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NRA Member Engagement – Voting

One of the best reminders that NRA really does represent a real grassroots movement is that members directly elect the board of directors. There’s a clearly defined way to become a voter and the results are published openly.

I’ve added this year’s numbers to my collection of NRA voting data. There are a few interesting differences this year over previous years.

The number of voting members who were sent ballots has increased 36.5% since I started keeping track in 2006. Most of that growth has happened since 2011 when there appears to have been a cleaning of the rolls.

BallotsCast&Mailed

The yellow bar is how many were mailed back vs. how many were mailed in red.
2016S represents the special recall election of 2016.

The number of voters actually participating in the elections is, unfortunately, not very high and not growing substantially. But given that we have a growing problem of too many celebrities and are losing activist leaders with diverse skills, this may not be a great number. It would probably be better to see more informed voters rather than increasing numbers of people voting for any name they vaguely recognize from popular culture.

PercentofNRABallotsCast

Perhaps one of the most interesting statistics is the fact that “last winner” was on a fewer percentage of ballots than ever before. The same was almost true for the top vote getter as well. (Technically, last year’s top vote winner, Ronnie Barrett, was on a lower percentage of the ballots, but not by much.) Those two numbers indicate to me that more voters are more likely bullet voting – voting only for a handful of candidates instead of all 25 slots. That’s actually a much smarter way to vote if you’re interested in getting key candidates on the board. Increasing the votes of those who you care about less could end up hurting your favorites on the ballot.

Another good number from this election is that the percentage of invalid ballots is still low – 2.79%. That’s compared to a high of 8.71% from the years I’ve been tracking. The most common mistake is marking too many candidates. But the next highest mistake is an easy one to fix – remembering to sign the envelope before you seal it and mail it. A whooping 723 voters didn’t have their ballots counted because of this authentication error.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is what a difference only a few votes makes. The difference between the candidate who did make the 25th seat and the one who did not was only 841 votes. That’s a number smaller than some 100% NRA clubs. Votes do matter, and I loved that NRA started giving out buttons to members who took the time to vote in the 76th director race. If they keep doing that, you know I’m going to start a collection and wear them on my pass each year. :)

Ted Nugent No Longer a Top Vote Getter?

NugentI’ve heard through the grape vine that while Ted Nugent still managed to get re-elected to the Board, his rank was 18 out of 25 [UPDATE: Apparently alphabetically, not by vote]. Nugent used to be a top vote getter, because he’s a celebrity candidate (which usually rank near the top). It would seem our effort to encourage members not to vote for him has had some impact. Hopefully he will be made to understand that the voting membership has tired of his antics, and I’d also like to think this will send a loud and clear message to the NRA Board’s Nominating Committee. After Annual Meeting, there should be raw numbers released, which we’ll take a look at.

UPDATE: I’m told from other sources this is not necessarily true. We’ll post the raw numbers when we get them at Annual Meeting.

What Could have Given Crooks The Idea that NRA’s Outdoor Show Would Have Light Security?

There was bound to be a price to pay for Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s one man crusade against NRA because they wouldn’t agree to being shaken down by the grifters that run that city. Given all the headlines about his withdrawal of police presence at the show, it looks like some crooks got the message. First at the Civil War Museum display NRA sponsored, and now a missing submachine gun that was stolen and caught in tape.

Way to go Mayor Papenfuse. Your childish antics have put more guns “on the streets” than 99% of gun owners.

Board Elections and the Norquist Recall

By now many of you are getting your ballots for NRA Board. We used to do endorsements, but not being able time or money wise to go to Arlington for a few days and sit in on committee meetings, I can’t tell you I’m connected enough these days to offer a truly informed opinion. I can tell you the Board members we’ve gotten to know over the time we were more active. In the past we’ve endorsed Tom King. I think Tom is supporting Trump this year, but we won’t hold that against him :) We’ve also endorsed Carol Bambery before, along with Sandy Froman, and Graham Hill. You can see our whole list from this cycle previously here. I would not change my votes. In the past we’ve only endorsed people we either know directly, or who we’ve heard from people we know directly need some help and are worthy of help.

I’d also note that Ted Nugent is up this year. While he apologized for posting that last anti-semitic post, the excuse he offered was that he was not careful. I think he’s given way too many black eyes to NRA the past several years, so I’m not inclined to vote for him. He’ll make it anyway on name recognition, but I won’t be part of electing him to another term.

As for the recall of Grover Norquist, I will be voting no on that. In the past I’ve expressed skepticism over Norquist because if you look up “DC insider” in a dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Grover. Sometimes those folks have different agendas, but I’m told Norquist has been very effective at helping NRA out. Also, the “charges” against him look like bullshit and quackery to me, and apparently the person leveling them didn’t even bother showing up to the hearing to make his case.

Todd Rathner is a fellow Board Member and a lobbyist. He’s been spearheading a lot of these knife rights bills, and is generally pretty effective at getting shit done. So if he’s saying it would be a huge mistake to boot Grover I believe him.

Many voting yes and advocating for a yes vote are doing so because Norquist has advocated positions in favor of amnesty. Whether I agree with Norquist on that issue or not, I am steadfastly against NRA taking any position on immigration policy, so I’m happy to vote no on the recall of Grover Norquist.

No, NRA Cannot Remove Board Members. Only Members Can, and it’s Hard.

The media is of course delighting on giving NRA a black eye over Ted Nugent’s antics. CSGV, being liars, demand NRA remove Nugent from the Board. Except there is no provision by which “NRA” can remove a board member. I’m sure they know this and simply hope that their low-information, frothing at the mouth followers aren’t wise to the bullshit CSGV spends all day spewing on social media.

Now, NRA’s bylaws do outline a recall process. There’s currently one going on against Grover Norquist because he’s apparently too much of a muslim lover, or some other fever swamp bullshit (his wife is Palestinian). So if we wanted to recall Nugent, what’s the process? It’s not easy, and it would cost the NRA a lot of money. In truth it’s far easier just to wait for him to be up and vote him out. Here’s the process according to my copy of NRA’s bylaws:

  • You have to get the signatures of no less than 450 voting NRA members.
  • You need at least 100 signatures from three different states. For example, you’d have to get 100 signatures from, say, Texas members, 100 from Pennsylvania members, and 100 from Tennessee.
  • None of the signatures can be dated before the last Annual Meeting.
  • You must submit the completed petition to the Secretary no less than 150 days before the next Annual Meeting (so it’s too late for this year).
  • The petition must be ruled valid, which means you realistically will need to collect closer to 700 signatures, since you’ll get people signing who think they are voting members, but aren’t.
  • The Secretary has to arrange a hearing within 30 days, where both sides testimony are recorded, and a recommendation made as to final disposition.
  • The Secretary then has to mail recall ballots to all voting NRA members. It will also have a packet that will also contain letters explaining the accusations and defenses. Note that this would cost NRA a lot of money.
  • A majority of ballots have to be in favor of recall, after which the Board of Directors would appoint an interim replacement.

Board members only serve three year terms. This is an inefficient way to remove a Board member. In truth, if you can’t get rid of them through the normal Board electoral process, your petition will probably fail, and then you will have made NRA spend a lot of your money for naught. I would like to see Nugent off the Board, but I wouldn’t start, nor sign a recall petition to do so. Why? Because I think it would fail. In this era of Trump, preceded by years of jackbooted PC thought policing, I don’t think the membership have much patience for “you can’t say that.” People are not in a mood to be persuaded, or to think rationally about things like this.

UPDATE: Ted Nugent is actually up for election this year. If you want to get rid of him, tell everyone far and wide not to vote for him.

GOA Sides With the Anti-Gunners

Opposition to the McAuliffe deal has been nearly universal on the anti-gun side. Even Bloomberg’s Everytown, which is generally willing to bend to reality much of the time is pretty angry about it. I don’t blame them. If I were in their shoes, I’d be pretty pissed off too if a big issue like reciprocity was traded for the trifle they got in return. It would be like if a Governor we backed agreed to an assault weapons ban in exchange for some extra money for public ranges and more wildlife conservation.

But the fact that the anti-gun groups are engaged in an effort to twist McAuliffe’s arm out of the deal doesn’t stop a group like Gun Owners of America from joining them. They are urging their members to call their representatives and senators to oppose the deal. We’re fortunate that it has passed the Senate, so I’m not certain GOA had too much of a negative effect.

Their logic for opposition relies on two items. The first is that the voluntary checks is just the first step toward making them mandatory. I’ve long said, legislatures can always pass gun control in the future, and we know they already want to ban private transferring of firearms. The key is whether the concession weakens your position and arguments. Hate to tell you all, but when we argued that NICS would be the bees knees, in leu of waiting periods, we already largely made that concession. State police at gun shows to do voluntary checks doesn’t really further weaken our position. The camel got his nose under this particular tent in 1994.

GOA’s other premise is that there’s no state analogue mens rea requirement of “knowingly” in the state mirror to the Domestic Violence Restraining Order prohibitions from the Lautenberg Amendment. Looking at the federal statute, 18 USC 922(g)(8), I’m not seeing where it says knowingly. The Virginia bill does in fact say “knowingly.” I’m pretty sure if you can show that the person knew they were subject of a DVRO, and knew they were in possession of a firearm, the mens rea requirement is fulfilled. I admit, I don’t really understand GOA’s argument here. Proving mens rea is always part of the state’s burden for a serious offense even if the statute does not explicitly say so.

So if this deal ends up tanked, and we lose all that reciprocity, you’ll be able to thank Larry Pratt right alongside Mike Bloomberg, Josh Horwtiz, and Ladd Everitt.

A Reminder: Comcast is Evil and You Shouldn’t Give Them Money

As if NRA didn’t have enough problems with the Great American Outdoor Show, with the Mayor of Harrisburg, Eric Papenfuse, trying to shake NRA down, Comcast Corporation, which owns NBC, MSNBC, and whose CEO is a huge Obama bundler and Democratic insider, decided they didn’t want to miss out on jerking NRA around either, because their ad showed pictures of the air gun range they run for the kids.

If I were Republican lawmakers in the area, I’d start to look into Comcast’s monopolistic practices. I’m thinking they might need a few more regulations. If they want to run their company in a partisan manner, they are free too. We should also regulate them in a partisan manner, in that instance.

I cut the cord years ago, and I’m glad I’m no longer forking over more than a hundred bucks a month for their shitty product. I get that for a lot of people, there’s no other choice for high-speed Internet, but if you can swing it, cut the cord! Stop giving money to a partisan hack of a company everyone hates and who frankly hates you too.

New NRA Ad Hits Obama and Hillary

Saying what it means when politicians endorse the Australian and British models:

In the real world, we call this “truth.” In Dan Gross’s world, which is not the real world the rest of us live in, he’s channeling Baghdad Bob:

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the gun lobby’s rhetoric “boggles his mind” and is “beyond hyperbole.”

“Their world is crumbling around them,” Gross said. “So they resort to painting this inaccurate picture that everyone wants to take your guns away.”

Don’t ever let anyone tell you no one wants to take your guns.

NRA’s First Ad of the New Year

NRA has gotten a lot better about technology issues than was the case several years ago, but they still have a ways to go. This video was pitched to us as the first anti-Hillary ad of the New Year:

While I’m glad the video also appears on YouTube, it should be the YouTube video being pitched to the media in order to drive up views and increase the chance that more people will be exposed to the ad. It doesn’t really help any to direct media contacts to NRA’s Google drive. I also think the release probably should have been today, when people are finished with the holidays.

Cultural Bundling and the RKBA

This latest Dana Loesch video from NRA:

This has me thinking back a few days ago to Ken White’s article over at Popehat originally, but now in the LA Times as an op-ed, which I linked to in yesterday’s news post.

First, we could stop culture-bundling. We culture-bundle when we use one political issue as shorthand for a big group of cultural and social values. Our unproductive talk about guns is rife with this. Gun control advocates don’t just attack support for guns; they attack conservative, Republican, rural and religious values.

I get at this point in our political discourse, railing against this video is essentially pissing at the wind. The Obama Administration has successfully driven the sanity of this country’s body politic off a cliff.

So that brings us back to cultural bundling. I get that the prayer shaming that followed the attack in San Bernardino made that issue tangentially gun related. But should Obamacare be an NRA issue? Why use Dana Loesch to drag NRA into all these other right issues that have exactly shit to do with the Second Amendment?

If there’s anything that’s at all certain in politics, it’s that there is no such thing as permanent majorities. Without support from Democrats and people on the center-left, there will be no way to permanently secure the Second Amendment from the depredations of those who oppose it. NRA is tying (Loesching?) the Second Amendment to the fortunes of the conservative movement. It may be successful short term, but I worry NRA is shooting itself and the Second Amendment in the foot long term.

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