The NRA Annual Meetings
I hope you were following my tweets from the NRA annual meetings in Indianapolis. The news was flying, and everyone was talking about the articles in the New Yorker and Wall Street Journal about the turmoil at the top levels of the organization. It’s been only a couple of days since the members were locked out of the board of directors meeting on Monday. After nine hours behind closed doors, and leaks from within that room to selected media, the official word is that Wayne LaPierre was re-elected by unanimous vote (unlikely). Col. Oliver North left the annual meetings while they were in progress, leading some to say he had resigned as president. He hadn’t. In the closed session, he was not nominated to be president (unusual), and vice president Richard Childress was not nominated to continue in that role.
Meanwhile, the NRA has sued its PR agency, Ackerman McQueen, the New York Attorney General office has ordered the NRA to preserve documents (likely in preparation for a full investigation), and members want to know what’s going on, why so many staff members are being paid hundreds of thousands and even more than a million dollars per year, and trust in the organization appears to be at an all-time low.
What’s it all mean? I’ll be darned if I know. Board members aren’t talking. All we get is the official version of events. I think the early viewpoint that Oliver North was the bad guy is this may have been wrong.
Here’s what I do believe. We need a strong NRA. We need to immediately get rid of every PR program costing millions and producing only income for the agency. We need board members who will talk about what’s going on behind closed doors. I also believe that a whirlwind is heading toward the largest gun-rights group and that this storm is of its own making.
I also hope that the ILA has managed to remain separate from this mess.
Unfortunately, I also know that no other gun rights group can do what the NRA does (or should be doing).
As a 40-plus year life member (now benefactor level) of this great group the events unfolding now, along with the lack of transparency, leave me with the hollowness of disappointment and an uncertainty about the likelihood of avoiding disaster.
If anyone at the NRA (staff or board members) cares to fill me in, I’m all ears.
The members want to know. Otherwise, as so many have told me over the last week, they are gone. ~ Tom
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.