You Would Not Have Seen This In 2018

I received a press release earlier this week from Roy Hill of Brownells. Reading through it I was struck that this was not something you would have seen in earlier times. Bear in mind that Pete Brownell served as president of the NRA from May 2017 until May 2018 and was an officer and member of the board prior to that.

The release was about a donation made by Brownells to the Firearms Policy Coalition.

Brownells is proud to announce it has become a Benefactor Member of the Firearms Policy Coalition Constitution Alliance.

Brownells joins other well-known firearms industry companies such as Daniel Defense and Silencer Shop to stand with the Firearms Policy Coalition in defense and support of constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights for all Americans.

Founded in 2015, the FPC’s main mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms— often by filing lawsuits against egregious anti-gun-rights laws and regulations.

Recently, FPC filed a lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional New Jersey restrictions and local practices that prevent its residents from exercising their right to carry loaded handguns in public for self-defense. Additionally, FPC has recently filed lawsuits in Nevada, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Illinois, and Tennessee.

“FPC has stood in the Breach to defend our 2A rights for years. They have stacked up an impressive list of legal wins that keeps the individual right to bear arms alive in America,” said Brownells Chairman Pete Brownell.  “Now is the time to double down in supporting our Second Amendment Rights by supporting FPC.”

“It is an honor to have earned the support of Pete Brownell and the Brownells family,” said FPC president Brandon Combs. “Brownells is not only a world-class supplier of constitutionally protected products, it is an institution in our culture. Because of the generous support of our individual FPC Grassroots Army members and growing family of Constitution Alliance benefactors, like our friends at Brownells, our FPC Team is able to aggressively address important issues and protect individuals’ rights, freedoms, and property without hesitation. FPC will proudly continue to Fight Forward for the People and their rights, liberty, and property.”

So far in 2021, Brownells has donated around $175,000 to the FPC.

As I see it, the move by Brownells is an indication of two things. First, it is a testimony to how far the FPC has come in a short time. Second, and what really struck me, is that Brownells which has a long history with the NRA has chosen to send their money elsewhere.

Perhaps I’m mistaken but I see this as a way for Brownells to continue their support for the Second Amendment while distancing themselves from the NRA and all of its self-inflicted problems.

You Did It! Frank Tait Is On The Ballot

Thanks to everyone who signed petitions for Frank Tait, he beat the “margin of Wayne” and is on the ballot for the 2022 NRA Board of Directors election. He could not have done it without your help and the help of many others who want change at the NRA.

This means that instead of being forced to choose between voting for one of the hand-picked “friends of Wayne” or not voting, you now have a choice.

If you are a voting member, now is the time to start talking to your friends who are also voting members. A personal recommendation from you should mean a lot more than the usual propaganda that you see month after month in the official journal.

Remember it is our NRA and not Wayne’s NRA.

UPDATE: From Frank on getting on the ballot.

The petitions were “beyond the margin of Wayne” and I am on the ballot!

I have to get my approved 150-word biographical sketch in by December 17 so it can be included with the ballots.

This would not be possible without the support of many great people and organizations around the country including the participants at the IDPA Liberty Match, Bitter of Shall Not be Questioned Blog, and the members of Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association, the participants of the Nineteenth Bi-Annual Machinegun Shoot at Eastern Lancaster County Rod & Gun Club, and the Montgomery County Federation of Sportsmens Clubs Trapshooting League.

I am grateful for this tremendous support and am committed to reforming the board and management of the NRA

Do You Know Who I Am?

I got a piece of mail yesterday from the NRA that greatly amused me. It said it was from the “Honors Committee” of the NRA. I was nominated get the “National Patriot’s Medal” and to be a member of the “NRA Golden Eagles.”

Don’t they know I’m one of those dissident Life Members who is royally disgusted with Wayne and the majority of the Board of Directors? That I signed the ballot petition for their arch-nemesis Frank Tait? That I’ve been a critic of the NRA’s leadership and its direction for the last two years? That 1st VP Willes Lee has labeled me a “hater”?

I guess for the low, low payment of only $250 annually or a quarterly payment of $62.50 required to be a NRA Golden Eagle that all is forgiven.

My $250 would get me a special decal for my car, a NRA Golden Eagle ball cap (probably made in China), and the knowledge that I, too, could help pay the legal fees of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors.

As the great Groucho Marx said in one form or another, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” There are some I for which I’d make exceptions but this isn’t one of them.

“Beyond The Margin Of Wayne”

Frank Tait reports that people have come through in signing his petition to be on the NRA Board of Directors ballot. He received approximately 238% of the number needed to be put on the ballot. He had been advised to have at least double what he needed. Certainly some will be invalid. That said, I will flatly say that if he is kept off the ballot for not meeting the requisite number, it will be due to shenanigans. Because I don’t want to be sued by Wayne’s pin-striped legal wizard (sic) who just lost another case, I won’t call it fraud.

I’ll let Frank Tait give more details:

I submitted a total of 334 petition sheets. These sheets averaged 3.4 signatures per page. This is up significantly from the 2020 campaign. What made the difference this year is that people signing petitions got others to sign.

I received petitions from NRA members in 43 states. 41% of the signatures were from my home state PA. Significant numbers of signatures came in from Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Wyoming, Delaware, North Carolina, Texas, Maryland, California, Florida, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Social media contacts were the next largest contributor bringing in 36% of the signatures. Many NRA instructors and training counselors gathered signatures. 16% were from my home club, LPRGC. 24% came from the Eagle Arms gun shows. A certain group of “Deplorables” that meets semi-annually at the NRA Whittington Center brought in 13% of the signatures.

1,134 signatures would not be possible without the support of many great people and organizations around the country including the participants at the IDPA Liberty Match, Bitter of Shall Not be Questioned Blog, and the members of Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association, the participants of the Nineteenth Bi-Annual Machinegun Shoot at Eastern Lancaster County Rod & Gun Club, and the Montgomery County Federation of Sportsmens Clubs Trapshooting League.

I am grateful for this tremendous support and am committed to reforming the board and management of the NRA.

To those of my readers who sent in signed petitions on behalf of Frank’s candidacy, I thank you.

Comment Of The Day

The comment of the day comes from David Codrea. He, too, took note of the esteemed Marion Hammer’s comments regarding NRA members that I highlighted yesterday.

So they should have pushed ‘shine Club instead of Wine Club? But keep sending money because we know how to be sophisticated with it!

Think of the NRA ‘shine Club. They could have offered sampler packs of ‘shine from renowned moonshiners like Popcorn Sutton, Tim Smith, and Junior Johnson. At least two of those three actually make or made legal ‘shine.

I tend to agree with the rest of David’s post where he speculates that the recording could only have come from an insider and that Wayne and Company are fully aware of who it is. Read the rest of his post and watch the video. It is worth it.

Why Does Marion Hate Appalachian-Americans?

You probably have read in the past former NRA President Marion Hammer’s warning about the “enemies within” and how they are going to destroy the NRA.

I always assumed she meant those of us who opposed her gravy train and board candidates or members who would not toe the party line.

Evidently I was wrong.

Thanks to a secret tape recording obtained by NPR of NRA officials talking about a response to the Columbine murders, Marion actually meant Appalachian-Americans. The more colloquial term for us – and I consider myself one – is “hillbilly”.

From the story:

“You know, the other problem is holding a member meeting without an exhibit hall. The people you are most likely to get in that member meeting without an exhibit hall are the nuts,” says LaPierre.

“Made that point earlier. I agree,” says Makris. “The fruitcakes are going to show up.”

Says Hammer: “If you pull down the exhibit hall, that’s not going to leave anything for the media except the members meeting, and you’re going to have the wackos … with all kinds of crazy resolutions, with all kinds of, of dressing like a bunch of hillbillies and idiots. And, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna be the worst thing you can imagine.”

So Wayne thinks those attending the Meeting of Members are “the nuts”, his former-BFF Tony Makris thinks they are “fruitcakes”, and dear old Marion refers to these dedicated members as “wackos”, “hillbillies”, and “idiots”.

Listen for yourself:

It is discouraging to know that the powers that be at the NRA think so little of their own members. If only more voting members would come to this understanding and actually vote, we might be rid of these parasites. In the meantime, it sucks that we have to put our hopes in the Attorney General of New York having some limited success in her lawsuit.

Big Trouble For Moose And Squirrel

Boris Badenov aka Grief Gang aka Russian hackers have targeted the NRA with ransomware.

From Fox News:

A ransomware gang believed to operate out of Russia says it hacked the National Rifle Association, the most powerful gunrights group in the United States.

The gang, which calls itself Grief, published a handful of what appear to be the NRA files on a dark web site. The files, reviewed by The Associated Press, relate to grants the NRA has awarded. Ransomware gangs often post a victim’s files publicly in hopes of spurring them to pay out a ransom.

The Record posted the following screen shot of some of the items the Grief Gang supposedly has stolen from NRA servers. Grief Gang is reported to have posted 13 files from the ones that they illegally downloaded.

NBC reports that this is the same gang that are under sanction by the US government.

While paying any ransomware hacker is a risk, Grief is particularly tricky. Cybersecurity experts widely believe Grief is a rebranded effort by a group of Russian cybercriminals who previously used the nickname Evil Corp, which is currently under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department.

“It’s the same group,” said Allan Liska, a ransomware analyst at the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

Liska went on to say that given the troubles the NRA faces right now that he suspects their cybersecurity team is probably in disarray.

The only official response from the NRA is a tweet.

I think this photo of Wayne from the South China Post pretty much sums it up.

Somehow I don’t think Bill Brewer is going to get him out of this one.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

I am sure new NRA President Charles Cotton would be pissed off to see himself represented by a trio of monkeys. However, given his performance as Chair of the NRA Board of Directors Audit Committee, it is wholly warranted.

This has become even clearer thanks to a report in the blog NRA In Danger. Several good, honest, and forthright NRA staffers sent a memo to the Audit Committee outlining “top concerns”. I’ll let NRA In Danger tell the story of how Mr. Cotton decided to neither hear nor see the problems.

A major event in the beginning of the controversy over internal corruption came when NRA Treasurer “Woody” Phillips left suddenly in 2017, and the inexplicable decision was made to hire an honest Treasurer, Craig Spray. Several employees who were deeply concerned about what was going on wrote a “Top Concerns” memo for the Audit Committee, which was presented at an emergency meeting in July, 2018. Note this is nearly a year before the scandals burst into the open (April-May 2019). The Committee’s response? Its chair, Charles Cotton, left the room before the memo was presented. Its Vice Chair, who then served as chair, never gave Cotton the memo (obviously he knew Cotton didn’t want to hear of it).(emphasis mine) The committee (which is entrusted by the board with keeping everything honest) made no mention of the event to the board. Officially, nothing happened that day in July.

Read the “top concerns” memo yourself. It was an exhibit filed by the New York Attorney General in the NRA’s abortive attempt at bankruptcy. Given Mr. Cotton’s behavior that day and many others since, I am somewhat surprised that the complaint asking for dissolution has not been amended to make him a co-defendant.

NYAG-Bank-Ex-72_Top-Concerns-Memo-2

NRA Membership Trends

One of the cardinal rules of business is that it costs much less to keep a customer than it is to go out and get a new customer. Indeed, some studies show it costs five times as much to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. Moreover, just retaining 5% more customers can push profitability by anywhere from 25% to 95%. If your new car came with satellite radio, this explains why Sirius XM offers such incredible deals to keep you enrolled.

Now let’s apply this to the NRA. Reportedly officers of the NRA keep telling the board that they are gaining 100,000 new members monthly. This is a correct statement. However, what is not talked about much is membership retention.

Examine the chart below that was handed out in a recent NRA committee meeting. You had a million member spike in the year after the Newtown murders. However, in the next year total membership dropped by 500,000. You see and up-down pattern through 2018 when membership hit a peak of about 5.2 million members. Since 2019, the pattern has changed from the earlier up-down pattern to a continual decline. Membership currently stands at about 4.6 million as of the end of August. An earlier reported figure of 4.2 million was in error.

As Bitter has reported in a couple of posts, voting participation is down and increased secrecy about the organization’s affairs is harming it. Why would you want to be part of a group that forbids you from expressing your pride in being a part of it?

The answer is you wouldn’t. Add in that there are clubs ditching the 100% NRA membership requirement along with the willful ignorance of many Board members and you have a disaster in the making.

NRA Annual Meeting And Proper Notice (Update)

The NRA bylaws were updated last October 24th. One of the major updates that was slipped in was about the proper notice for the NRA Annual Meeting. It used to require that the notice of the meeting be placed in two consecutive issues of the Official Journal. The Official Journal would be the American Rifleman, American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, and America’s 1st Freedom.

Article III, Section 8(a) of the Bylaws now reads, “Notice of the time and place of such meeting shall be given in such a manner as allowed by the corporate laws of the state under which the Association is incorporated.” In this case, it is the state of New York no matter how much the NRA would rather be incorporated in Texas or any other gun friendly state.

As Bitter noted in comments and the blog NRA In Danger made clear today, New York has some very specific requirements about meeting notice.

New York Not-for-profit Corporation Law, Sec. 605. Notice of Meeting of Members states, in part:

Whenever a corporation has more than five hundred members, the notice may be served by publication in a newspaper published in the county in the state in which the principal office of the corporation is located, once a week for three successive weeks next preceding the date of the meeting, provided that the corporation shall also prominently post notice of such meeting on the homepage of any website maintained by the corporation continuously from the date of publication through the date of the meeting. A corporation shall send notice of meetings by first class mail to any member who requests in writing that such notices be delivered by such method.

Normally, for a non-profit the size of the NRA that would suffice. However, they don’t meet the three week rule as it would have had to have been announced no later than September 11th and it was announced that the meeting would be in Charlotte on September 12th. Moreover, while they have announced it on the nraam.org website, I can find no notice in any of the newspapers serving Fairfax County, VA. I have checked the little local papers and the Washington Post.

Since they failed to meet the requirements for notice by an organization of 500 plus voting members, it should be assumed that they would then be required to meet the more stringent requirements of notice. That includes a notice no less than 10 days prior to the meeting by fax, by email, or by 1st Class mail to each and every voting member. I have received nothing by mail or by email.

The Complementary Spouse is an annual member. She does not have the five years of continuous membership required to be a voting member. However, she did get a notice of the meeting by email yesterday. Though, again, it is less than the required 10 days before the meeting that she received notice of it. I am sure I am on the “let’s keep the trouble-makers in the dark” list.

I have been told second-hand by a very trustworthy source that the powers that be have assured directors that the notice requirements for not-for-profit NY corporations do not apply to the NRA. That type of thinking that the rules don’t apply is what has gotten the NRA into the mess that it is in. I guess one should expect nothing less nowadays.

UPDATE: I did a totally unscientific poll of members of Friends of Save the Second on Facebook. So far I’ve gotten 35 responses and only one person might have gotten a invitation similar to that received by the Complementary Spouse. The overwhelming majority of the respondents are Life Members. Many were Endowment, Patron, or Benefactor members. The key is that everyone who responded was an eligible voter and they received no notice of the Charlotte meeting.

UPDATE II: I have well over 50 responses so far. With the exception of the one person I mentioned previously, not one Life or above member who responded got any notification by email about the Annual Meeting this coming Saturday in Charlotte. It is like they don’t want us to actually attend or something.