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The Empty Bank

I share the frustrations of the hardline crowd that the GOP is feckless and not willing or able to accomplish anything for us. But what got us here isn’t that we didn’t shout “no” loud enough. We didn’t end up here because we’re not pure enough. That’s always what religious zealots turn to when disaster strikes. It’s a natural human reaction. But it usually leads to doing the wrong thing.

Our opponents are very wealthy and effectively have unlimited monetary resources at their disposal. A commenter pointed out, “Personally I think that anti-gun groups are going for small wedge issues like bump stocks and ghost guns, precisely to drive a wedge into the gun rights movement.”

That’s exactly what they are doing, and they are doing it very well. The trick to quashing gun culture is to extinguish new trends before they have a chance to take hold. This is basically what they did with Machine Guns back in the 30s. If you want to understand why I’m not big on fighting tooth and nail for bump stocks, it’s because it’s an extension of a fight we lost almost a century ago. If we’re honest with ourselves, bump stocks were a way to say, “Ha, ha, your machine gun restrictions are now meaningless.” Well, the powers that be decided they wouldn’t be, and started to take action that would put whole new classes of firearms that were not previously under regulatory threat under regulatory threat.

Ghost guns are another thing entirely. The law has usually (foreign parts counts, etc aside) not touched on people working on their own guns and making their own guns. This has long been something dedicated hobbyists have done. But while 3D printing and computer-controlled milling are not all that new, the technology being within reach of casual hobbyists is new. They need to kill that before it takes hold, and before the more casual gun owners start seeing it as territory that needs to be defended at all cost. Your average person’s rights calculation is, “I don’t do that, don’t know anyone else who does it, so it must not be important.”

If they successfully ended up squashing every new trend, they’d succeed in making the gun culture moribund, which eventually would kill it. That’s exactly what they were doing with machine guns, and I’m sorry my great-grandparents didn’t fight it back then.

We’re here now because Mike Bloomberg dumped more money into the gun control movement than it’s ever seen, and he has been rallying other super-rich to his cause. His people are using that money very intelligently, and understand their own (and our) strengths and weaknesses better than any of our previous opponents.

Here’s an unpleasant truth: when monied elites decide they want something, they usually get their way.

The problem with NRA right now is they are largely stuck on what “worked” before that pressure came to bear. I used worked in quotes because a lot of NRA’s game the past decade or so are probably more like someone wearing garlic around their neck, and convinced it works because they’ve never seen a vampire.

I would also argue that NRA has, for a long time, been withdrawing from a bank that was filled up by a strong grassroots game before Ack-Mac really got their hooks in and convinced the powers that be that overpaying them for video content no one would watch was as good a strategy as any. That bank is now empty, and they need to go in a new direction. I’m sure Ack-Mac will be happy to overcharge NRA for more Angry Dana videos in order to goose membership. But if the membership is disengaged, uninterested, and disorganized it won’t matter. You’d be better off with 3 million passionate, engaged, and organized members than with 5.5 million who are happy to watch Angry Dana, yell at clouds, and otherwise do nothing.

Strong grassroots are the only way NRA is going to defeat Bloomberg. It’s something money won’t buy him. Passionate grass roots will self-organize, but they have to understand how to do it. NRA will not succeeded in outspending Bloomberg. They will not succeed trying to outcompete him in top-down strategies. NRA need to play to our strengths, and our strength is in honest-to-god motivated, passionate grass roots. Even the slickest of PR firms can’t deliver that.

33 Responses to “The Empty Bank”

  1. H says:

    All this, and you still betray in your very first paragraph your true enemies, “religious zealots”. Noothing we didn’t already know, but again an example of how circumscribed your role as a RKBA activist has become. Per the previous discussion, a lot of critical insights, and I’ll add your beating the drum more than anyone else I know of about Bloomberg.

    And running a free and fair forum in your blog comments, which is also extremely hardened against the totalitarian tech left, except, ugh, Godaddy. I’d suggest you change, or perhaps better, create at least 2 other pagunblog.X domains with different registrars, including one outside the US, and cycle through what you mention and link. That has SEO implications, though.

    If they successfully ended up squashing every new trend, they’d succeed in making the gun culture moribund

    Utterly disagree. The John Moses Browning’s (PBUH) M1911 community is anything but moribund. Glock did start a new pattern in the 1980s, and with the nationwide sweep of concealed carry, and ever more Constitutional Carry states, 3 states so far this year, well, you’d have to spend a great deal of time to keep track of new handgun offerings.

    The bolt action was arguably perfected by Mauser in 1898, everything after that is tweaks or nearly so, or repackaging like the Scout, which does depend on material science advancements. Shotguns are healthy as far as I know, with JMB’s (PBUH) Auto-5 introducing the semi-auto in 1905.

    Black Rifles Matter? The most popular design in the US goes back to 1956, with the M16 introduced in 1964, the AK-47 in 1949. We have political issues there, the import ban and parts rule, but they’re still selling like hotcakes, again I cite the 9/11 domestic “you’re on your own” reaction really getting that going with TEOTWAWKI concerns perhaps being the 2nd biggest driver of new gun ownership.

    For ammunition we need reliable, long shelf-life lead free primers, but otherwise we’re good, and we’re still getting Lake City seconds, contract overruns and cancellations, by the 12,500 count barrel for XM855 if you so desire. The big change here is the exhaustion of Cold War inexpensive surplus, and inflation, wage suppression, and insane demand which also tells us the community is still healthy.

    Switching to people and needs, the big change we can predict for sure will be Baby Boomers getting so old guns and voting becoming irrelevant to them. I don’t have a feeling for that, but as far as I know concealed carry continues to grow, with Constitutional Carry in 16 states making it massively easier. The other big change we can guess is increasing political violence prompting more people to get guns by any means necessary, but that gets into waters too murky to be worth spending time on in this discussion, not with the NRA perhaps in its death throes (explain the lawsuit with AckMac if you think that’s too dramatic).

    Here’s an unpleasant truth: when monied elites decide they want something, they usually get their way.

    With gun control being the single, solitary exception to the Left sweeping the board and “roam[ing] the countryside shooting the wounded” in our culture war. Outside of Blue states, and Purple states turning Blue due to demographics, we’re doing OK at the moment. The big problem of course being how many states are turning Blue, with some very big population ones like Florida, Texas and your Pennsylvania as nasty examples.

    because a lot of NRA’s game the past decade or so are probably more like someone wearing garlic around their neck, and convinced it works because they’ve never seen a vampire.

    I like that analogy because it’s equally true for your conviction that a “responsible” NRA/NuNRA is the only way forward. “Pragmatism”, not a word you’ve used, has gotten us to this point….

    You’d be better off with 3 million passionate, engaged, and organized members, as long as they’re not hardliners….

    Fixed it for you….

    Can you not see the contradiction in your desires?

    • Sebastian says:

      If they successfully ended up squashing every new trend, they’d succeed in making the gun culture moribund

      I didn’t say they were succeeding. I said if they could succeed. I’d argue that we’ve seen a resurgence of the 1911 because almost everyone, including Gaston Glock, copied Browning’s design, which supplanted wheel guns for cops and the average shoot, and that buoyed interest in the original design.

      I’d love to have millions upon millions of hardliners. That would fundamentally shift things in our favor. But we don’t have millions and millions of hardliners, and we have to play the hand we’re dealt. Or to put another way, we fight with the army we have. Not the one we would ideally like.

      • H says:

        I say the 1911 became so popular because it’s easy to start up and produce on a small scale, and it’s very very easy to shoot well for a bunch of people who prefer its grip angle, width of grip, and/or single action good and consistent trigger pull. And width is one of the most important concealment factors, favoring single stack magazines. Oh, and the Clinton “assault weapons” ban hit with its 10 round limit just as the nationwide shall issue sweep was taking effect, favoring .45 ACP over high capacity Europellet dispensers.

        And you won’t know how many hardliners there are unless you try to recruit them into an effective organization, for on the ground results the Second Amendment Foundation is the only competition. Of course this is a chicken and egg problem, but certainly one or more organizations will get really big if the NRA formally shuts down.

      • j says:

        Who says there aren’t millions of hardliners? Has there been a “hard line” drawn yet which would define them as such?

        • Sebastian says:

          Gallup says there aren’t. High water mark was 14%, and I’d note that I’d answer our gun laws need to be less strict, and no one would classify me as a hard liner. That’s probably a very very generous definition of hard liner.

          • H says:

            Your URL is misformed, and citing a notorious polling organization … you don’t think there’s any chance “hardliners” are less likely to answer questions about guns from a random nosy voice on the telephone?

            • Sebastian says:

              You’re looking for millions. You’re looking for enough to sway elections. Where are they? If there were 20 million passionate hard liners, we’d never lose.

              • H says:

                80,000 votes spread over 3 Rust Belt states including your’s gave Trump the 2016 election. Our power has always been in “hardliner” voting, for most of us it’s our number #1 criteria only exceeded by a very few things like national survival back during the Cold War. And that can and has swung many elections.

                We lose a lot because of the Great Sorting we’ve discussed, it matters very much where those “hardliners” are located. I didn’t stay in Massachusetts in part because my vote couldn’t make a difference, if I’d stayed in Virginia it would be getting to that point, but back in my home state things are copacetic, has gone from Purple to almost solid Red. NOTE: this phenomena requires a significantly more sophisticated analysis by each of our sides than we’ve done to date.

                As for where are the “hardliners” when it comes to gun organizations, one of the few things we can measure due to 990 forms, I can tell you where many of us are not: ones that are ineffective, and/or “too” corrupt, and/or are too fond of gun control.

                Pretty sure the NRA has achieved the above trifecta, there’s no way the Winning Team including the board is spending a lot of attention on the general political front while they’re trying to keep their jobs, positions, wealth, and/or freedom. I really need to get around to reading that depressing New Yorker article in full, but it sounds like this distraction has been significant for at minimum nearly a year, there’s mention of an emergency meeting in July where the Audit Committee backdated sign offs.

                One other thing to factor in is people’s means, I’m retired and on a limited budget. That doesn’t dilute my voting power, but I can’t, for example, afford to send the Second Amendment Foundation enough money to exceed what they spend on begging letters. As of the one year I was a member about a decade ago that was something more than their yearly dues.

                Since then, though, they’ve been proudly displaying some pretty hefty checks from vile units of government they’ve defeated, so they’re probably doing OK….

                • Sebastian says:

                  So the hardliners came out in big numbers to vote for a guy who once endorsed assault weapons bans, and who banned bumpstocks likes to “take the guns first, and due process later?”

                  • H says:

                    As they did for G. W. Bush, both were a lot better than the Democratic candidate.

                    This attack shows that you have a very unsophisticated understanding of “hardliners”, or you’re not debating in good faith, making a typically Leftist hypocrisy claim akin to the ones castigating Christians who voted for Trump.

                    You haven’t changed a wit in 6 years, don’t expect any further replies.

                  • Scott in Phx says:

                    I hope H spends as much time out there working for gun rights as he does arguing with you.

  2. Publicola says:

    No, the NRA’s problem was that its main concern was the NRA. Any organization, be it secular or religious, will, after it reaches a certain size or longevity, become self concerned even to the exclusion of what animated it initially.

    Albeit it’s an oversimplification, but the NRA IS a top-down org, & those at the top seem to have thought that whatever was cool for them was obviously cool for the NRA.

    I’d like to see them become absolutist & shout not just “no” or “hell no” but “go to hell no!” loud enough to pop a set of electronic muffs. But they’d be tolerable if they just had a goal. Bump stocks ain’t a hill to die on? Then name a hill worthy of the ultimate sacrifice. Have to compromise to keep something bad from happening? Then detail the plan to come back & counter attack.In short, have a friggin goal aside from boosting membership numbers to impress B rated politicians at cocktail parties.

    Bad actors certainly are a part of it, but a lack of faith enables bad actors.

    I would argue not being pure enough led to this place, in several senses of the word. But my main point isn’t that they should have been absolutist (although of course they should have); it’s that they should have had a goal to move towards, some item of faith to rely on.

    Bloomberg has a goal, & it’s a nasty one. He has strategies to achieve that goal. he’s encountered setbacks & altered his strategy, but he’s still moving towards that goal. he has faith. In the wrong thing granted, but faith usually beats out no faith in the long run.

    Maybe the NRA can salvage itself, maybe it can’t. But if it is to recover it has to have a very clearly defined principle to base its actions on. Not necessarily my principle (although that’d be nice) but a principle.

    As for the grassroots – the Nra was mostly a communication tool. It got word to the grassroots of what was going on (at times at least) & it used that grassroots to back its talks with politicians. Until they shut the internet down the former isn’t as urgent, but the latter is a vacuum that must be filled, preferably by an absolutist org, but just about any org that stands for something other than itself will do. (We hope)

    • Sebastian says:

      Then name a hill worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.

      Semi-automatics. No state has come back from an assault weapons ban. There’s plenty of evidence that’s a game-over scenario for any gun culture that’s suffered one.

      • H says:

        And strangely enough, after Heston’s trial balloon, the NRA was not “responsible” and totally opposed Clinton’s “assault weapons” ban, the first and last time they did so for a Federal gun bill. And surprise, surprise, the sky didn’t fall in, and we won in the long term.

        As for you’re “game-over” concept, I wonder if that’s the cause, or the effect of a state going so Blue it’s unrecoverable in general. See also the very curious example of anti-gun states that retain shall issue or better concealed carry regimes. Isn’t Connecticut still shall issue in practice while being under a vicious assault weapons ban?

        Another factor, it’s a long decay thing, I don’t know of any state who’s gun owners didn’t practice Massive Resistance after a semi-auto and/or magazine ban. With the New Jersey Gestapo getting exactly 0 “high capacity” magazines just now. This sort of thing is prone to a preference cascade that could turn very ugly for gun grabbers.

        And the final factor, which I strongly recommend you add to your calculations: polarization. I’ll bet one of the reasons we’re seeing a lot of states going very anti-gun while others are going Constitutional Carry is that the population is self-sorting.

        Why did I leave Massachusetts? #2 after the post-Cold War death of it’s computer industry was the certainty it would become intolerably anti-gun after Stockton. One of my brothers moved from Colorado with his family in part because of this, as well as a nephew from Nevada.

        Economics came first … but that goes hand-in-hand with the politicians and polity that grab guns, unless you’re in the mostly foreign born anyway totalitarian tech Left. And what will happen when Texas turns Blue? Not that it’s ever been very pro-gun, but it’s huge, economics is a large factor in that, and the Democrats will hit it hard, the energy economy especially. Where will BASF move to then?

        • Richard says:

          The Great Sort is a huge factor and it is getting bigger. One of the interesting trends lately is the intrastate secession movement. As far as I know there are efforts under way in WA, OR, NV, CO, CA (2), NM, IL (!},NY(!!) One of the big factors driving this is gun control. All of those states are characterized by a big urban area controlling state politics and oppressing those who have different values.

        • Steve says:

          I applaud people resisting bad law in their states, but as I was arguing with a lukewarm in-law in WA last week, that resistance only lasts a generation, if that. The up-and-comers just won’t bother navigating the red tape or risking their future. Safe storage laws, training requirements, UBC, AWB, all of it just erodes gun culture, and erosion works over the long term, not immediately.

    • Sebastian says:

      No, the NRA’s problem was that its main concern was the NRA. Any organization, be it secular or religious, will, after it reaches a certain size or longevity, become self concerned even to the exclusion of what animated it initially.

      Can’t really argue, and I think NRA has become entirely too self-concerned. The overly large Board feeds that. I’d be happy to see it reduced by half, but even that would be too large.

      • H says:

        Research into for-profit corporate governance, of great importance to investors, says based on my vague memory that the board size needs to be no more than 6, with no more than 1 executive member like LaPierre. Any larger and the executives inevitable capture it, 76 “is a congress” as one reformer who’s husband was choked out during the 1998 board meeting put it.

        The general principle in play, which no one has found a good counter to, has been best formulated by Jerry Pournelle as his Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

        Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

        First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

        Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

        The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

        Note that he was a practical as well as ivory tower political scientist, at one time holding the position that’s now Deputy? Mayor of LA, responsible for keeping that highly artificial city in a desert alive.

        • Sebastian says:

          Non profit governance isn’t the same as for-profit governance. But NRA’s Board is way too big. If I could dictate, I would not have any more than 21 Board members, including the officers (EVP, ILA Chief, Secretary, Treasurer, 1VP, 2VP, etc, I forget how many officers NRA actually has). I don’t think you want it to be so small, because you want a lot of viewpoints represented. But 76 is just unwieldy. You could convince me to go as low as a 15 person Board.

          • H says:

            Is a board supposed to be a debating society, or a means to force the will of the organization’s charter on the executive leadership?

            Which brings us to the biggest problem: a for-profit company’s execution of its purpose is a lot simpler; while we can simply state the political part of the NuNRA’s purpose:

            To crush our enemies, see them driven before us, and to hear the lamentation of their women!

            No one really knows how to accomplish this.

  3. Brad says:

    I think way too much credit is being given the other side. I’ve listened to Bloomberg talk about guns, and he’s an ignoramus who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But we are supposed to believe the other side are now some kind of Machiavellian schemers who are craftily dividing us against ourselves?

    Yes the other side has power. Yes the other side has money. But their smarts at best apply to what they know, which is politics and publicity. They don’t understand guns nor the gun culture. They don’t understand us.

    Their efforts are mere spaghetti tactics. Throw everything and see what sticks. The current ‘goldilocks’ gun-control schemes are just an outgrowth of that, nothing more. The ‘wedge’ issues are merely spaghetti strands that manage to stick.

    The old NFA was really a scheme to ban handguns, not just machineguns. The machinegun ban stuck, the handgun ban did not.

    When State referendums to ban handguns failed badly, is when the enemy turned to goldilocks gun control in the 1980’s. And that is what the other side still pushes. The only real difference today is Bloomberg’s bottomless pockets.

    The wedge issues aren’t ones that pry upon our vulnerabilities. If they do, it’s unintentional and a happy byproduct for the enemy. The wedge issues are intended to pry upon the ignorance of the general public, it is the general public that is the target of the anti-gunners scheming not us.

    • Stuck NYC says:

      “I think way too much credit is being given the other side. I’ve listened to Bloomberg talk about guns, and he’s an ignoramus who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But we are supposed to believe the other side are now some kind of Machiavellian schemers who are craftily dividing us against ourselves?”

      “Here’s an unpleasant truth: when monied elites decide they want something, they usually get their way.”

      I think what Sebastian was trying to impress upon you is that Bloomberg knowing anything about guns is neither here nor there. He’s drawing from almost infinite wealth and managing his resources accordingly, i.e., demanding and getting results for his hard earned dollars from those he’s cutting checks to. He’s not Googling, or paying people to explain to him, the minutiae between “real” machine gun vs bump stock.

      “Their efforts are mere spaghetti tactics. Throw everything and see what sticks.”

      All the easier, to find what really works over time, when you don’t have to preen and beg for money as the NRA or Brady has, since their inceptions.

      P.S. I had lunch with him once at an event when he was mayor. One of the most modest and understated personalities I’ve ever met.

      • Brad says:

        I think I’ve struck a nerve!

        • Miles says:

          I don’t think it’s a ‘nerve’ but a statement that Bloomie has the failing of a lot of the multigazillionaire elite.

          He sincerely and modestly believes that since he’s been so successful at one enterprise, he must be God’s gift to creation and his least thoughts are better than manna from heaven for the unenlightened and unwashed masses.
          No matter the effing subject.
          “If I’m so dumb, why are I so rich?” applies.

          He believes people are better off letting him run their little woe-begotten lives. We see that from the laughable attempt to limit the size of soft drink cups.

          He’s a perfect exemplar of the type that considers themselves a “Philosopher King” from Plato’s Republic.
          According to Plato, a philosopher king is a ruler who possesses both a love of knowledge, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life.

          Simple life? cf. “One of the most modest and understated personalities I’ve ever met.”
          Of course, that could be nothing more than a cultivated facade.

          But while he’s not some bombastic real estate mogul, he is factually more dangerous than Trump will ever be, or was ever yodeled about by the demoncraps.

          He won’t be swayed by counterarguments. He’s smarter than the average bear, you know, so he automatically discounts anyone with a different opinion and he’s apparently so genteel about it that people willing defer to him. Thanks be to God that he’s 77 and well past his ‘best when used before’ date for President.

          As history has shown us, there are only a few ways to deal with a powerful person like this.

          1 Find a willing criminal prosecutor that decides to sift his life and business until those multiple felonies are discovered and then ruin him professionally, personally, and politically.

          2 Wait for nature to catch up with him. (He’s 77 and could simply not wake up tomorry)

          3 Precipitate natural causes. Quietly or in a spectacular manner depending on the desire to send a message, or not.

          I advocate none of the above, merely list them.

          • Alpheus says:

            There may be a fourth option: to answer Bloomberg’s money with strong grass-roots activism.

            The NRA has demonstrated that it *can* do this — in particular, it has done this successfully in the past. The question I have is why the NRA doesn’t push this more.

            The NRA has the ability, and while it’s more difficult than throwing money at a problem — it requires a lot of elbow grease — it’s nonetheless something that Bloomberg *can’t* do, and thus is a weak spot in his strategy.

            This, along with seeming to have nothing prepared to counteract the inevitable push for gun control after a mass murder event happens (the NRA should have been prepared for what came after Las Vegas, or after Stoneman Douglas High School), but they seem to be caught with their pants down every time.

            Sadly, with the way that the Media tends to amplify these events, they aren’t likely to stop any time soon. There is *no* excuse for the NRA to be caught by surprise with these events!

  4. Brad says:

    Which side is really vulnerable to wedge issues?

    I’ve seen and listened to enough anti-gun blather to come to the realization that their talk is aimed just as much at their own side, as it is aimed at the general public. Maybe even more so. And perhaps that points out the greatest vulnerability of the enemy.

    Because the fact is their side is tiny in numbers. They only seem powerful because of their wealth and social positions. Our side has been more politicly powerful because our numbers overwhelm theirs, so we can swing more elections because we can outvote them.

    That’s why the anti-gun propaganda is so important. It is aimed at bolstering their own morale and keeping their troops toeing the party line. Because when a halfway fair look is taken at the issue, the gun-control house of cards collapses.

    So one long-term way to defeat the anti-gunners is to convince enough of them to give up the fight. And there are many possible avenues to that goal, many wedges which could be exploited to divide and conquer them.

  5. Timothy E Covington says:

    My biggest issue with the NRA is not what specific issues they’ve chosen to fight. It is the insistence of giving their endorsement to whoever has an R after their name, regardless of the candidates actual gun rights history. If their is no candidate that has a good record on the Second Amendment, they should choose to not give an endorsement.

    • H says:

      This is not a “R” specific problem, just how the Winning Team has operated for a long time, with now there being almost no even vaguely pro-gun Democrats in the Congress. Although how many truly anti-gun Republicans are getting formal endorsements? As well as outside the Senate which through advise and consent of Supreme Court nominees is perhaps our best hope of avoiding Civil War 2.0?

      Part of this reflects how they’ve drawn down their grass roots bank account, they’re poorly poised to send traitorous Republicans back home to spend more time with their families. They probably even lack the political skills to pull that off anymore.

      Another problem is that the Winning Team is way too fond of new gun control measures, I’m sure it makes them feel like operators to arrange “compromises” where we lose less than originally proposed. There’s no way they can sanction Trump for his bump stock ban, or Lindsey Graham or Rick Scott for enacting the Red Flag laws their asking for. NICS is their love child with many Republicans starting with Bob Dole … and it says a lot that they don’t give a damn that the FBI stopped hearing appeals of false positives in 2016.

  6. RAH says:

    NRA started as a organization that was worried that due to the change of rural population going to urban that people were loosing the skills to shoot accurately with long guns. At least that is what I recall.

    The main focus after WWII was hunting and teaching and rifles were still the main focus. Anti gun forces started after Kennedy got shot with the 1968 gun control In the late 1970’s the premise that guns kill especially pistols and no need for civilians to have them

    Then Clinton and the guns bans By that time the AR platform got popular so there was major push back Since that bill sunset after 10 years we won

    The big problem is that we as gun owners either have not had children or not working to get the next generation into our sports.

  7. Richard says:

    I wonder if we are mired in inside baseball here. I spent the morning driving and listening to NPR and now am watching CNN (someone has to do it). Today is a day when Trump addressed the NRA and the Russian agent linked to the NRA was sentenced. So far I haven’t heard one word about the NRA’s financial issues. Perhaps someone else has since I haven’t been listening all day. The NRA story was about Trump pulling out of the UN treaty (even though it was never ratified). Main story of the day was all Biden. I am about to conclude that the NRA problem may be legal but not political.

    I sure someone will note that Trump talked about a bunch of non-gun stuff. When you invite the President he talks about what he wants to and obviously the NRA leadership knows this.

    • Joe says:

      I thought Trump’s speech was pretty good. I’m glad we are now withdrawing from that Treaty.

  8. Chris says:

    WSJ reported that Board Members confronted Wayne and demanded his resignation, and he emotionally stormed off in anger.

    My opinion is that from a non-profit governance perspective, if even a third of the issues the Trace article brought up are accurate, there needs to be housecleaning. The BoD should express a lack of trust and confidence in WLP’s leadership and show him the door. Other key executives should also be removed for failure to blow the whistle on issues like self-dealing. Not sure if Chris Cox is wrapped up in the mismanagement at ILA, but he may need to go to.

    If WLP’s team can’t produce appropriate financial records to document things, then they need to go as well. That’s also a gross failure that the BoD should properly take action about.

    Olly North needs to be asked to resign too. If he is an Ack Mack employee, and the NRA is embroiled in hostile litigation with Ack Mack, there is a clear conflict of interest. He can’t even disclose his contract with Ack Mack to the BoD or BoD’s counsel. That’s insane.

    Take guns out of it and look at it as a 501C3 non-profit. This degree of gross mismanagement is certainly inappropriate and unethical, and it may well rise to the level of criminality. I’m an officer for two 501C3s and this kind of self dealing, if accurate, is obscene. Its basically a money laundering scheme to enrich private parties at the expense of the members, donors, and general public.

    The only way any of the top NRA leadership should stay is if they can produce detailed financial records for the BoD that show that organization funds were used in an accountable and acceptable manner for appropriate 501C3 purposes. Which they can’t, because they’re either apparently incompetent or corrupt.

    I don’t care at this point if they’re replaced by “hard liners” or “milquetoast moderates.” But at a minimum there needs to be accountability for the finances.

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