Everytown Tells Who NOT To Vote For

Everytown for Gun Safety just sent out a press release giving voters a list of politicians not to vote for. Well, actually it was a list of Demanding Moms leaders and Everytown volunteers that they had endorsed.

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, said, “We’re proud to endorse these Moms Demand Action volunteers and Everytown leaders who already have built a strong track record of fighting hard to keep their neighbors safe (sic) and are now making the leap from advocating for laws to writing them.” He confuses keeping neighbors safe with keeping them disarmed.

The full list of candidates endorsed today and the office they are running for is available below:

  • Arkansas
    • Kate Schaffer, Arkansas State House, District 10
    • Denise Garner, Arkansas State House, District 20
    • Nicole Clowney, Arkansas State House, District 21
    • Denise Ennett, Arkansas State House, District 80
  • California
    • Sam Liccardo, US Representative, CA-16
    • George Whitesides, US Representative, CA-27
    • Marisol Rubio, California State Senate, District 09
    • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, California State Assembly, District 16
    • Catherine Stefani, California State Assembly, District 19
    • Pilar Schiavo, California State Assembly, District 40
    • Darshana Patel, California State Assembly, District 76
    • Linda Deos, Davis City Council, District 2
    • Jett Black-Maertz, Santa Barbara City Council, District 1
  • Florida
    • Gay Valimont, US Representative, FL-01
  • Georgia
    • Lucy McBath, US Representative, GA-06
  • Illinois
    • Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Illinois State House, District 17
    • Marti Deuter, Illinois State House, District 45
    • Jackie Williamson, Illinois State House, District 47
    • Maura Hirschauer, Illinois State House, District 49
    • Nabeela Syed, Illinois State House, District 51
    • Maria Peterson, Illinois State House, District 52
    • Mary Beth Canty, Illinois State House, District 54
    • Tracy Katz Muhl, Illinois State House, District 57
    • Bob Morgan, Illinois State House, District 58
    • Joyce Mason, Illinois State House, District 61
    • Laura Dias, Illinois State House, District 62
    • Heidi Henry, Illinois State House, District 75
    • Anne Stava-Murray, Illinois State House, District 81
    • Valerie Simutis, Local School Council Member Chicago Public Schools
    • Sara Knizhnik, Lake County Board, District 18
    • Jennifer Merritt, Sangamon County Board, District 25
  • Iowa
    • Christina Bohannan, US Representative, IA-01
  • Michigan
    • Emily Busch, US Representative, MI-10
  • Mississippi
    • Shirley Meeks, Sunflower County Election Commissioner, District 5
  • North Carolina
    • Natasha Marcus, Insurance Commissioner
    • Claire Kempner, North Carolina State House, District 09
    • Allison Dahle, North Carolina State House, District 11
    • Maria Cervania, North Carolina State House, District 41
    • Beth Helfrich, North Carolina State House, District 98
  • Ohio
    • Allison Russo, Ohio State House, District 07
    • Crystal Lett, Ohio State House, District 11
    • Jessica Miranda, Ohio State House, District 28
    • Erika White, Ohio State House, District 41
    • Rachael Morocco, Ohio State House, District 60
    • Mark Gooch, Ohio State House, District 77
  • Oregon
    • Maxine Dexter, US Representative, OR-03
  • Texas
    • Rhonda Hart, US Representative, TX-14
    • Suleman Lalani, Texas State House, District 76
    • Denise Wilkerson, Texas State House, District 94
    • Chase West, Texas State House, District 132
  • Virginia
    • Missy Cotter Smasal, US Representative, VA-02

Looking over this list I see the anti-gun mayor of San Jose Sam Liccardo is being pushed. He is the one who wants every gun owner to be required to carry liability insurance.

With regard to North Carolina, State Senator Natasha Marcus is trying to be the Commissioner of Insurance. Her only experience on insurance issues is from serving on a Senate committee. Her campaign website speaks more about her dedication to stuff like clean energy, gun control, and abortion than it does to issues concerning the insurance industry and insurance consumers. I have written about her in the past especially with regard to her historical ignorance about the use of gun control to keep blacks disarmed.

I know looks should not matter but when I look at the official picture of Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake), I say WTF! I know she says she worked on Broadway as a stage manager but that picture does reinforce her image as a wild-eyed gun controller. She does want all the usual laws: AWB, magazine bans, universal background checks, etc.

I will have to give Everytown this. They are working hard to get their gun control activists elected at all levels. Their “Demand a Seat” program trains their activists on how to run for office and work on campaigns. Unfortunately, they are often successful. We on the pro-rights side have not done a good job in grooming future candidates. While we do support those who support us when they do run for office, finding good potential candidates is not something we have done that I am aware of. That needs to change!

No Endorsements For NRA Board

I received my ballot for the 2023 NRA Board of Directors election in today’s mail. Unlike in past years, I will not be making any endorsements. Let me explain my reasoning.

First, there are no petition candidates running for the Board in this election. Every candidate – good, bad, or indifferent – is on the ballot thanks to the efforts of the Nominating Committee. Everyone has been vetted to some extent and is considered “safe”. The committee is chaired by the ultimate insider and “Friend of Wayne” Kayne Robinson. The vice-chair is Janet Nyce who, if you attended the 2022 Meeting of Members will remember, declared those of us who want reform as “the enemy within”.

Second, while I will probably vote for a couple of people on the list that I know fairly well, any endorsement from me would be counter-productive to their chances. My reporting on the NRA’s troubles has earned me no friends in Fairfax and my endorsement would make them suspect if elected.

Third, it just doesn’t matter. One potential reformer or even two will be ostracized by the rest of the Board. I have heard how good people like Judge Phil Journey and Frank Tait have been treated like something the dog dragged in by the rest of the Board. The shameful juvenile conduct of the majority of the Board is disgusting. Moreover, you have elderly hacks like Walt Walter re-nominated while an accomplished attorney like Graham Hill was not re-nominated thanks to hostility towards him by Kayne Robinson.

If change is going to come to the NRA – and it will – it will be from outside. It will either come from a Bankruptcy Court as Rocky Marshall postulates or it will come as a result of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit. People who think the NRA is going to win in court in Manhattan are willfully ignorant. Anyone who has followed the trial knows that things are not going that well for the NRA. The only thing that might be considered a win is that dissolution has been taken off the table by Judge Cohen. Add in the NRA’s incomprehensible decision to ask for a jury trial in Manhattan and you know it won’t go well.

Vote Like Your Rights Depend Upon It

That is because your firearm rights do depend upon this election. If the Democrats retain control of Congress, you can be assured of a new assault weapons ban along with a magazine ban. Fortunately, if the polls are correct, the Republicans should take at least the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.

In most areas, early voting has concluded and you must vote in person on Election Day. As I write this, the polls will open in less than 48 hours in most states.

If you are unsure of where a candidate stands on gun rights, most gun rights organizations will have candidate ratings. Some will only rate Congressional candidates and state level races while others will drill down to state house and senate races.

If you are a North Carolinian, your best source is the Grass Roots North Carolina-PVF. Their ratings don’t give extra weight to incumbents unlike the NRA. Moreover, they take a hardline approach to candidates who blow off their issues survey. If you blow off the survey and have no voting record, you get zero stars. I still shake my head at local Republicans who do this such as Pratik Bhakta in my state house district. He did get an AQ rating from the NRA but I don’t know how.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation doesn’t rate head-to-head races for Congress. However, they do have a report card with the ratings of each member of the House and Senate. Bear in mind that some of these politicians are not running again or have been defeated in primary.

The NRA-PVF does rate candidates for Congress, state legislatures, and some other races like the North Carolina Supreme Court. You do not need to be a member to see their ratings and endorsements. Just click on your state on the map they have to find their ratings and endorsements.

Gun Owners of America only does Congressional races. Their ratings do differ a bit from that of the NRA and are a bit tougher in general. You can find them here.

If I had one suggestion to make here besides making your voice heard by voting, it would be to seek out the ratings or recommendations from your state level gun rights group first. This is especially true when it comes to state legislators and other state and local candidates. Whereas the NRA-ILA may have one representative covering two or more states, the state level groups know who is who on the local basis. They know who has stood with them in the past, who has worked with them at various levels of government, and who has actually attended their events.

Everytown Announces Endorsements For Senate

As Tom Knighton said in reference to the announcement that Everytown endorsed 11 Democrats for the US Senate, they “announced Senate candidates it was buying.” I think he hit the nail on the head.

As with their endorsements for the House of Representatives, they rolled out the announcement to The Hill.

The gun-control advocacy group threw its support behind 11 Democratic Senate candidates including Mark Kelly in Arizona, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, Sara Gideon in Maine, Rep. Ben Ray Luján in New Mexico, Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, Jaime Harrison in South Carolina and MJ Hegar in Texas.

The endorsement of Gideon is particularly notable given the group endorsed incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins (D-Maine) in 2014. 

The group also backed incumbent Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Gary Peters (Mich.) and Tina Smith (Minn.). 

With the possible exception of Gideon, there are no surprises on this list.

Mark Kelly was a gimme given he is “Mr. Gabby Giffords” and is trying to ride the gun control train into office. Likewise, John Hickenlooper aka Hickenstupid sold his soul to Michael Bloomberg years ago.

Closer to me, Jaime Harrison is the former head of the SC Democrat Party, is a protege of House Majority Whip James Clyburn, and parlayed his work for Clyburn into a job as a lobbyist for the Podesta Group. I have been seeing his ads since early spring as our local TV stations cover the Upstate of South Carolina. If his ads were the only thing you knew about him, you would know he got a scholarship to Yale and that he taught school for a year. He never happens to mention he went to law school or that he worked for many years as a lobbyist.

Moving on to Cal Cunningham here in North Carolina, you saw a ton of ads for him early in the spring. Some so-called veterans PAC was running a lot of ads for him touting that he served in Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star. You got the impression he was like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) who, despite being a Harvard Law School grad, served as an infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. If that was your impression, you’d be wrong. Cunningham served as a JAG attorney in the Army Reserve attached to the XVIII Airborne Corps. His Bronze Star was awarded for meritorious service overseeing a number of attorneys and paralegals. In other words, he got it for acting like the managing partner of a law firm – not for leading troops in combat.

While Cunningham served in the State Senate from 2000-2004 representing Davidson County, he now lives in Raleigh though he is still listed as an attorney in his father’s law practice in Lexington. He is also the VP and General Counsel of solid waste company WasteZero. If I had to characterize Cunningham, it would be as the John Edwards of 2020 without the narcissistic attention to hair. Cunningham has also been endorsed by the Cult of Personality known as Giffords.

One final note – Mary Jane “MJ” Hegar of Texas is in a runoff for the nomination. She faces State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) in the July 14th runoff. While she leads in money raised and came in first in the primary, West has the backing of most Democrats in the Texas Legislature.

50 Days Until NRA Annual Meeting Starts

The NRA Annual Meeting will be here before we know it. I made hotel reservations for the Complementary Spouse and myself a week ago. We’ll be out near the Nashville International Airport. This means a little bit of a drive in on I-40 but it shouldn’t be too bad. We are staying over until Monday so as to attend the Board of Directors meeting which will be a first for me.

It turns out we will be staying near a contingent of my Minnesota friends who have an Airbnb rental. I last some of them at a wedding in Las Vegas during the SHOT Show officiated by the Rev. Elvis Presley (or a facsimile thereof). This should be fun.

With all the fears of coronavirus, you do have to wonder if it will have an impact on the meeting and show. Given my experience coming home from the SHOT Show, it makes me quite glad that I’ll be driving.

Speaking of coronavirus, wash your hands! My friend Grant Gallagher from the Polite Society Podcast is a PhD immunologist and sent us this article on the persistence of coronavirus on “inanimate surfaces”. I can’t begin to understand most of the science. However, thanks to Grant’s translation from science-speak, it means that your average antibacterial soap won’t be that effective but alcohol based hand sanitizers like Purel and the like will be.

Grant calls this the key line in the abstract:

The analysis of 22 studies reveals that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to NINE DAYS.

Returning to a discussion of the NRA Annual Meeting, ballots for the Board of Directors election must be received by March 29th. That is a fraction more than a month away. As always, any NRA member is eligible to vote for the 76th Director if they are attending the NRA Annual Meeting. It has to be done in person.

You can review my recommendations for the Board election here. To reiterate, I only voted for Frank Tait and Graham Hill. You could vote for up to 31 candidates but why would you.

A round-up of other endorsements is here.

The bottom line is you need to vote if you are an eligible member. Too few people vote in these elections and you know the result by now. The average local election for dog catcher and coroner has a higher turnout than the NRA board election. That is a shame!

If you are headed to Nashville in April, I hope to see you there.

It’s Not Just Legislatures That Are Targeted

We’ve long said that if you want to make sure you get pro-gun politicians elected to Congress and the various state houses, we have to start pushing candidates at the local level. It is the rare candidate that starts out running for office at the state or national level. For every Donald Trump, there are thousands and thousands of other politicians that started with the school board, town council, or even just a town or county appointed committee.

Everytown has just made endorsements for three candidates at the school board or city council level. The fact that they are pushing gun prohibitionists at this level says a number of things. First, they are actually using Bloomberg’s money to start building an actual grassroots. Second, they recognize that candidates start local and then move up from there. Third, it is an expansion of their efforts from the state level to the local level since they have no had success (so far) at the nation level. Finally, getting anti-gun politicians elected to school boards will help in their efforts to make schools less safe (gun free zones) and to encourage hoplophobia in the curriculum.

From their press release:

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund today endorsed three Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America volunteers, two of whom are also survivors of gun violence. The endorsements include Rhonda Hart, a survivor of gun violence and a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action; DeAndra Yates-Dycus, a survivor of gun violence and a volunteer with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action; and Christine McGrath, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action.

“As leaders in the gun safety movement, these candidates have proven that they will never stop fighting to protect their neighbors,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown is proud to endorse Rhonda Hart and DeAndra Yates-Dycus — gun violence survivors who are turning their pain into action — and Christine McGrath, a Moms Demand Action volunteer leader who is working hard to keep her community safe.”

“These volunteers and survivors, some of whom have experienced firsthand the toll of our nation’s gun violence crisis, are running for elected office to enact change in their communities,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Our volunteers have the courage and fortitude to do whatever it takes to make their communities safer, including moving from shaping policy as volunteers to actually making it as lawmakers.”

More on the volunteers and survivors endorsed today and their elections:

*Rhonda Hart, Dickinson, Texas School Board
Hart’s 14-year-old daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High school almost a year ago. Before the shooting, Hart was a school bus driver in Santa Fe, Texas. Hart is a volunteer leader with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action and an Everytown Survivor Fellow. Her general election for Dickinson School Board in Texas is on May 4.

*DeAndra Yates-Dycus, Indianapolis City-Council District 13
Yates-Dycus’ 13-year-old son, Dre, was wounded by a stray bullet in Indianapolis on February 1, 2014. Yates-Dycus is a volunteer leader with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action and an Everytown Survivor Fellow. Her primary election for Indianapolis City-Council District 13 is on May 7.

*Christine McGrath, Verona, New Jersey Town Council
McGrath has been a volunteer leader with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action in Essex County for the past two years. She’s running for Verona Town Council and her general election is on May 14.

UPDATE:  The endorsement of Rhonda Hart by Everytown doesn’t seem to have impressed the voters in Dickinson. According to unofficial results, she lost to Corey Magliolo who received 67% of the vote to her 33%.

The endorsement from New York City based Everytown reminds me of this.

A Round-Up Of NRA Board Endorsements

I have compiled endorsements for the NRA Board of Directors for the past several years and I don’t intend to break with tradition this year.

This year there are 26 director slots open as well as a significant change in the NRA’s bylaws. If you are a Life Member or an annual member of five years with no breaks in membership you are eligible to vote in this election. You should have received your ballot bound in your magazine within the last two weeks. Ballots must be received by the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche by April 9th in order to be counted.

With a membership of around five million and an estimated 500,000 Life Members, the average number of votes cast annually is in the 75-80,000 range. This is disappointing. While I think the Board of Directors is about 50 members or more too large to be effective, not voting will only cede more power to the paid staff. If we want to have any impact on the direction of the NRA, we who are eligible MUST vote. Moreover, while you may vote for up to 26 candidates, this works to the advantage of the celebrities and the old guard hanger’s on endorsed by the nominating committee. As Jeff Knox explains, if you want your vote to have some impact vote for one or two but no more than five candidates.

David Codrea has endorsed Stephen Stamboulieh and only him for the Board. David considers Stamboulieh to be a no-compromise candidate based upon his positions regarding the NFA, the Hughes Amendment, and other issues. Stamboulieh has also garnered the endorsement of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society for his legal work in 2A battles there even though he is based in Mississippi. In an earlier column, David has also come out against the bylaw changes as it makes it even harder for a petition candidate to get on the ballot.

Dave Hardy has this to say about these three candidates.

Curtis Jenkins. A very good fellow. He spent 16 years in the Georgia House of Reps, with a continuous A+ rating from NRA, and authored the nation’s first bill protecting firearm manufacturers against harassing lawsuits. He is an incumbent, and serves on the Legislative Policy, Legal Affairs, and Finance Committees, plus the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. He’s also an NRA Certified Rifle and Shotgun Instructor.

Charles Cotton. Incumbent, and serves on the Legal Affairs and Bylaws and Resolutions Committees, plus the Civil Rights Defense Fund. Operates several pro-gun websites, and active in the Texas State Rifle Association.

Patricia Clark. Incumbent, serves on the NRA Airgun, Youth Programs, Finance, Smallbore Rifle, Competitions Rules and Programs, and Silhouette Committees. Received the Sybil Ludington Freedom Award for promotion youth shooting. She’s pretty much indispensable to the competitions and youth aspects of the organization.

He also mentioned Heidi Washington who is the daughter of the late NRA President Tom Washington and is head of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Dave does endorse the bylaw changes in a separate post but I would encourage you to read the comments on this post.

Lt. Col. Robert Brown and Soldier of Fortune have their annual endorsements up. Their number one endorsement is for Steve Schreiner of Englewood, Colorado. Soldier of Fortune also endorses the following:

1. Thomas P. Arvas   Albuquerque, New Mexico
2. John Cushman    Patchogue, New York
3. Curtis S. Jenkins   Forsyth, Georgia
4. Sean Maloney   Liberty Township, Ohio
5. Linda Walker   Newark, Ohio
6. Heidi Washington    East Lansing, Michigan

Knife Rights does not usually make endorsements for the NRA Board but they have made an exception this year due to three of the candidates either being on their own Board of Directors, Advisory Board, or a celebrity supporter.

Todd J. Rathner is Knife Rights’ Director of Legislative Affairs–our lobbyist. He has been instrumental in our outstanding legislative success to date, totaling 22 pro-knife laws enacted in 15 states and 6 anti-knife bills defeated.

Todd’s efforts in bringing Knife Rights’ issues to the attention of the NRA Board and staff has been invaluable and it is certainly in our best interests to see him continue in this role. Beyond that, he works tirelessly in support of the Second Amendment.

Graham Hill is the Chairman of the NRA Legislative Policy and Federal Affairs Committees and is an advisor to Knife Rights on legislative issues in Congress.

His comprehensive understanding of, and insights into, what makes Congress tick and how to get things done on The Hill are extremely helpful to the NRA and to Knife Rights, particularly as we work to pass the Knife Owners’ Protection Act including repeal of the Federal Switchblade Act (H.R. 84).

Graham’s dedication to the Second Amendment is second to none and he deserves your vote.

R. Lee (The Gunny) Ermey has been a very vocal supporter of Knife Rights and takes every opportunity to promote Knife Rights as he travels the country making celebrity appearances. We very much appreciate The Gunny’s active support for Knife Rights and a Sharper Future for all Americans as well as his unwavering commitment to defending the Second Amendment.

Knife Rights encourages our members who are also NRA voting members to vote for Todd, Graham and The Gunny and reminds you that NRA Board Election ballots must be received by the NRA no later than April 9, 2017.

SilencerCo on their blog endorsed Todd Rathner, Melanie Pepper, and Graham Hill. They recognized Rathner for the role he played in getting Arizona’s constitutional carry law passed and the role he continues to play in getting suppressors legal for hunting in numerous state. Pepper was endorsed for the recognition she has received for her work in hunting, conservation, and on the NRA’s Women’s Leadership Forum. Finally, Hill was endorsed due to his work on both the Legislative Policy and Federal Affairs Committees which he chairs. Additionally, Hill is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Suppressor Association and is President and CEO of the Fifty Caliber Institute.

The Hawaii Rifle Association not surprisingly has endorsed Lt. Col. Willes Lee for the Board. He is a resident of Hawaii and is the former Chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Lee was recently appointed to the Board of Directors to fill a vacant spot.

The Hawaii Rifle Association is delighted to fully endorse Mr. Willes K. Lee for a position on the Board of Directors in the upcoming election cycle.

We have worked with Willes for many years now to protect our precious Second Amendment. He has assisted us with fighting anti-gun bills as well as helping to win pro-gun legislation and to elect pro-gun legislators to pursue those goals.

Mr. Lee has also worked with us to promote the shooting sports in Hawaii and to strengthen the youth shooting opportunities here, such as our high school shooting teams and the FNRA Banquets that support those teams each year. Willes has been fully responsible for bringing in NRA presidents David Keane, Jim Porter, and Allan Cors to our Hawaii events.

I consider the endorsements by Jeff Knox and the Firearms Coalition to be probably the most important here and the ones that I take most seriously. Jeff’s father Neal was one of the architects of the Cincinnati Revolt and was the first head of the NRA-ILA. The Knox family involvement in NRA affairs dates back well over 40 years. Jeff’s take on the bylaw changes is that it solidifies the status quo of staff dominance over the Board and makes it harder for changes to come from the grassroots.

On the changes and his endorsements of Sean Maloney, Graham Hill, and Adam Kraut, Jeff writes:

In 1977 a group of members and renegade Board members, upset by the NRA’s reluctance to fulfill its duties in the political arena, and the closed electoral system that made change all but impossible, staged a member revolt at the Annual Meeting of Members in Cincinnati. Operating under the bylaws and not-for-profit law, a dedicated group of members, including Neal Knox, moved a slate of bylaw changes that reorganized the organization’s structure and created a petition process to get access to the ballot. The members, angry over a proposal by NRA brass to move the headquarters out of Washington, were primed to join the rebellion. The meeting lasted from 10 in the morning Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday morning, and culminated with my father nominating and the members electing Harlon Carter as the new executive vice president.

In subsequent years, those member-empowering bylaw amendments have been chipped away. Each strike of the chisel was made with assurances that the latest change would “protect the Cincinnati reforms.” The current proposal pretty much completes the job of protecting the Cincinnati reforms right out of existence.

When Dad wrote the current standard, he set the petition threshold at 250 voting members. That number was deemed achievable for someone like a local club president who wanted to take a hand in NRA affairs as a Board member. In this Internet age, gathering 250 qualified signatures has become somewhat easier, but setting the bar at anything higher than about 500 would take the process out of reach of but the most prominent members.

The Board proposes setting a threshold at 0.5 percent of the voters in the past year’s election. The new threshold will be around that acceptable 500 number, but that’s only true as long as less than 6 percent of eligible members cast ballots. If turnout were to go up to just 8 percent, the number of signatures required to qualify for the ballot would go up to close to 900 – beyond the reach of an average member.

As an Endowment Life Member of the NRA who has been very active in NRA politics for almost four decades, I’m very troubled by the key provisions of this bylaw change proposal, and I am urging all voting members to vote “No” on this proposal. While some of the proposed changes are mostly cosmetic, and others seem logical, the overall effect of the proposed changes is to take power away from the members, and this is an all-or-nothing proposition. You can’t get the good without also accepting the bad – and that’s unacceptable.

If you are an NRA member, I urge you to take a look in your February 2017 issue of your NRA magazine to see if there is a voting package bound into the middle of it. If there is, go to the back of the package where you will find two ballots and an envelope. One ballot is for voting on the Board of Directors, the other is for voting on the proposed bylaw amendments.

For the Board of Directors election, I am recommending people vote only for the following three candidates, and no others: Sean Maloney, Adam Kraut and Graham Hill. There are others on the ballot who are good, but they don’t need our help.

Whether you vote in the Director election or not, be sure to completely fill in the circle next to the word “No” on the bylaw ballot, put it in the envelope, sign it, and drop it in the mail.

“As the NRA goes, so go our gun rights.” My dad first penned those words more than 30 years ago when the NRA was embroiled in another of its internal struggles. The NRA management likes to think that a placid, compliant NRA is good for gun rights. That is not true. The organization was born out of strife and is at its best when there is tension. For its leaders to relax into complacent incumbency will not yield an NRA that is willing to press the strategic advantage we have now, nor dig in and fight the hard battles that will come when the political pendulum moves the other way.

Finally, I am not going to tell you who to vote for in this Board election. However, I would say to vote for workhorses over celebrity show horses. There are two people for whom I won’t be voting and here is my rationale. First, there is Howard J. “Walt” Walter of Flat Rock, North Carolina. Mr. Walter lives in an adjacent county to me and is a long-time member of the Board who is supported by the Nominating Committee for re-election. In years gone by, I would run into him at the Asheville Rifle and Pistol Club meetings when I still belonged. His blurb says in part:

Media spokesman/debater on Second Amendment issues. Supported lawsuit protection for gun manufacturers, opposed reauthorization of Clinton gun ban. Political strategist/consultant for pro-gun candidates. Worked with senatorial/congressional candidates. Experienced lobbyist, helped pass concealed carry and shooting range protection legislation.

If Mr. Walter has done all that he says he has done for the Second Amendment, he sure has been quiet about it. He certainly hasn’t been in the fight to repeal the pistol purchase permit, he wasn’t in the fight for passage of the Castle Doctrine, and about the only thing I’ve seen with his name on it in the last 15 or more years is one letter to the editor. Resting on your past laurels is not what we need on the Board of Directors.

The other person for whom I won’t be voting is N. Stephanie Spika. We interviewed her last spring on the Polite Society Podcast and all of us came away singularly unimpressed. All we heard were platitudes of how she would work with staff to bring in younger activists. We had the feeling that her aim on being elected to the Board was more about padding her resume than anything else. Make of that what you will.

With that, I’m going to close. I’m sure that there are many more endorsements out there. I would urge you to study them as well as the ones above closely. If you are eligible to vote, then do so.

UPDATE: I filled out my ballot and bylaw vote today. It will go in the mail tomorrow with a Charlton Heston forever stamp on it.

A Round-Up Of NRA Board Endorsements

It’s that time of year again. All Life Members (and higher) plus 5-year members of the National Rifle Association should have gotten their ballots for the 2016 Board of Director elections. Mine came with my March 2016 edition.

It is my understanding that there are somewhere north of 500,000 members eligible to vote. If this board election is like those in the past, about 75,000 or less than 20% of those eligible will bother to vote. This is a shame. If you’ve gone to expense to become a Life Member or continually renewed your membership for the last five years or more, you ought to take advantage of that and vote!

This year there are 39 candidates running for 25 spots. The Nominating Committee nominated 31 candidates while the remaining eight are on the ballot by petition. In addition, there is a recall election to remove Grover Norquist from the Board of Directors.

The slate includes both what I call the show horses such as ex-NBA star Karl Malone, rock star Ted Nugent, and actress Susan Howard and the work horses like Sean Maloney, Tom King of NYSRPA, Sandy Froman, and a number of others. I guess both are needed. However, a board composed of 75 members is unwieldy and much of the work is actually done in committees. Committee work is the province of the work horses and they should be give more consideration.

I’ll start with Second Amendment scholar and attorney Dave Hardy. He divides the candidates into the essentials and the good but not essentials. He notes that if you vote for 25 candidates some of the essentials might get left out. He considers the following essential:

Jim Porter: lawyer, past president, chairs Legal Affairs Committee, sits on four other committees.

Carol Bambery, pro-gun attorney, chairs Bylaws Committee and the National Firearms Law Seminar, vice-chair of two committees, member of two more.

Sandy Froman, pro-gun attorney, past President, sits on three committees.

Tom King, State activist, chairs Small-Bore Rifle, sits on four more committees.

Lance Olson, State activist, chairs Gun Collectors, sits on three more.

Bob Sanders, pro-gun attorney, sits on Legal Affairs and on the Civil Rights Defense Fund.

Steve Shreiner, busy Colorado activist, sits on GrassRoots, holds Bronze Star with V for valor and Silver Star, both from Vietnam.

I’m probably biased — four out of seven are pro-gun attorneys, and I have more opportunity to see them in action. On the other hand, I know they all show up for each meeting unless there is a compelling reason otherwise.

Dave also recommends a “No” vote on the recall of Grover Norquist.

Next up is Sebastian of Shall Not Be Questioned. In the past, he notes, he has endorsed Tom King, Carol Bambery, Sandy Froman, and Graham Hill. He says, “I would not change my vote.” He also will NOT be voting for Ted Nugent though he presumes Uncle Ted will do just fine without his vote.

With regard to the Norquist recall, he is a solid “No” on the recall. Sebastian points out that the person who started the drive didn’t even bother showing up to the hearing on the recall. Moreover, some who are advocating Norquist’s recall are doing it due to his position on immigration. As Sebastian notes, he is steadfast against the NRA taking any position on immigration.

Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown, a NRA board member and publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine, always comes out with a list of candidates he endorses. His list from Facebook (with spelling corrections) is below. Note he does say to vote “Yes” on the recall of Grover  Norquist.

To All NRA voting members. SoF is endorsing the following candidates for election to the NRA Board of Directors. They are:

1.Mark Humphreville
2. Tom King
3. Richard Kussman
4. Sean Maloney
5. James W. Porter
6. Sgt. Steve Reichert
7. Robert Tony Sanders
8. Cpt. Steve Schreiner
9. Cpt. Robert Thornton
10. Lt. Col. Allen West

I am voting for the recall of Grover Norquist.

Robert K. Brown

The list published in the magazine omits Robert Thornton.

State level organizations such as the NY State Rifle and Pistol Association have also made endorsements. Their list is below:

The NYSRPA strongly suggests that you follow the advice of the NRA Nominating Committee when casting your ballots in the 2016 NRA Board of Directors Election. All the people on this list are good hard working dedicated advocates for the 2nd Amendment.

Listed below are a few of the current board members we regularly work with and therefore endorse their reelection. Please support them:

Pete Brownell
Dave Butz
Richard Childress
Marion Hammer
Graham Hill
Tom King
James W. Porter II
Steven C. Schreiner
Dwight D. Van Horn
Johnny Nugent

The last two endorsements that I’ll list name the same person – Sean Maloney. Sean is currently the 76th Director serving a 1-year term. Jim Irvine of Buckeye Firearms Association has this to say about Sean in his endorsement:

Many an energetic person is compared to the Energizer bunny. A better comparison for Sean is a nuclear submarine. He seemingly can run continuously for 30 years without refueling, stopping briefly every 6 months to take on food and nourishment. He spends most of his time quietly helping ensure our rights are safe, but has the ability to deliver extremely effective influence anytime and anywhere it is needed.

Gun owners need a strong NRA, and the NRA needs Sean Maloney. You can vote for up to 25 people, but you don’t need to vote for that many. If you only vote for one person, vote for Sean. He’s great for the NRA, great for the cause, and is a great person.

With a presidential race and impending Supreme Court Justice nominations, gun owners will cast many important votes this year. Don’t overlook the importance of the NRA BOD.

Vote for Sean Maloney.

The last endorsement – and one of the most important in my opinion – comes from Jeff Knox of The Firearms Coalition. Jeff, son of the late Neal Knox, is one of the more thoughtful leaders of the gun rights movement. He brings to the table a sense of history as well as his family’s long legacy of fighting for the Second Amendment. He, too, is endorsing Sean Maloney. While I am only printing an excerpt of his endorsement, I believe you should read the whole thing including his analysis of the race, his rationale for a single endorsement and his reasoning for voting “No” on the recall of Grover Norquist.

The one incumbent I strongly support, and who I see as most vulnerable, is Sean Maloney. I endorsed Maloney and his fellow Colorado Recall architect Timothy Knight last year. Knight made the cut, but Maloney did not. Thankfully, he was able to win election to the one-year, “76th Director” seat that is voted on each year at the NRA’s Annual Meeting of members. During his year on the board, he obviously impressed folks because he has gotten the nod from the Nominating Committee this year, as well as being nominated by petition. That’s pretty unusual but doesn’t surprise me. Maloney is an impressive guy and a workhorse for the cause. He’s an Ohio attorney, where he is very active in local battles, but he virtually moved to Colorado to assist with the recall effort. And that’s not the first, or last, time he’s simply shown up on the front lines with his work gloves on asking how he can help. He’s a firebrand and he’s smart. We need people like Maloney on the NRA Board.

I am going to vote only for Maloney, because if I cast a vote for any one of the other 19 candidates actually competing for the last few seats, that person – who I like but don’t support as strongly as I support Maloney – could bump Maloney out of the running, meaning I would be negating my own vote.

Therefore, I am asking NRA voting members to join me in casting a single “Bullet Vote” for Sean Maloney.

To reiterate, you must be either a Life Member or an Annual Member with five years of consecutive, unbroken membership to vote in this election. If you meet that criteria and haven’t received a ballot, I suggest you contact the NRA. Finally, your ballot must be received by the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche by May 1st.

This is a strange election year. A lot is at stake for the Second Amendment and our gun rights. We need a solid NRA Board of Directors if we are to withstand the well-funded forces against us. So, if you are eligible to vote, then do it. Don’t sit on your hands and let others make the decision for you. Take charge and make it yourself.

Shocking News!!

I know you will be as shocked (shocked!) by the news below as I am.

I wonder if it was her endorsement of Australian-style gun confiscation or her decision ignore the experience of Democrats in 1994 and Al Gore in 2000 to go all in for gun control. It could have been her proposal of a “cash for clunkers” approach to gun buybacks with yours and my money. And let’s not forget that she is the Brady Campaign’s Governor Mario M. Cuomo Leadership Award winner! It could be that an organization full of bullying old harridans recognized her as one of their own.

If Bernie Sanders actually pulls off a win in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, I wonder if they will reconsider. The Qunnipac University Poll shows him retaking the lead in Iowa and holding a lead in his neighboring state of New Hampshire.

The Brady Campaign is going all in as they have even set up a website proclaiming their strong endorsement of Clinton.

A Compilation Of Endorsements For The NRA Board Election

The NRA Directors election is upon us again. The ballots must be received by March 22, 2015 to be counted. Eligibility to vote is limited to Life Members or Annual Members with five or more years of continuous membership. Ballots of those eligible to vote should have been in your February American Rifleman, American Hunter, or America’s 1st Freedom magazines.

In the chart below, I have compiled the endorsements that I could find. Some came directly from the candidate’s statement included in the magazine, some came from candidate’s websites, and finally some came from what I consider reliable sources. I will discuss those reliable sources after the chart. The chart also indicates whether a candidate was put on the ballot by the Nominating Committee or through the petition process. A “Y” stands for placement on the ballot by the Nominating Committee while a “P” stands placement on the ballot by the petition process.

SOF, Knox,
Owen Buz
Wayne Anthony
SOF, Knox,
SOF – Soldier of Fortune
Knox – Jeff Knox, Firearms Coalition
NYSRPA – NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc.
FCofCO – Firearms Coalition of Colorado
MSSA – Montana Shooting Sports Assoc.
MiRPA – Michigan Rifle & Pistol Assoc.
DeSSA – Delaware State Sportsman’s Assoc.
N-SSA – North-South Skirmish Assoc.
IDPA – International Defensive Pistol Assoc.
TFC – Texas Firearms Coalition
CRPA – California Rifle & Pistol Assoc.
CO2AA – Colorado 2nd Amendment Assoc.
BFA – Buckeye Firearms Assoc.

Lt. Col. Robert Brown offers his endorsements for the NRA Board annually at Soldier of Fortune magazine. Col. Brown is the publisher of the magazine and a long-time member of the NRA Board. He is also one who is not afraid to rock the boat. In this year’s endorsements, he endorses 10 current board members including Robert Viden who is a petition candidate. He also endorsed both Tim Knight and Sean Maloney who are petition candidates. He makes it a point not to endorse John Brown. Mr. Brown, who is head of the NFA Trade and Collectors Association, has been accused of being too cozy with the ATF and has been called a “ATF snitch” by some.

The other set of endorsements that I consider reliable are from Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition. Jeff and his family have been fighting to reform the NRA since the 1977 Cincinnati Revolt and before. Jeff is the son of the late Neal Knox who at one time headed the NRA-ILA. Jeff suggests – and I would second it – that you only vote for a handful of people as it gives more weight to those for whom you vote. Jeff’s endorsements and rationale for these candidates is below:

For 2015 I am endorsing the following seven candidates:

1. Timothy Knight, Durango, Colorado is a proven, effective, grassroots activist who orchestrated the stunning recalls of anti-rights senators in Colorado. He is not an NRA insider, and was nominated by petition of the members, not the Nominating Committee.

2. Sean Maloney, Liberty Township, Ohio is an attorney who has an extensive record of grassroots activism and comes highly recommended by people I trust.

3. Virginia McLemore, Socorro, New Mexico, is an active competitive shooter and youth training volunteer. She has served in leadership in her state association which I feel has been neglected by NRA in the past. Rural, western, and competitive shooting representation is needed on the Board.

4. Maria Heil, New Freedom, Pennsylvania, was on my endorsement list 3 years ago and she has proven herself a worthy pick. I’d like to see her continue on the Board for another term now that she knows the ropes.

5. Robert Viden, Glassboro, New Jersey, has served on the Board off and on for a number of years. He knows how to get things done and does a lot when given the opportunity. I have endorsed Bob in the past, and think he’s earned my support. For whatever reason, he tends to come in low in the vote totals, so a little extra support could make all the difference for him.

6. Joseph DeBergalis, West Seneca, New York, has demonstrated much more willingness to communicate with the membership and take action on their behalf than most of the directors. I endorsed him in his first run and he won handily. When he ran for reelection, I did not consider him to be in jeopardy of losing, so I did not offer an endorsement. That came close to being a big mistake as he barely made the cut that year. This year I don’t want to take that chance. I’d like to see Joe continue on the Board.

7. Scott Bach, Newfoundland, New Jersey. Scott is a good friend who is doing yeoman’s work deep in enemy territory. Normally Scott comes in high in the voting, but whenever there is more than one candidate from the same state, voters tend to choose one or the other. With my endorsement of Bob Viden, I want to reinforce support for Scott.

Jeff also says for whom he wouldn’t vote. These three are John Milius, the aforementioned John Brown, and Grover Norquist.  He says no to Milius for having lied to the board and bragged about it, no to Brown due to the conflicting interests of the NRA and the NFATCA (among other things), and no to Norquist because he seems more interested in other political matters than the Second Amendment.

In years gone past, Dave Hardy at Of Arms and the Law and Sebastian at Shall Not Be Infringed have had their own endorsements. Neither has issued any endorsements so far this year.

I really don’t do endorsements but I will say that Timothy Knight seems very appealing to me as a candidate due to his work in the trenches to recall Sen. Angela Giron and Sen. President John Morse. This kind of solid grassroots activist experience is needed on the board.

Remember, your ballot must be received by March 22nd to be counted. Don’t procrastinate!