership of the NRA has operated without any accountability and with gross negligence. The NY v. NRA, DC v NRA Foundation, NRA v Oliver North, and now this declaration of bankruptcy are irrefutable proof of that.

This comes at a time when the Constitution is in immediate, unavoidable jeopardy of being grossly infringed. While in decades past we might have seen the NRA be a bastion of defense, defending Second Amendment rights, we will likely see them become increasingly irrelevant, ineffective and unaccountable. That much is already true with the fact that the NRA spent more money defending the malfeasance of its leadership than it did in the 2020 elections. 

This comes also at a time where the NRA Board of Directors have conversely stopped directing and instead started following the Captain of the sinking ship with a freshly ratified resolution basically giving LaPierre complete authority of the NRA. That’s right. Instead of removing the CEO/EVP that has led the NRA to disaster, the BoD gave him more authority! They accomplished this in Executive Session (behind and away from NRA Members) in their January 7th, 2021 meeting which allowed LaPierre to file for Chapter 11 instead of the BoD having the authority to decide. 

How do we as NRA Members respond? That remains to be seen. Since the BoD have largely ignored members who have painfully obvious grievances we might be left to only watch the demise of our National Rifle Association. There are exceptions to that and I wish David Dell’Aquila well! Also, we might even see this bankruptcy filing backfire. Still, I encourage you to contact your NRA Board of Directors. Their negligence is outstanding. When the NRA is gone, as it likely will be, these people will still attempt to profit from our Second Amendment community, the community that they have harmed the most.

Save the Second’s goals remain. Far better to see our NRA made strong, relevant, effective and accountable than see it sink to the bottom of the abyss. In lieu of that we encourage you to support organizations that are doing the work that the NRA will not or cannot. Many of those are already proving more fruitful than the NRA has been in the past decade.