Intended For Efficiency, Control, Or Both?

A memo went out today from Wayne LaPierre. Among the things in the memo was a consolidation of the public affairs function and digital networks, the production in-house of America’s 1st Freedom, and news about NRA Women. This follows Wednesday’s departure of Jennifer Baker from her position as Director of Public Affairs for NRA-ILA.

One wonders whether this consolidation is for cost savings and efficiency as suggested by the memo or is it a matter of consolidating power in the hands of trusted appartchiks? It could, of course, be the former with the latter being just a beneficial side effect if you are Wayne and the Old Guard.

The memo is reproduced below:

TO:                             All NRA Staff and Associates
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President/CEO     
                       July 19, 2019 
SUBJECT:                 NRA Communications Update
Today’s announcements are about positioning ourselves for prosperous long-term growth. We are announcing key
restructuring initiatives that are expected to drive a momentous transformation to meet association demands logistically, financially, to efficiently compete in our markets, and most importantly to better serve our members.
Restructuring Initiatives:
NRA Public Affairs
NRA Public Affairs serves an important function as the voice of the NRA to our members, the news media, and key stakeholders. As an organization, it is critical that our public outreach is highly coordinated, our
messaging is consistent, and our external communications are oriented toward our mission:  defense of the Second Amendment.
In support of these goals, I am pleased to announce a restructuring of the NRA Public Affairs Department. Effective immediately, I am consolidating all our media and communications functions under one department,
NRA Public Affairs. This division will serve all of the NRA’s needs for public affairs, social media, and crisis communications. This department will coordinate official spokesperson duties for all of the NRA, including NRA-ILA and General Operations.
NRA Public Affairs will report directly to the Executive Vice President through the Managing Director of Public Affairs, Andrew Arulanandam. As you may know, Andrew has more than 18 years’ experience working in all
phases of communications for the NRA and NRA-ILA. He has a strong background in media relations and executive communications and will continue to serve the NRA well.  
These changes will not only enhance our public advocacy, eliminate duplication of efforts, but also help us realize cost savings on behalf of our members.
NRA Digital Network
Effective immediately, Information Services will oversee all technical development and support for all NRA web properties. With the exception of Membership, NRA ILA, and, NRA Publications will manage the editorial creation, review, and posting of online content.  Publications will also manage advertising sales for websites, e-newsletters, video, and social media.  General
Operations will continue to use the same existing process submitting e-newsletters and content changes to their properties as supplied by program managers. This is a key initiative to generate new sources of revenue moving forward as well as providing a more
unified digital package.
An announcement will be made shortly for a seminar to be scheduled with key stakeholders to clarify the updated procedures going forward.
America’s 1st Freedom
America’s 1st Freedom
will be exclusively produced in-house by NRA Publications. A new Editor-in-Chief, Frank Miniter, has joined NRA Publications and reports to Editorial Director, John Zent. We are confident that under their leadership,
we will maintain our commitment to quality journalism. Please join me in welcoming Frank Miniter to his new assignment.
NRA Women’s Digital Initiative
NRA Women will unify all of the NRA’s online outreach to this growing segment of firearm owners while continuing to have General Operations, Advancement, and Membership operate their respective initiatives. We will
have a destination site which merges all of our efforts into a more cohesive package optimized for search engines with fresh innovative content published on a daily basis. NRA Women will be an important component of the NRA Digital Network. Reporting to Editorial
Director John Zent, Ann Y. Smith will serve as the Senior Executive Editor for NRA Women. With years of experience as a Senior Executive Editor for, Ann will lead our editorial efforts to grow and engage new audiences with a particular emphasis on mobile, social, and video features. 
A digital seminar will be announced at a future date to discuss specifics with stakeholders.
The restructuring efforts above are as a result of extensive research, reflection, and listening to the concerns and suggestions from
staff and key stakeholders. We aim to utilize our innovation on an all-encompassing scale while unifying the underlying processes and sales/advertising opportunities critical to our organizational health and vitality. 
I know these changes will
better position the NRA for the future and am confident that our new structure will enable us to benefit from the many extraordinary opportunities ahead. 

Rumor Confirmed – Freedom Group Buys Para-USA

One of the rumors coming out of the SHOT Show was that Para-USA was in negotiations with Cerberus’s Freedom Group to be bought out. The release sent out today by the Freedom Group confirms that they are indeed buying Para-USA.

Madison, NC — Freedom Group, Inc., (FGI) through a wholly owned subsidiary has announced today that it has finalized an asset purchase agreement to acquire certain assets of Para USA, INC., (Para).

Founded in 1985, Para has built a solid and enviable reputation for innovation, performance and reliability. Firearms enthusiasts, serious shooting competitors and law enforcement agencies choose with confidence from a wide and growing variety of Para pistols. Para’s revolutionary high capacity frame and light double action (LDATM) trigger systems, are part of the innovation that Para has brought to the world famous 1911 design.

“We welcome Para into the Freedom Group Family of Companies,” stated. E. Scott Blackwell, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Freedom Group Inc. “Para USA is a leader in handgun technology and their fine products exemplify quality, innovation and performance. Para is a perfect complement to our industry-leading family of brands, and our success in 2011 with the Remington R1 – 1911. We look forward to deploying both human and financial resources to continue to develop and supply current and future handguns for consumers and our channel partners. We also wish to thank all its employees for their continued dedication that has made Para a success.”

Para will continue day-to-day operations at their Pineville, NC based facility.

Steve at The Firearms Blog speculates that it won’t be too long before operations are moved from Pineville to either Ilion, NY or Mayfield, KY where Remington has their main plants. I think it might depend on whether the Para-USA facilities will allow greater production of 1911’s than the Ilion plant and at a lower cost per unit.

UPDATE: Jim Shepherd passed on this little tidbit in The Outdoor Wire about the acquisition.

Can’t say a lot beyond the releases about FGI’s intentions, but a note arrived late last night Para’s longtime PR/Media contact Kerby Smith. In it, Smith offered a little insight into how things are shaping up -at least from his perspective.

“The company that I worked for is no longer active,” Smith wrote, “and I am no longer employed…I assume that this e-mail will be shut down soon…It has been a great pleasure working with you for PARA USA, Inc.”

The Para acquisition means Freedom Group has acquired a running pistol company with proven products to plug into as many of the FGI company lines as it pleases.

Para, if allowed to continue, will have access to FGI’s extensive sales, marketing, dealer, and materials supply chain. About all that remains to be seen is how FGI will bring Para into the fold-and how they’ll position Para products. For now, the official line is that Para USA will continue its day-to-day operations from its relatively new headquarters in Pineville, North Carolina.

Steve at The Firearm Blog has more on this acquisition today as well. He mentions that two Para-USA employees were formerly senior level managers with Freedom Group.