Record Pre-Registration For Gun Rights Policy Conference

The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms sent out an announcement regarding the record number of pre-registrations. Included in the release was mention of some of the “mystery” guests which include my own Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kim Rhode.

Joe Bartozzi of NSSF and Jason Ouimet of the NRA-ILA will also be speakers. It is good to see these organizations participating. GOA and Knife Rights have been participants for years.

From SAF and CCRKBA:

BELLEVUE, WA – The largest-ever number of Second Amendment activists has pre-registered for this coming weekend’s 35th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, which will be held entirely online Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, with more than 120 speakers, including several VIP guests.

Co-hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, this is the first time in history the event will be entirely online. According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, there is an “energy” for this year’s conference unlike anything he’s seen before. To register, go to www.saf.org/grpc/.

While the conference will be streamed on several platforms including YouTube and Facebook Live, you must pre-register in order to receive the Free Digital Second Amendment Library, Gottlieb noted. So far, more than 2,200 people have pre-registered.

“It takes more than a virus to dampen the spirits of grassroots gun rights activists,” Gottlieb stated. “We expect the event to be viewed by several hundred thousand people. It’s the biggest agenda we’ve ever had, with guest presentations from Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, Alaska Congressman Don Young, U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Olympic Gold Medalist Kim Rhode.”

The agenda includes a federal affairs briefing, two state legislative panels, updates on legal actions and court victories, a discussion on outreach to an estimated 5 million new gun owners, and the importance of this year’s presidential and congressional elections to advance the gun rights cause.

In addition to Gottlieb, this year’s speakers include National Shooting Sports Foundation President Joe Bartozzi; Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action; Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America; Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk radio; Mark Walters, host of Armed American radio; Charlie Cook, host of Riding Shotgun with Charlie; and Jim Shepherd, editor at The Outdoor Wire.

“We’ll also be hosting live events on Zoom both Friday and Saturday evening,” Gottlieb said. “We’re determined to make this year’s conference the best ever, despite the pandemic, and we are truly looking forward to what may become the most important weekend of the campaign season.

“We’re expecting gun owners from coast-to-coast to attend this virtual event,” he added. “Last year’s conference in Phoenix was live-streamed to more than 100,000 people and we hope to exceed that number. It’s going to be an event no gun owner will want to miss.”

Ouimet Named Interim Head Of NRA-ILA

Jason Ouimet, the NRA-ILA’s Director of Federal Affairs, has been named the interim head of NRA-ILA. The news was first leaked in a story by Danny Hakim in the New York Times who seems to be the go-to guy for NRA leaks. It was later confirmed in a series of tweets by Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon as well as in a memo sent out to all NRA employees.

TO:                All NRA Employees
FROM:          Wayne LaPierre
                       Executive Vice President
DATE:            July 2, 2019
SUBJECT:     Appointment of Interim Executive Director of NRA-ILA


-‑‑‑‑‑—–‑‑‑‑‑‑‑————————————‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑————


I am pleased to announce Jason Ouimet’s appointment as Interim Executive Director of NRA-ILA.


As many of you know, Jason – a 14 year NRA veteran, – currently serves as our Director of Federal Affairs, a position he has held since January 2015. Jason rose through the ranks after being hired as a federal lobbyist in 2005 and then being promoted to Deputy Director at NRA-ILA Federal five years later.


Jason has a strong legislative and campaign background. On Capitol Hill, Jason was a legislative assistant for former Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) where he was responsible for oversight of significant issues like taxes, Homeland Security appropriations, transportation, small business, Social Security, welfare, science & technology, government affairs, Commerce Justice State appropriations and pensions. He also served as Staff Director of the Life Insurance Caucus of which Senator Chambliss was a co-chair.


Prior to working on Senator Chambliss’ personal staff, Jason held the position of Senior Research Analyst at the National Republican Senatorial Committee working on projects for key Senate races. Jason began his career in 1999 as a Junior Analyst with the Republican National Committee where he conducted field research in Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania for President George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.


Jason is a graduate of Kent State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree in 1999.


Jason is an experienced government affairs professional and a skilled political strategist. He is committed to our noble cause and I know that he will do very well.


Please join me in congratulating Jason.


Wayne

From what I understand, Ouimet is both well-liked and well-respected within the NRA-ILA. It is rumored that there may be a search committee to find a permanent head of ILA but hopes are that Ouimet would be the leading candidate.

The appointment of an interim head of NRA-ILA shores things up a bit there. That said, it should not be forgotten that NRA-ILA serves two purposes:  lobbying and campaigns. The appointment of Ouimet satisfies the first criteria but fails to fill the huge hole left by the ouster of Chris Cox. Over a period of 24 years, Cox had developed a series of relationships with SuperPACs, PACs, 527s, and other campaign organization as well as a deft touch in coordinating expenditures where it would be most useful in the election of pro-gun – or at least not anti-gun – candidates.

One has to wonder if the triumvirate of Wayne, William Brewer, and the NRA officers took any of that into consideration when they forced the ouster of Cox. Brewer probably didn’t give a damn, the officers were clueless, and it seems all Wayne could see was a potential competitor to his position.

Others in the political world are seeing it very clearly. An article published this morning in Politico reports that both the Trump campaign and the Republicans are worried about the NRA’s “meltdown” just before 2020.

Greg Keller who is the former executive director of the American Conservative Union said:

“No organization has been more important to conservative voter education and engagement than the NRA. We all hope they’re able to mount the kind of effort in the 2020 cycle they have in the past,” said Gregg Keller, a former American Conservative Union executive director. “But in case they can’t, given their current situation, I hope they’re being forthright about that within the movement so others can pick up the slack.”


“The situation,” he added, “has folks nervous.”

Steven Law, head of Mitch McConnell’s SuperPAC, said this about the departure of Chris Cox.

Concerns over the NRA intensified last week after the resignation of Chris Cox, who had been the head of its lobbying arm since 2002. Cox was well-liked by NRA staff and board members and had deep relationships with major donors and many of the party’s top strategists. He recently participated in 2020 planning meetings with the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC and the anti-tax Club for Growth. The groups discussed polling and opposition research, voter registration efforts, and ensuring smooth coordination.


With Cox gone, it’s an open question who will oversee the NRA’s 2020 strategy.


“Chris Cox is the guy everybody dealt with,” said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC closely aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Wayne LaPierre’s legacy will be as the guy who caused us to lose gun rights in order to preserve his perks if the Republicans fail to hold on to at least one House of Congress and the Presidency. His paranoia and arrogance caused him to listen to the wrong guy and we are all suffering as a result.