Maybe this is the Sensible Reform Movement I’ve Been Looking For

It’s the NYT, so you might need a clean browser to view, but the story is about how David Dell’Aquila is organizing donors to withhold donations from NRA if Wayne does not step down and put an end to this mess.

“Even if these allegations regarding Mr. LaPierre and his leadership are false, he has become radioactive and must step down.”

I think that has unfortunately become true.

He said he was among a network of wealthy N.R.A. donors who would cumulatively withhold more than $134 million in pledges, much of it earmarked years in advance through estate planning, and would soon give the gun group’s board a list of demands for reform.

That’s not minor money. That kind of money is going to talk, loudly. Party line, mentioned in the article, is that the big donors are backing Wayne. This would seem to suggest that narrative is false. If you want to donate to the cause, I would still encourage people to donate to PVF, since that is a sequestered fund that can only be used on electioneering, and can’t be touched for other purposes. Also worthwhile is the Civil Rights Defense Fund, which is also not controlled by any of the players here.

“I’m not pro-Mr. LaPierre, and I’m not anti-Mr. LaPierre, I’m just simply being objective and trying to save a historic institution from itself,” he said. “Right or wrong, the buck stops with Mr. LaPierre, because this occurred underneath his leadership, and he’s ultimately accountable.”

I agree completely with that sentiment. I also agree with him that I’d like to see Cox back in Wayne’s spot. But he suggests Alan West for President. I’d pass on that one.

Chris being forced out was a bridge too far for me. I also am very upset that it’s being reported that board members are being removed from committee assignments as retaliation for not being sufficient boosters of the regime.

Board members are permitted to have opinions on the people they hire and who they are meant to hold to account. Period.

54 thoughts on “Maybe this is the Sensible Reform Movement I’ve Been Looking For”

  1. So who is going to be the one(s) remove LaPierre who previously wouldn’t get up the gumption to do so when the real reasons to do so were already known?

    Wayne has already squandered this dollar figure at least in the last few years. Failing to get HPA and reciprocity signed into law should have meant the axe on the spot, no questions asked. His offense isn’t spending, it’s spending and failing.

  2. I disagree with bringing back Chris Cox, as he has tainted himself with the joint statement on bump stocks and his video on supporting red flag laws. I especially disagree with big donors deciding who leads the NRA. If voting members have no voice in this and only big money speaks, we are just back to the good old NRA and its corruption as usual.

    I actually agree with bringing in Allen West, because he actually spoke up, publicly. So did Timothy Knight, who was the one getting blackballed on the committee memberships. (Why not say that out loud, Sebastian?)

    Note that Allen West may not be available. He is scheduled to make a “big” announcement tomorrow on his political future. Maybe he will be openly challenging LaPierre? We will see.

    No matter who will lead the NRA after the LaPierre clan has left the building, it likely needs to be an interim management that enacts reforms and transitions the NRA, such that the members have a voice, the Board actually provides oversight, and Director and Officer positions are term limited. This may be Chris Cox, but he will have a hard time convincing anyone that he is not just the new king.

    I now predict a race by all those holdouts on who can throw LaPierre the fastest under the bus. The following call is being circulated along with the famous “white paper” linked below:

    “Did you speak up BEFORE Wayne stepped down or AFTER?

    – Top donors are withholding funds.
    – Directors are rebelling.
    – Employees are talking.
    – Members are complaining.
    – But, not nearly enough of them… and not nearly loudly enough.”

    The “white paper”:

    The targeted reforms:

    1. The reforms are hard to argue with. The exclusive 2A focus is a bit tricky though. I am not willing to blame the NRA because the Democrats went batcrap crazy. The NRA has always tried to keep lines open to both parties but the Democrats just aren’t interested in us Deplorables. Their long-time pro incumbent policy which lots of people complain about is a good example of this. We also don’t want to become a walled garden that cuts us off from allies we need just because their focus may have nothing to do with guns.

      As for WLP, I am less certain than you and other commentators here that I even know what precipitated the meltdown. However, meltdown it is and when that happens the CEO has got to go. I spent my life working for boards and will offer the truism that there are no bad boards, only bad staff. And the sooner the better, so we can get about the business of fixing the place.

      1. So, what else do you want the NRA to focus on? Immigration? Homelessness? Drugs? Abortion? Religion? Healthcare? Sexual orientation? Should we bring back Angry Dana? How about Colion Noir’s drugs and homelessness pieces?

        The NRA has created an image of the American gun owner with these issues that is a caricature! How about the NRA focuses on what its charter actually says, instead of making it into the militant wing of the GOP?

        The current alignment of the NRA with the GOP has resulted in gun control by a Republican President, the NRA leadership and many members just cheering on, and inviting said President to every convention.

  3. You’d be a fool to give big money to an organization under IRS and state scrutiny. Charity Navigator has an alert up for NRA now that isn’t alarmist.

    Big donors usually don’t want their money to go to the IRS or legal defenses against the IRS.

  4. Chris (above) makes a point I’ve been wondering about: Even considering PVF and CRDF, is there, at this juncture, really any “safe havens” for donated dollars?

    I’m reluctant to penalize worthwhile activities like PVF and CRDF, but are current firewalls adequate to prevent metasticizing and/or, “hidden transfers”? And, should push come to shove, could PVF, CRDF, et al survive alone? If so, in what form and where?

    1. For now I think other orgs (SAF, state level) are safest. NRA has raided both ILA and the Foundation for funds. Not sure that PVF or CRDF are entirely safe given the lack of control by the board at largr, but I’m not an expert on the controls for those sub entities.

      FWIW I am a life endowment member. NRA isn’t getting money from me right now though.

  5. The disloyalty purges were enough to bring the remaining HQ employees inline, now it’s time to skirt the law and air the dirty laundry of the ‘donor’ class. They’re nothing more than financial livestock for Wayne as he guffaws all the way to the bank.

    I think @CF may be seeing through the clouds in the crystal ball on this one.

    It’s important to note though to not focus singularly on the potential misdeeds of the NRA execs. The BoD went along with WLP, in grand fashion.

    as to Chris C., I’m sure he did some good things, and that he’s probably got some of his heart in the right place, but he’s been a swamp dweller for a long time, and has kept NRA practicing the same “Gun Rights 1.0” political model. The same model that got us nowhere for 2 years while DJT had the house and senate and for years trotted out the national reciprocity bill and then never put any effort behind passing it. 3 email alerts in years upon years of that bill being around is not real effort. But they were Johnny on the spot to ask for more money at every turn.

    1. I did the Senate analysis back when it was a live bill; it’s in the archives here. We had, at most 59 Yea votes in the Senate (and that counted Roy Moore winning his special election, which he didn’t). There was no chance of flipping any of the Nay votes short of flipping the seats (which didn’t happen in 2018).

      I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a vote to hold some people’s feet to the fire, but the FL School Shooting is responsible for that. But the was no actual way that bill was passing the Senate.

      (And if you ask me, the same was true for the Hearing Protection Act that was bundled with it, but I’m not as certain about that).

      1. Yeah but its much easier to blame the NRA and Chris Cox for the failure than the actual legislators! Just check out Charlie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot below!

        1. False accusations and personal attacks don’t convince anyone.

          I am actually happy that we didn’t get national reciprocity. I posted so multiple time on this blog that the Senate majority wasn’t there and that national reciprocity using the Commerce Clause is a stupid idea to begin with. Almost as stupid as asking the ATF to “regulate” bump stocks.

          1. It was still worth holding the vote, to be able to grade the senators on it. 2013 was a long time ago, after all, and things change.

          2. I’m not making any false accusations or personal attacks.

            The fact that you are happy we didn’t get national reciprocity should say all we need to know about you.

            1. Well, I am simply not willing to give even more of my rights away. The application of the Commerce Clause to national reciprocity is an outright stupid idea. When I am crossing from Tennessee to Kentucky while carrying a firearm, then suddenly the act of me carrying a firearm falls under the Commerce Clause and can be regulated by the federal government. At some point almost everything we do or own will fall under the Commerce Clause and can be regulated by the federal government. You might want to read up on the Herpes Theory of the Commerce Clause. But then, we had all of this discussion before.

              If the federal government wants to truly just instate national reciprocity, then the DOJ can simply just prosecute states for violating the civil rights of nonresidents. Unfortunately, that approach is too constitutional for those involved. States would lose control, the federal government would not gain control (and potentially even lose control), and firearms trainers and the NRA would lose money.

              Instead, we came up with a scheme that leaves the door wide open for federal regulation and question everyone who dares to oppose it.

              1. I’m not a fan of using the Commerce Clause either, but I also live in a realistic world. The Supreme Court has already set down precedent that pretty much everything that touches interstate commerce is allowed under the Commerce Clause. That’s entirely wrong, but that’s the case law we live under. We can fight that battle another day (one I find harder to win then getting MGs legal again), but no reason we shouldn’t use their rules for our benefit.

                And there is nothing about that where states will lose control over carry laws, and definitely about trainers or the NRA losing money. That’s FUD and ignoring the huge benefits that national reciprocity brings. It opens up states that do not permit carry- like NY, NJ, Cali, etc. That is a HUGE win.

                Of course best way to do it via the Full Faith and Credit Act to avoid that all together.

                1. Well, this is exactly the logic that got us where we are today. Further irreversibly trading off principles for a small practical gain. I demonstrated a path to national reciprocity that does not do that. However, for some reason, people DO want to lose more rights to gain what they want TODAY, HERE and NOW. Long term negative aspects are ignored for a short-term high.

                  Your second paragraph is based on a misreading of my statement. I said that MY proposal would lead to states losing control, the federal government not gaining control (and potentially even losing control), and firearms trainers and the NRA losing money. I did not say that the national reciprocity bill would do that. Quite the opposite, actually. With the national reciprocity bill, we will go further down the path we are already on, becoming Europe.

                  National reciprocity using the Commerce Clause will inevitably lead to a federal standard for carry licenses and carry laws using a common denominator. California New York and New Jersey finally get their wishes and can dictate terms to the rest of the US.

                  I personally don’t think that Full Faith and Credit will work here, by the way. States do license professions as well and there is no reciprocity either. Nation-wide carry is a matter of civil rights and not a matter of government licensing! My right to free speech does not stop at state borders either, neither is my right to due process.

                  1. LOL, no its not the logic that got us here today. The logic that got us here today is that the Constitution is malleable. That comes from bad education. We can certainly fight that battle, but that has nothing to do with the current battle. We won’t lose more rights long term to get something they want now. We will get more rights and give up nothing, just by following the current rules. There will be no long term negative aspects. And we will gain a long term cultural win, because carry will be everywhere. That’s what you fail to understand.

                    Yes I did read that wrong, but regardless, states won’t lose that much control. The only control they would lose would be banning carrying outright. And honestly, even if the federal government mandated constitutional carry and trainers lost money- WHO CARES! That’s a win. I will not base what rights I have on who loses money.

                    National reciprocity will NOT inevitably lead to a federal standard for carry licenses. Sorry, but that’s not how it works.

                    And yes, FFC will work great. Its set for EXACTLY this type of thing. Just because states license professions and it doesn’t get reciprocity doesn’t mean that is the right way to do that.

                    In principle, nationwide carry is a matter of civil rights. But in practice, the system doesn’t recognize that. So we have to work within the system, and work change the system simultaneously.

                    You are making perfect the enemy of good. You are trying to say how things should be, and if they are not, then we don’t get what we want. I’m telling you how things are, and how to get what we want.

  6. Those other funds aren’t safe by any stretch of the imagination. Wayne can raid them with various methods some legit, many not so legit eg the ILA “Loan”.

    The NRA has big legal issues and too little money to clean them up. Anyone who gives them money today should know it will flow to the Lawyers and not to the cause.

  7. Wayne has got to go for sure. Kicking out Cox was a huge mistake.

    But I don’t like this train of thought that he should be gone because he didn’t get suppressors delisted or national reciprocity. That wasn’t the NRA’s fault. That was the fault of the squishes in the GOP.

    1. The NRA coasted on it’s victory in 2016 they should have twisted the thumbscrews tighter and pressed their advantage into concrete gains for the members.

    2. Chris Cox shouldn’t be gone because he didn’t get suppressors delisted or national reciprocity, he should be gone because he hasn’t achieved anything under President Trump, supported “additional regulations” for bump stocks (i.e., banning them), and supported red flag laws (with strong due process, which doesn’t exist and which he never demonstrated how that would even work).

      Again, Chris Cox will have a hard time convincing people that he is the right person. He was supposed to be the gun culture 2.0 guy, but then he lost a lot of credibility with his actions. There have been a number of people making excuses for his actions. Also, a number of people want him just for continuity. Having him as the NRA’s CEO will be problematic at best, further destructive in the worst case.

      1. On the bump stocks thing, Chris had a choice of losing a little in a year or two vs losing a lot right now. He chose correctly. My issue with the NRA is that aside from stopping a few abuses that were going on under Obama, they have failed to advance gun rights under Trump. This isn’t necessarily even a Congressional issue either. A lot of positive changes could be implemented through executive actions. Getting IPSC declared a sporting purpose for import sake would be a good start. Relaxing parts count restrictions would be another. I’m sure that there are more.

        1. I don’t buy the NRA’s “company line” on the bump stock debacle. They screwed up big time and they know it! Then they gave contradicting explanations through various channels, but never themselves one might note.

          There wasn’t a single law introduced that banned anything at the time the fantastic duo made their statement. Marion Hammer’s famous e-mail leaked to The Truth About Guns made it clear that the NRA leadership never wanted bump stocks to be legal in the first place. She also inadvertently confirmed that the NRA leadership is fine with the current machine gun laws.

          What good is the leader of the NRA-ILA if his first instinct is to give up something in response to a mass shooting? There was clearly no strategy in place for that. It was a pure panic reaction.

          Even if one agrees that giving up bump stocks was the right choice, which I am not, the way it was done was outright negligent. Suggesting a “review” by the ATF and “additional regulations” without specifying what those “additional regulations” should be, was just a call for the executive ban we have now, with all of its intentional and unintentional consequences.

          If you think we lost a little with that bump stock ban, then you are simply just uninformed. Applying the Chevron Deference to federal gun laws is a bad precedence. Kamala Harris will be grateful for that in 2021! After all, she doesn’t even need Congress to re-classify certain firearms and outlaw them.

          By the way, the NRA never rallied the community to write comments to the ATF about the regulation. This was quite different when the ATF wanted to ban green-tip ammo. The NRA filed its opposition to the bump stock ban with the ATF on the last possible day, silently, and with rather odd explanations and suggestions for alternatives. The NRA never filed a single court case against the ban. They still want the ban, today!!!

          The only positive thing from this debacle seems that the response to the Parkland shooting was different and they send Dana Loesch to that famous CNN town hall. Maybe they just ran out of things that they were willing to give up. Will silencers be next?

          I fully agree with you that there could have been done a lot on the executive side. My guess, we will see some executive action next year during the election cycle. The idea would be to throw the NRA and its members a bone, so they can blindly support Gun Control Donald.

  8. I like your suggestion to contribute to PVF or the CRDF. Folks who are saying “I won’t give another dime until…” is not productive and hurts our cause. PVF and the Civil Rights Defense Fund is what is really doing the work to protect our rights currently and needs the support of all gun owners.

    1. What is the advantage to donating to CRDF over SAF? It seems that they are in a similar functional space, except SAF isnt under investigation.

      1. If put under the same microscope, SAF would reveal the same issues that are currently dogging NRA. Merril Press and Merril Associates are for-profit companies that SAF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit uses for various things SAF needs done. SAF filters 100s of thousands of dollars through his for-profit companies.

        This is all legal, and he discloses it on his form 990 if people cared to look. But Wayne has been raked over the coals for less of the same kind of transgression.

    2. Who in their right mind would give money to any part of the NRA in the current situation?
      WLP will simply spend it. The BoD will do nothing to control how it gets spent.
      Can the membership disolve the Board? They all need to go away. It seems obvious they have no idea what their position requires. The fact that WLP and cronies are still resident makes this clear. Get active or get out!

  9. CRDF funds a lot of important legal battles and historical research: like my current project on the history of mass murder in America. It is not a new problem and for much of our history guns were a relatively small part of it: axes, hatchets, knives, arson, and poison were the big categories. Fortunately the blowtorch and scythe mass murders have been rare.

    1. I could have gone all day without thinking about blowtorch mass murder. Even more fortunately, government sponsored mass murder has been rare here at least compared to the old world. The numbers of Indian non-combatants killed and blacks lynched is quite small compared to Old World events like the Vendee or the Tai-ping rebellion or the Mongols’ pyramids of skulls, not to mention the 20th Century atrocities.

      1. Sorry. Even I (now with more than 458 incidents in the spreadsheet of horror) was flabbergasted by that one. (The two accused used the Jack Daniels defense; we were so drunk we don’t remember what happened.) Of course the most common weapon for mass murder, with more than half the total dead, are aircraft, and not just on 9/11.

  10. “I also am very upset that it’s being reported that board members are being removed from committee assignments as retaliation for not being sufficient boosters of the regime.”

    I think it was a week ago I told an Old Guy’s Story about something almost identical happening roughly 20 years ago. No one cared much 20 years ago, and I got the vibe that no one seemed terribly offended today, that it had happened then. Ancient history, I guess, and long-past dissidents must all have been bad guys anyway, because they lost.

    I guess my moral for the story would be, when an organization or even a whole movement turns to the Dark Side and embraces scummy tactics, eventually those tactics are going to bite it in the ass, one way or another.

    Maybe Aesop could compose a better fable, but that’s the fable I’ve seen play out more than once.

  11. There is NO reforming of a group that will not stand for ALL gun rights. Right now due to NRA’s stance of supporting a Bump Stock ban stand to lose the right to any semi-auto that can accept a bump stock,

    And you better believe if this is a loss some leftist will push harder!

  12. Bump stock thing is a distraction. The main problem is that the leadership had become corrupt and self serving. They don’t deliver results and there aren’t consequences. They loot the treasury and there aren’t consequences. There need to be consequences, followed by reforms that prevent a recurrence. Wayne and his buddies need to go and there needs to be a forensic audit followed by criminal charges if we find fraud or theft. We need a dozen member board of active members, not celebrities or generic conservatives that rubber stamp whatever the executives want.

    1. So a case that could end up with a Total ban on ALL semi autos rifles and pistols is a distraction because “bump stock” all we care about is saving the NRA!

      This is why I left the nra and will never return, I am so sick of this that or the other given up because the nra wants to compromise, because comprimise is what they do. The nra should return to its roots of teaching yankees to shoot.

      1. Again, you don’t understand what happened. The NRA never supported a bump-stock ban. They supported losing the least amount of rights possible. They are in touch with the legislators, and they knew that Las Vegas looked so bad that it would be easy for Congress to pass a bump-stock ban AND any sort of trigger or device that worked like it, which would have banned a lot of things.

        The NRA knew that, so they punted over to the BATFE. I believe they thought the BATFE would come back and say the same thing they did before “we can’t do anything”, and by that time, the pressure on Congress to “do something” would have passed. But the BATFE didn’t.

        1. Still that 4D beer pong story? The NRA never wanted bump stocks to be legal to begin with says Marion Hammer:

          The truth is that the NRA had absolutely no strategy to deal with the Las Vegas mass shooting and thought that giving up bump stocks would calm things down. So, they threw 500,000 bump stock owners and a few companies under the bus and agreed to outlaw $100 million in privately owned property.

          If the NRA is against the bump stock ban, then why are they absent in the legal fight against it? Given the legal implications of the bump stock ban, why are they not fighting it?

      2. You don’t understand how admin law works. A ban that has to get through notice and comment and years of lawsuits is vastly superior to Congress passing a law that says the same thing. Especially since the admin ban doesn’t have a backing law to support it.

        To the media, its the same thing “we banned something.” To us, its easier to roll back. A lot easier. Its not 4d chess, its just simple knowledge of how the law works.

        1. The bump stock ban was a rule change, i.e., a change in how the Executive branch interprets EXISTING LAW. There is no such thing as “admin law”!

          The bump stock ban is backed by EXISTING LAW and even by a SCOTUS decision, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (aka the Chevron Deference). This is explained in the rule change:

          Can it be reversed by the Executive? Yes, but you are delusional to think that any President will reverse this, ever. President Trump ran as a 2A candidate and he has reversed not a single gun control rule. Congress reversed President Obama’s “Social Security gun ban” through the Congressional Review Act. That’s it! President Trump has actually extended President Obama’s firearms import ban rule.

          Will SCOTUS reverse the bump stock ban? That is THE question! SCOTUS tends to rule based on political realities, which means that SCOTUS would lean toward leaving the ban in place. SCOTUS has already refused an injunction, which means they think the ban was not worth stopping in its tracks. However, the current SCOTUS does not like the government’s extensive use of the Chevron Deference.

          We will see. This is a huge gamble. The NRA’s decision to go this route was outright negligent! You are right, it’s not 4D chess. It was just a stupid knee jerk reaction by the fantastic duo (LaPierre & Cox) out of pure panic. They simply did not care about bump stock owners and manufacturers and they did not anticipate the legal implications of such a rule change.

          It’s just simple knowledge of how the law actually works!

          1. There absolutely is such a thing as administrative law. There shouldn’t be: Congress shouldn’t be able to delegate its lawmaking authority. But Congress does, and since the New Deal the courts have let them get away with it.

          2. First, plenty of Justices and Judges no longer support the Chevron deference, as you mention. I would expect that precedent to be overturned in the next couple of years.

            Second, the bump stock ban is not backed by existing law. Its a perversion of existing law.

            Third, of course it was a gamble. But I’d rather than gamble than a law banning all semi-autos.

            You are upset at the political game and blame the NRA. The NRA has some issues no doubt. But not on this.

            1. If the bump stock ban gets overturned, then Congress will write it into law. We are then not only back we are started with the NRA’s “strategy” but have also already given the barn away on bump stocks. Bump stocks are gone either way, forever. We can thank the NRA for that.

              I still want the bump stock ban overturned, because of its legal implications (of applying the Chevron Deference to gun laws). I agree that it is a perversion of existing law, but it is the law nevertheless and backed by existing law. SCOTUS had already its chance to say otherwise!!! Our personal opinions on this subject don’t change these facts. Bump stocks are outlawed!

              1. Will they pass it into law? I think any attempt to do a “minor” change like that by law will founder for the same reason “minor” gun control has foundered at the federal level. Not enough for the True Believers of Gun Control, and too much for the rest of us.

                But even if it does pass along the forms the BATFE has regulated, it’s much less dangerous than some of the proposed language.

                And, face it. There’s not enough of a constituency to bring machineguns to the masses. NFA ’34 prevented MGs from gaining a critical mass of owners.

  13. Rewriting James Yeager’s stupid analogy about the NRA being a sinking ship that needs to be rescued: The captain and the crew are the ones sinking the ship, they have put the mutineers in the brig and the passengers are scared shitless.

    The mutineers in the brig are NRA Director Timothy Knight, NRA Director Allen West and NRA Director Esther Schneider, all of whom have been stripped of all of their NRA Board of Director committee memberships as a punishment for voicing an opinion that differs from the Dear Leader, Wayne LaPierre.

    Duane Liptak just joined the mutineers in the brig, as he has been stripped of all of his NRA Board of Director committee memberships, except for one: Action Shooting Committee.

    One wonders how long influential people, like James Yeager, will blindly support the LaPierre cabal, given that thier friends are being adversely affected. James Yeager and others may soon find themself in the same corner as Colion Noir of never having voiced opposition to LaPierre until it was too late.

  14. Looks like we wait for New York State to clean house. Not going to happen from the inside, obviously.

    Doesn’t appear to be any legal/affordable means for the membership to do it. That being the case, I’m going to be cheering if they ALL go to jail. Worthless bastards.

  15. Sebastian – I’m glad to see you’re finally coming around that it’s beyond time for Wayne to leave. I honestly haven’t been paying much attention to your blog since Indy, because you seemed to think Wayne’s staying was acceptable. It was clear then that certain members of the Board were circling the wagons around Wayne, and the Officer slate and committee assignments have made that crystal clear.

    One thing I haven’t seen you comment on is the “special arrangements” certain members of the inner circle seem to have – where they get paid 6-figure “contractor” salaries by the NRA (Marion Hammer is one example).

    1. I’ve been of the opinion that Wayne should step-up and retire for a while now. He’s 70. I was saying it was time for him to retire and turn the organization over to younger blood since at least February of 2017. But now that the younger blood is being forced out or neutered, I think it’s time for the Board to force the issue if Wayne isn’t willing to pass the baton willingly.

      I don’t have an issue with Board members getting contracts with NRA, provided those contracts are out in the open and transparent. I have a much bigger issue with trying to hide that money by funneling contracts through a vendor.

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