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Journey’s Effort to “Save” the NRA

It seems that more of the various groups that have splintered off into pushing some kind of reform at NRA have ultimately come to back Judge Phillip Journey’s efforts to challenge NRA’s legal moves.

I’m not 100% sure that I think his approach is ideal, but I’m also looking at the fact that there don’t appear to any petition candidates at all.

In fact, via voting the best options I can see other than writing someone in (which won’t likely be enough, but it won’t likely hurt) is to bullet vote from the list of candidates for Owen Buz Mills as the only one on the list to drive him to the top of the results. Because even though others might win seats, they care desperately about how “popular” they are and where they come into the rankings. Rank the dissenting board members high and you are still sending a message.

Back to the legal issues at hand, I don’t have any great insight there. On one hand, I tend to believe the bankruptcy legal experts who were watching this case closely not for anything to do with NRA, but the unique circumstances around it. They are pretty pessimistic. On the other hand, I also see that Judge Hale specifically addressed what NRA should expect – a not so subtle nod to stripping leadership & possibly Bill Brewer of power – if they try to refile, which opens the door to refiling. I do think there’s truth that the trial resulted in disclosures that make it more likely the NY AG can push for dissolution. I also think the fact that the federal court did weigh James’s attacks on NRA as a political foe into account when trying to decide if they deserved bankruptcy protection from her office signals to other courts that going in this direction is going to set a very bad precedent.

Either way, it’s about which court you think would give NRA the fairest shake. Neither one makes me comfortable which is why I’m more open to a legal strategy that is simply summed up as: “Whatever Wayne LaPierre, Carolyn ‘Burn the Records’ Meadows, Charles Cotton, and Willes Lee oppose is what I probably support.”

I went ahead and threw a few bucks at the effort. I’m not going to press the readers to do so since I don’t know if there are good answers in any of this, but I think it’s important to share it’s out there.

Ultimately, one reason I’m on board with the effort to try and save the NRA from people like Wayne is because we have a huge resource in our community that NRA has moved away from both tapping as a resource and supporting – gun clubs. Not commercial gun ranges, but non-profit, volunteer-run gun clubs. NRA’s support of clubs has gone downhill in the last 20 years. Part of that is because they were really behind the times in the shift to newer shooting sports that were taking off which reduced the amount that rising club leaders needed to build connections there or learn about resources. But they didn’t manage to connect with these people on any other level when it comes to club support.

As much as NRA has dropped the ball on this, they still have the institutional knowledge (within the volunteer organization as a whole, even if not always on staff) and name recognition to rebuild this resource and start offering more things that are relevant to clubs in need. As much good as I do think some groups are doing on the legal fights, no other group has tried to step into this space. Yet, if no one does, once these ranges are gone, they are gone for good. And that’s forever a loss of a Second Amendment habitat for growing new shooters.

7 Responses to “Journey’s Effort to “Save” the NRA”

  1. HappyWarrior6 says:

    So “send us money” for a half baked strategy pretty much? Nope.

    Is there a good authoritative source on WHO we should be voting for in order to evict Wayne and company? Like a slate of “reform” candidates? If the answer is no, then I have no other reaction other than “let it burn” and to maybe get a class action lawsuit filed to recoup my life membership dues.

    At this point we’re pretty much in this odd holding pattern where we seem to be getting lots of new shooters interested, no thanks to NRA, but probably are at peak newbies due to ammo shortages. I have to admit I haven’t been to the range in a year or so since I don’t want to blow through what I have left and pay rapacious prices. Same with other shooters I know.

    There’s pretty much enough anger at federal legislators from all sides that can be banked for a while, so not really much in the way of activism rallying either. Like I said… holding pattern.

    • Alpheus says:

      Now that you mention it, I can’t help but wonder if the members of the NRA can’t launch a class-action lawsuit against the NRA to eject the leadership and the board for their corruption, and have elections for a new one, along with changes in the structure to make it less likely that something like this can happen again.

      I’d like to imagine that this would make it less likely that the NRA will be dissolved. It would be a reminder that the NRA is more than just its leadership, and that there are people who were adversely affected by LaPierre’s leadership, yet would also be adversely affected if the NRA is dissolved altogether as well.

      • Andy B. says:

        “I can’t help but wonder if the members of the NRA can’t launch a class-action lawsuit against the NRA to eject the leadership and the board for their corruption…”

        I’m guessing that a judge would say, you had a quasi-democratic (small-d) system that you were satisfied with for years, and you failed to exercise it adequately, so the solution available to you is to exercise it now. Don’t expect the courts to fix your organization for you.”

        All of the faults that have now come fully into the light of day were always there. I worked in a very minor role with a “reform” effort c. 1998 – 2000, and the would-be reformers were crushed and completely shut out. The power of NRA “management” to do that, and what they would do, became obvious, and nobody cared. Some will recall how the pages of the NRA publications of the era, like The American Rifleman, sang the praises of “The Winning Team,” and who didn’t want to believe we were winning?

        The one Pennsylvania director we had at the time, wasn’t reelected, and was so disillusioned by what he had experienced he subsequently left the gun rights movement completely. He had been very effective and active at the state level, and the NRA drove him out.

        • Alpheus says:

          I’m not entirely sure this is correct. How many people have been trying to reform the NRA, especially in the last few years? And how much reform has been prevented by keeping the corruption sufficiently under wraps, and thwarted by behind-the-scenes manipulation of the structure that the voters weren’t even aware of?

          Heck, who knows how much of a heavy, behind-the-scenes hand LaPierre has over the board, even now? We know some of it, but how much of it is merely scratching the surface?

          And, when all is said and done, why wouldn’t scrapping the current leadership, board included, and scrapping the current “democratic” process (which has proven to be very undemocratic) to replace it with something that would be more effective, be a sufficient remedy for dealing with this corruption?

          Wouldn’t the fact that this corruption continues to exist, even against the disapproval of so many of the members, be considerable evidence that the system itself needs to be reformed?

          • Andy B. says:

            I don’t disagree; I’m just speculating that a judge might have little sympathy with members of an organization that for the most part “didn’t want to get involved” and generally chose to believe the best face anyone could put on things.

            At any given time there were activists who sensed that something wasn’t right (see my little story about efforts c. 2000)and when they would be crushed, it seemed to me there was a prevailing attitude that they had gotten what was coming to them, for getting uppity.

            I’ll cite again the absurdity that what got NRA members excited enough to undertake a board member recall effort, was a rumor that Grover Norquist was fronting for the Muslim Brotherhood. Real bread-and-butter issues like financial chicanery and straight-up fraud?

            NOOooooooooo. . . Don’t even suggest it!

    • Bitter says:

      Define “authoritative source.” As far as I can see, there are just people with opinions on the internet.

      As for who to vote for, you’re a little late to the party for most actions you can take. Petitions for this summer’s election were due many, many, many months ago. In fact, we’re pretty much coming up on petition season again shortly. I’m not aware of any petition candidate who made the ballot, and the only Nominating Committee-backed reformer is listed in this post – Buz Mills. Bullet vote for him. If you want the authority by which I make the recommendation, click the damn links and see he’s part of the suits trying to get an examiner or trustee to take over with the ability to remove Wayne.

      Journey is safe until 2023. Unfortunately, the seat that Marshall filled ends this year and he wasn’t among the Nominating Committee-supported candidates that I have seen. I haven’t heard or seen that he’s running as a petition candidate.

      I know that Frank Tait is running a write-in campaign, so that’s another option. You can read on his views of this mess at the link.

      EDITED TO ADD: I have to admit that I’m not very happy with this take that you just want your money back and to go home if you don’t get an immediate answer.

      First of all, the people making noises about refunds for member dues are just holding up signs that show they don’t know how membership dues and organizations work. That irritates me as someone in the non-profit sphere on many levels.

      Secondly, you joined an organization that has only 1/3 of its board up for a vote in any given election. If you wanted fast turnover, then that’s an issue of you joining the wrong group. You needed to look for a group that has 50% or more of its board up in a single year or other avenues to make direct changes if you weren’t happy.

      I’ll be honest, that last reason is why I haven’t been cheering on some of the reform groups. It wasn’t just because I wasn’t confident in their approach in one year, but also because the seem to have gone silent after the election results last fall. I can get pulling back to re-evaluate, but there always should have been an ongoing plan for at least 2-3 years in order to get enough reform candidates on even if they were more successful last year.

  2. I think NY non-profit law makes it hard for ordinary members to have any sort of standing in the NYAG’s dissolution lawsuit as intervenors. I have been told by those that investigated it that a director would have standing, a former director might have some standing, and the rest of us not at all. That said, I do understand there are efforts to get a “members’ committee” with some standing in the NY case.

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