For Your Weekend Reading

The NRA Board of Directors is having a special meeting today in Dallas along with a regular meeting tomorrow on Sunday. The special meeting is to approve the reorganization plan and the Chief Restructuring Officer. This comes on the heels of the last day of testimony in the US Bankruptcy Court hearings.

Day 10, as reported by the blog NRA In Danger, had testimony from the NRA’s outside auditor and the proposed Chief Restructuring Officer as well as cross-examination of Wayne LaPierre. While there is a lot there and you should read it in its entirety, three things captured my attention.

This witness did not do well under cross examination. He argued he’d reformed everything, then was faced with improper events that occurred after his alleged reforms. His choices were to appear corrupt or to appear incompetent and out of control, and he went with the second choice.

That to me provides even more evidence to Judge Harlin Hale that perhaps a trustee is called for. As those who are no fans of Wayne but are really worried about the future of the NRA have observed, a trustee would have the power to convert the Chapter 11 into a Chapter 7 and dissolve the NRA.

The second thing that captured my attention was Wayne’s response to the NRA’s attorney Greg Garman when asked about his background and history.

Background. MA from Boston College in politics, VA legislature. Got Phd. Over at DNC, knew NRA people, NRA right across street. Went into NRA building, they offered me job, late 1977. State liaison for year, then director state local. 1 year, then head govt affairs, in 1980. Membership now 4.9 million. Tried convert NRA into freedom organization. Outreach to celebrities. Celebrity shoots in Hollywood, dinners, etc.

Wayne does not have a PhD. He may have been in a PhD program in political science at BC but he never earned a PhD. I was admitted to the PhD program in political science at UNC-Chapel Hill. However, I left with a wife and no degree. I would never, ever, claim to hold a PhD if I hadn’t earned it. It just isn’t done and is consummately tacky.

Finally, there is Judge Hale’s question that he ordered the attorneys for both sides to answer on Monday. Judge Hale may be nicknamed “Cooter” but he is no fool.

Judge asks question, to be answered in arguments Monday (no court Friday)—chapter 11 purpose is to save company from liquidation bankruptcy. Does court have jurisdiction where sole purpose is to save company from dissolution under state law, which dissolution will only occur if the state court concludes dissolution is in best interests of public?

The blog NRA In Danger examines Judge Hale’s question in more detail. It is the critical question: does the court have jurisdiction? If not, then the case must be dismissed and the NYAG is free to continue in her attempt to dissolve the NRA.

Her dissolution suit has been strengthened by the bankruptcy court revelations. Just the lad day of testimony saw Wayne LaPierre claiming that he’d begun cleaning everything up in 2017, but forced to admit that he’d been given an incredibly lucrative “golden parachute” agreement in mid-2018 (it would have given him many millions had the board ever stopped electing him) that was signed by an outgoing president and Carolyn Meadows, now NRA president and head of the board’s Special Litigation Committee. The signing of the contract implicates NRA’s current board leadership, and also LaPierre himself, and shows his supposed 2017 reforms are. sham. He himself is free to loot despite them. On the same day those board officers signed another golden parachute for Woody Phillips, the NRA treasurer who had to “take the Fifth” dozens of times in his testimony. Others who got such agreements, LaPierre testified he had no idea of the contracts, showing that even if he were honest, in practice others are free to loot NRA at will without his being able to discover it.

Read the whole thing.

Moving on, a column by Stephen Gutowski on his new platform The Reload examines what he calls the membership program. In 2013, Wayne promised to double the membership after it had just hit five million members. Membership now stands at 4.89 million members. Not only has membership not doubled under Wayne’s most recent watch but it has regressed.

If the NRA’s membership has hit a ceiling, that’s significant, and it’s a bad sign for the most influential gun-rights group on the planet. It’s also a bad sign for NRA leadership’s argument in their current argument in the bankruptcy case. NRA leadership has repeatedly argued the LaPierre is the driving force behind fundraising at the organization, and it could not operate anywhere as effectively without him. But LaPierre has not only failed to meet his self-set 2013 goal of doubling NRA membership; membership has actually receded by his own account.

There are millions of new gun owners out there. I imagine some may have joined the NRA this year but the majority have not. Moreover, if what I’m reading across the Internet in forums on hunting, on the Second Amendment, and the like is correct, then there are a lot of people refusing to renew memberships or to make donations so long as Wayne and his grifter cronies remain in power. I am hearing this from both Gun Culture v1.0 and 2.0. I know my own wallet will remain closed to the NRA so long as Wayne is there.

Finally, my friend Kevin Creighton has an excellent post about the NRA’s fund raising approach. He notes Stephen Gutowski’s column on the NRA’s negative growth and relates it to their fund raising approach.

However, let’s face facts. For over 10 years now, the NRA’s primary messaging has been “Give us money, they’re a-comin’ for yer guns.” Okay, fine, let’s say they actually ARE coming for our guns. What have you, the NRA, done to prevent that from happening? What value am I getting for my donation? Why should I give to you right now, except out of habit?

Kevin relates his success fund raising for a faith-based organization using a positive approach. He urges the NRA to get away from the negative approach and return to the more positive approach of the past. Then, both money and membership might grow.

If you are a NRA member or were at one time, you really need to read all these blog posts and articles. Those of us who want a reformed NRA may be voices crying in the wilderness like the Old Testament prophets but the fight for the Second Amendment depends upon it.

State Level Gun Rights Groups

Much of the battle for gun rights and the Second Amendment is happening at the state level. Part of this is because state level groups know their state and their politicians better than any national level organization. The other is sadly because Bloomberg and his minions woke up to the fact that they achieve their gun control aims more easily at the state level than at the national level.

Given the money that Bloomberg brings to the table for media campaigns and for buying lobbying politicians, state level gun rights groups need all the help that they can get in terms of money and members. Kevin Creighton has done a great service by pulling together a state-by-state list of state level gun rights groups for Ammoman.com.

He writes in the introduction to the list:

STATE GUN RIGHTS MATTER

From the repeal of onerous gun regulations in Illinois to the opening up of permit-free concealed carry in states like Missouri and Kentucky to the unfortunate losses of Constitutional rights in California and Washington state, the fight to keep our right to keep and bear arms is often fought on a smaller scale by state level gun rights groups, rather than at a national level.

This is why we’ve built this handy interactive map to help you find the gun rights organizations in your state. The people in these groups are the ones who are knocking on the office doors of the politicians in your state, doing their best to preserve and expand your right to keep and bear arms. Support them, along with supporting your favorite nationally-based gun rights group, because we need to win the fight to preserve (and maybe expand) our right to keep and bear arms everywhere we can.

Some of the groups are the NRA-affiliated state groups while others are a more grass roots effort to push for gun rights. I say you should check out the groups in your state and then join the one that is the most effective in pushing for gun rights in your state. In my home state of North Carolina, that would be Grass Roots North Carolina rather than the NC Rifle and Pistol Association or the NAGR fund raising phoney group North Carolina Firearms Coalition.

I know a lot of people are mad at the NRA right now. Many have said they are not renewing their memberships or not sending money to Fairfax. Just because you are mad at the NRA doesn’t mean you should give up the battle for the Second Amendment.  If that is you, I say look at your state level group. That $25-30 that you aren’t sending to the NRA will go a long way to helping preserve or even expand rights in your own state.

If you have corrections or additions to this list, contact Kevin at kevin@ammoman.com.

Links For Your Weekend Reading

I spent three days this week in the gun control paradise known as Chicago. So I’m doing a little catch-up on my reading and I’ve come across a few blog posts that I think are must reads.

Since the murders at Majory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida, we have subjected to a non-stop assault on our civil rights from the gun control industry and their media allies. As the late Professor Brian Anse Patrick showed in his research, the NRA and gun rights groups in general actually benefit from this assault. My friend and Polite Society Podcast co-host Rob Morse has a post up about how NRA and SAF memberships have been rising with this assault. If you want to go into more depth on this, I highly recommend Prof. Patrick’s The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage. The Kindle edition is $9.99 or about half the cost of the paperback version.

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has two posts up that I would encourage you to read. The first, Dear NRA, says we and the NRA need to up our grassroots game. In particular, we need to convert those who believe in the Second Amendment from being passive observers to active participants. Our opponents have upped their game and are becoming much more effective. It will not be merely enough to watch a NRA-TV video with Dana Loesch or Colion Noir and nod your head in agreement. It will entail getting our rear ends out to city council meetings and hearings when they impact our gun rights.

In his second post, Sebastian has a lexicon of gun terms that the media has thrown out there to confuse non-gun owners. He addresses them and how we should in turn address them when a non-gun owner asks us questions. In one sense – and this is me saying it and not Sebastian – we need to listen to the immortal words of Crash Davis in Bull Durham, “You’re gonna have to learn your cliches. You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to learn them, you’re gonna have to know them. They’re your friends.” In other words, we need to know the gun prohibitionists’ argument better than they do. You should also read Tam’s post on Magical Thinking which also addresses this.

Kevin Creighton has a short post saying we need to get back into the game. He’s right. We need to get back into the cultural game because we are in a cultural war. Two things he suggests is reaching out to motorcycle riders as we have a shared interest in freedom and to videogamers to encourage them to get into competitive shooting.

Finally, Erin Palette looks at SB 7026 which was signed in Florida on Friday by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL). She analyzes it in depth and the implications of many of the things in the bill are horrendous. Insofar as creating “school guardians”, it will be dependent upon a county’s sheriff to approve it there. Moreover, it will require 132 hours of training to become qualified as well as another 12 hours in a “certified nationally recognized diversity training program”. Diversity training for stopping an armed attacker? Who the f*&k came up with that nonsense.

So now you have your weekend reading in nice, digestible nuggets. My other suggestion is if there is a gun show in your area, go to it.  Spend some quality time with your cultural brothers and sisters. And, if you are in the Asheville area, go to the Asheville Gun Show at the WNC Ag Center. While there, stop at the Grass Roots North Carolina booth and say hello. I’ll be working it from 10am until 5pm.