More on NRA “Gag Order”

This is an update from the post from yesterday about an alleged “gag order” from NRA to its Board of Directors, as reported by Red State. From Tom King, President of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, and also a member of the NRA Board.

NRA Members of New York,

There are a myriad of rumors regarding the NRA cluttering the internet but one in particular is causing me personal anguish. That rumor reports that the NRA staff has issued a gag order to the NRA Board of Directors regarding comments on the nomination of Elena Kagen to the Supreme Court. Let me explain something about the structure of the NRA; authority to do anything within the NRA comes from you the members of the NRA. That authority is delegated to your elected Board of Directors who in turn elects officers and formulate policy that is then issued to the Executive Vice President/CEO who then turns that policy into action through the professional staff. Gag orders for the Board of Directors do not exist.

Friends; those of you close to me should know by now that telling me I can’t speak up on an issue of vital importance to the 2nd Amendment is going to get you into a war. I spoke vociferously regarding the nomination of Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court; in fact I joined a number of national 2nd Amendment leaders protesting the appointment and urging through a nationally published letter she not be confirmed. I did that because of her ties to New York State and the position she took, on then recent, anti 2nd Amendment decisions. I have not taken a position on Elena Kagen’s nomination to the Supreme Court because I find it absurd that anyone with no judicial experience would be nominated to the Supreme Court and fervently hope the Republican Senators will block this nomination.

The 2nd Amendment protects all the rest. Why would the NRA, the protector of the 2nd Amendment, attempt to limit the 1st Amendment rights of its’ own Board of Directors? It does not but if you think the Board members you voted for could be gagged then you voted for the wrong guys.

Tom King
NRA Board of Directors
NYS Rifle & Pistol Association
Μολὼν λαßέ

So I think it’s safe to say that no such gag order exists. Like I said, really, the best NRA staff can do is ask. They’re not really in any position to demand. NRA has stated its position on this nomination, and we’re still going through the confirmation hearings currently.

8 thoughts on “More on NRA “Gag Order””

  1. Thank you for posting that, and thanks to Tom King for stating that clearly. Much appreciated!

    Unfortunately, with Obama in the White House, we’re not going to get a friendly-RKBA justice. May God watch out for the health of Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy. If one of them should die while Obama is in the White House, we’ve got serious, serious problems.

  2. This may be a case where issuing denials hurts more than helps.

    Two things: First, unless I missed it King did not specifically state that the NRA issued a gag order or suggested directors keep quiet on Kagan.

    Second, King writes, “I have not taken a position on Elena Kagen’s nomination to the Supreme Court because I find it absurd that anyone with no judicial experience would be nominated to the Supreme Court and fervently hope the Republican Senators will block this nomination.”

    Saying “I have not taken a position” does not jive with I “fervently hope … will block this nomination.” Sounds like opposition – a position – to me.

    Last, the NRA may be a member organization, but it must not run as a democracy as King suggests it does. There must be a strong leader at the top immune to all but the most strident of opposition from below. If LaPierre is simply a mouthpiece for a diverse board then perhaps that is why we see the NRA making so many missteps… I tend to doubt that, though.

  3. NRA members elect the Board. The Board elects its officers, and hires the EVP (Wayne). The Board can fire Wayne, if it wants to. So if the Board is higher than Wayne, how is NRA gagging its Board members? NRA staff can’t remove Board members.

  4. Sebastian,

    I respect your objectivity, insight and facts. I’m not sure why several other gun rights organizations seem to be more interested in tearing the NRA down, than promoting gun rights.

    I am an NRA member, as well as a member of several other gun rights organizations and the Heritage Foundation. If people prefer a different a different approach than the NRA’s, they should not join or renew, and while I do not agree with every NRA decision, they’ve been pretty successful overtime with regards to the second amendment.

    I spoke with two NRA board members I personally know and neither are aware of any “gag order” from the NRA regarding the Kagan hearings. I’m sure all this NRA hatred from the pro-gun side just delights the Brady folks and their friends at the VPC.

    It’s a shame that so many in the gun-rights blogosphere are republishing and linked to the Red State “gag order” article without confirming facts or information – tactics usually employed by the anti-gunners.

  5. #1 to Sebastian: Have you found quotes from the supposed internal Senate emails?

    #2 in general: It would _not_ be surprising if some high-level staff member communicated to a Board member or to several Board members, “It will be better for the RKBA and for the NRA if this is a co-ordinated effort coming out of headquarters.” That does not rate as a “gag order.”

    And, as Sebastian has pointed out, if staff tick off too many Board members too much, staff can be replaced. … As DeGaulle said, “The graveyards are full of indispensable men.”

    Some Board members are pretty laid back and maybe not into politics, but there are a good many who would not respond well to being told to gag themselves. … Would you like to be the one to tell Ollie North to keep his mouth shut?

  6. @ Sebastian, I didn’t say the NRA was or was not gagging the directors, and neither did King specify either way. (We can infer that he is saying they didn’t. Fine.) I don’t know. I was saying in a roundabout way that the NRA might be a better organization if the head of the group has that authority (and I think, in reality, he does to an extent).

    @Dann, the reason the NRA catches so much flack is that it has a habit of stepping on the toes of its lesser brethren, from endorsing people like Harry Reid and Don Siegleman to getting basic facts wrong such as earlier this year when it said Belle Meade, TN was outlawing carry permits in their city limits. The NRA – in instances like these – becomes the monolith alleged in its tone deafness to local politics and inability to admit error.

    There are drawbacks to being both large and intractable.

Comments are closed.