“Gun Owners for Safety”

The Cult of Personality known as Giffords is creating another astroturf organization called Gun Owners for Safety. As you can tell for their description of it below, it is supposed to be composed of gun owners, hunters, collectors, and sport shooters who support “commonsense gun laws”.

The gun control industry always tries to come up with these organizations before an election. I think they want anti-gun politicians to be able to say, “I support the Second Amendment and this organization of real gun owners supports me.” We in the gun culture and the gun rights community recognize it as a crock but there will always be some that are gullible.

From the announcement:

We are excited to announce the launch of our newest nationwide initiative: Giffords Gun Owners for Safety! We hope you’ll join us for a special launch event.

Here at Giffords we know that the vast majority of Americans support safer communities—including gun owners. We know that preventing gun violence and responsible gun ownership go hand-in-hand. That’s why we’re launching Gun Owners for Safety, which unites hunters, sport shooters, and collectors who support commonsense gun laws like background checks.

Together, we will rally support from all corners of the country to fight for lifesaving laws and promote responsible gun ownership.

The event details are below and you can RSVP for FREE. During the event, you’ll be able to hear directly from our founder, Gabby Giffords, about how we plan to work together to make our communities safer from gun violence.

Join us for our Gun Owners for Safety National Launch Event

Date: Friday, October 16th
Time: 3pm ET
Location: Online Event
Cost: FREE

If you follow the embedded link, it will take you to the sign-up page. I find it interesting that they are targeting Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. Michigan and Texas could or should end up going for the Republicans and I think they are trying to prevent that.

An Alternative Scenario

Now let me give you an alternative scenario about why they are creating such a group. It may sound a bit like a conspiracy theory but so be it.

Let’s say that NY Attorney General Letitia James is ultimately successful in dissolving the National Rifle Association. As this article from the anti-gun, anti-NRA, Washington Post makes clear, the assets must be distributed to a like organization.

What if the courts decide the like organization isn’t a true gun rights organization like the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, FPC, or the like but rather Gun Owners for Safety. The NRA is composed of gun owners and they promote safe handling of firearms. Doesn’t Gun Owners for Safety do the same thing as evidenced by their name? I could see Letitia James colluding with the gun control industry to push this line of thinking.

It turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. Walter Olson writing in the Cato Institute blog came to the same conclusion in August.

Would anyone be surprised, given her record, if James asked for the funds to go to groups at fundamental odds with the organization’s Second Amendment advocacy mission? You can just imagine the line her office and her allies would take — the NRA always claimed to be a leading voice for gun safety and the outdoors, so let’s use their money to fund this group promoting “safe storage” along with this other group that represents our sort of hunters, the right sort.

Let’s say Giffords has a staffer doing opposition research and this staffer just happens to read the Cato column. Do you think it would be a real stretch for that staffer to propose to create Gun Owners for Safety for electoral purposes now and to get the NRA’s assets later? I’d say not much of a stretch at all.

If Giffords can come up with it, then I doubt Brady and Everytown are that far behind. I’m not saying it is going to happen but it does bear watching.

Wayne LaPierre And The IRS

I wouldn’t want to be Wayne LaPierre right now. Not only is he named as a defendant in the New York Attorney General’s complaint against the NRA but now word has leaked that he is under investigation for tax fraud by the Internal Revenue Service. This comes from a story in the Wall Street Journal that was posted just earlier this afternoon.

You may remember that Letitia James said in her news conference in August that she was referring matters to the IRS. At that time, she claimed that LaPierre had received personal benefits that should have been reported by the NRA to the IRS on his Form W-2. If the Wall Street Journal’s sources are correct, she kept her word.

From Mark Maremont’s report:

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating longtime National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre for possible criminal tax fraud related to his personal taxes, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. LaPierre was paid $2.2 million by the NRA in 2018, the most recent year available, the nonprofit group’s public filings show. His total reported pay from 2014 to 2018 was $11.2 million.

The story has the obligatory comment from William Brewer III. However, it is interesting to note he is representing the NRA and not LaPierre.

An attorney for Mr. LaPierre had no immediate comment.

“The NRA is not aware of any IRS inquiry but, of course, will fully cooperate with any appropriate requests for assistance,” said William A. Brewer III, an outside attorney for the NRA, who noted that the group’s tax filings are audited.

The story concludes with the note that this usually is a civil matter with some exceptions.

If the IRS believes a taxpayer has underreported income, the agency often pursues the matter through a civil audit, claiming the taxpayer owes back taxes and penalties. To show criminal behavior, tax specialists said, the IRS would have to demonstrate that a taxpayer willfully underreported income, typically over multiple years.

It couldn’t be determined how far along the investigation is, and such probes can end with no charges filed.

I wonder if any mention of this will be made at the Meeting on Members in Tucson on October 24th. For some reason, I doubt any official comments will be made but I’m sure it will be one of the many topics of gossip in the hallways.

While I am in no way making any side by side comparisons, I will note that running afoul of the IRS is what put Al Capone in the slammer.

Court Rules Donors’ Fraud Suit Against NRA Has Standing

Judge William Campbell, Jr. of the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee ruled yesterday that David Dell’Aquila’s class action suit against the NRA has standing to proceed. The NRA, the NRA Foundation, and Wayne LaPierre had argued that the lawsuit failed to meeting the requirements of Rule 9b of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 9(b) states: In alleging fraud or mistake, a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other conditions of a person’s mind may be alleged generally.

In his ruling yesterday, Judge Campbell found that this standard had not been met with regard to both the NRA Foundation and Wayne LaPierre. However, it had been met with regard to the NRA itself.

David Dell’Aquila and the other plaintiffs had alleged that monies that they had donated to advance the mission of the NRA had been used for, among other things, to buy suits for Wayne LaPierre, to pay for private travel for LaPierre and his family, to pay for a luxury apartment for intern Megan Allen, and to pay for makeup and hairstyling for Susan LaPierre.

Judge Campbell wrote, with regard to the NRA,

The NRA next argues that Plaintiffs did not allege “in more than a passing conclusory assertion that the NRA knew of and intended the falsity of its statements.” (Id. at 12). The NRA argues that because the statements regarding the use of funds relate to the promise of some future action, Plaintiffs must allege that the NRA had no present intent to carry out the promise. The NRA further argues that Plaintiffs cannot plead the element of intent for “any future expenditures that were not in contemplation at the time of the Solicitation.” In other words, the NRA argues that if, at the time of the solicitation, it did not specifically plan to spend money on, for example personal expenses of Wayne LaPierre, there can be no plausible allegation of intent with regard to that expenditure.


The Court declines to read the intent requirement so narrowly. First, Plaintiffs allege that the funds were spent on things that were not in furtherance of the mission of the NRA. It was not necessary that the NRA know at the time what the extraneous expenditures would be, only that they knew that money would be spent outside the mission.Moreover, Rule 9(b) allows the element of intent to be alleged generally. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b). Given the extent of the alleged misspent funds – in both duration and volume – the Court finds Plaintiffs’ allegation that the NRA knew donated funds would not be used to advance the mission of the NRA sufficiently plausible to state a claim.

He goes on to say:

At this juncture in the litigation, making all inferences in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs, the Court finds Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a claim for fraud against the NRA. Although the Court will not engage in a statement by statement review of the allegations, it bears noting that many of the statements cited by Plaintiffs do not make any representations regarding the use of donor funds. However, because some of them do, and Plaintiffs have alleged the remaining elements of the claim, the Court will deny the NRA’s motion to dismiss the claim for fraud.

Judge Campbell goes on to dismiss the RICO claims against the NRA noting that it cannot be both an enterprise and a person for purposes of the RICO statute. He also dismissed the RICO claims against the NRA Foundation and LaPierre as the plaintiffs didn’t adequately argue claims of fraud against them.

The bottom line is that the Foundation and LaPierre are both off the hook and the lawsuit against the NRA itself has enough standing to proceed. In retrospect, I’m sure the NRA will eventually find that it would have been cheaper to give the plaintiffs their money back with a non-disclosure settlement than to keep using the services of William Brewer. Indeed, Brewer’s fees were part of the argument that donor money had been misused.

One last note – to anyone thinking that this is a Democrat-appointed judge coming down on the NRA, think again. Judge Campbell was appointed by President Trump in 2018.

This Was Supposed To Be The Big Day for Josh Powell

If you had been paying any sort of attention to the mainstream media, you might know that today was the day that Josh Powell’s tell-all book was to be released. The book entitled, Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed, and Paranoia within the Most Powerful Political Group in America, is supposed to tell us the inside scoop about Wayne and company.

Amazon is running this as the blurb for the book:

A shocking exposé of rampant, decades-long incompetence at the National Rifle Association, as told by a former member of its senior leadership.

Joshua L. Powell is the NRA–a lifelong gun advocate, in 2016, he began his new role as a senior strategist and chief of staff to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.

What Powell uncovered was horrifying: “the waste and dysfunction at the NRA was staggering.”

INSIDE THE NRA reveals for the first time the rise and fall of the most powerful political organization in America–how the NRA became feared as the Death Star of Washington lobbies and so militant and extreme as “to create and fuel the toxicity of the gun debate until it became outright explosive.”

INSIDE THE NRA explains this intentional toxic messaging was wholly the product of LaPierre’s leadership and the extremist branding by his longtime PR puppet master Angus McQueen. In damning detail, Powell exposes the NRA’s plan to “pour gasoline” on the fire in the fight against gun control, to sow discord to fill its coffers, and to secure the presidency for Donald J. Trump.

ABC News’ Pierre Thomas had an exclusive interview with him. It was so earth-shattering that they ran it on Friday on World News Tonight, on Sunday with George Stephanopolous, and again on Monday on GMA.

Powell described himself as a “huge Second Amendment supporter” with a sizable gun collection and a lifelong passion for hunting and shooting. As the NRA’s “No. 2 guy,” he said he “worked side by side” with LaPierre over several years. An NRA spokesperson, in a statement, said that Powell “had zero input or influence on the NRA’s political or legislative strategy,” but Powell says he was involved in “every single important conversation that went on in the NRA.”

But he became disillusioned with the organization and LaPierre’s leadership, he said, as LaPierre’s alleged misuse of members’ money came into focus. Powell says his work became “soul-sucking,” and he now considers it a “low point in [his] life.”

Danny Hakim of the New York Times reported that Powell is now calling for red flag laws and universal background checks.

A hunter since childhood and former Chicago options and derivatives trader, Mr. Powell says that the N.R.A. has fundamentally lost its way, abandoning “its roots as an organization focused on gun safety and education.” That has led it to limit its own long-term membership growth, he argues, by turning its back on the majority of gun owners who support background checks.

With this kind of build up plus dishing all the dirt on Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, you would think the New York Times Review of Books would give it a glowing review just to get Powell’s narrative out there.

And…you would be mistaken.

The review of the book was brutal. It starts off with this:

This is a sad book, and a bad one, and you shouldn’t buy it. The thinking in it is poor; the writing is worse. The author “exposes” evils that, if you’ve been paying even scant attention, you already know. Expect it soon in a Walmart remainder bin near you.

I had always assumed that Powell had a ghostwriter. Given the review of the writing style, I might be mistaken on that. Either that or he had the worst ghostwriter that money could buy.

It gets worse.

The unrelenting barrage of clichés is worse. The N.R.A. has debased the American language, and Powell adds to the sludge. If you only skimmed this book, you would think it was about a fox in a henhouse who caught flak and was thrown under a bus for playing laser-focused hardball like gangbusters and getting the short end of the stick while sensing blood in the water.

It concludes:

Powell’s book is a mea culpa. About the N.R.A.’s Kool-Aid, he writes, “I sold it, stirred it, drank it every day.” He lost his soul, he writes, and became part of the swamp. He’d like, he claims, again unconvincingly, to see the N.R.A. largely return to its roots as an organization dedicated to gun safety.

The N.R.A., in this telling as in others, is an organization in free fall. About New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who has taken existential aim at the N.R.A., he writes, “I’m not betting against her.”

Bearing in mind that Powell is one of the four named defendants in the suit brought by Letitia James and because he appears to be a sociopath willing to do anything to save his own skin, I’m guessing he has already rolled over and is providing James all the gossip.

You might remember I noted that Powell’s attorney is a partner at Akin Gump. I had wondered how a guy without a job could afford such an expensive attorney. Five years ago the reported partner billing rate for the firm was over $1,200 per hour and undoubtedly is higher now. I might have an explanation for that. A friend who is a DC attorney said that lots of the big DC firms will take cases like this pro bono in exchange for the publicity.

It is either that or perhaps a former big city mayor who hates the NRA enough has decided to foot the bill so that even more dirt about the NRA is released just prior to the election. Nah, that would make me look like a conspiracy theorist or something.

Finally, if you are wondering how such an incompetent grifter ever got hired to a high position at the NRA, my sources say that the blame falls on Pete Brownell and Wayne’s former BFF Tony Makris. Sometime after Powell was elected to the NRA Board of Directors, they pitched him to Wayne as someone for his executive team. The rest is history as the saying goes.

Neal Knox – “April 28, 1997”

Preface by Chris Knox

This piece and the preceding one were written during the run-up to the 1997 NRA Board meeting that would replace Neal Knox with Charlton Heston as NRA First Vice-President. In order to assure Heston’s election, which was not a sure thing (Heston won by a mere four votes), his backers had “gone negative.” The details of the 1997 fight appear later in this section, but in this piece and its preceding companion, Knox looks back needing to protect his name, he ran these two pieces in back-to-back issues of Shotgun News.

April 28, 1997


When the New York Times devotes an editorial to trashing me, I’m honored.

On February 3, 1997 they huffed that “Mr. Knox has been a dark force in the N.R.A. since his days as the group’s chief lobbyist. He was kicked out of that job in 1982 and expelled from the board in 1984 for ‘extremism.’”

As reported in my last column,“extremism” had nothing to do with my firing—not unless it is “extremist” to insist that Sen. Bob Dole and the other 54 co-sponsors of the McClure-Volkmer “Gun Decontrol Act” bring it to a vote and pass it, as they had promised to do.

Similarly my removal from the Board in 1984 had nothing to do with “extremism.”

But it was again tied to my all-out effort to pass the McClure-Volkmer bill, which would have cut the heart out of the Gun Control Act of 1968. I helped write the McClure bill in 1979, and began the ground-work—by declaring war on BATF’s GCA ’68 enforcement tactics—the week after I became ILA Executive Director in January 1978.

The week after I was fired, the Senate Judiciary finally approved the long-stalled McClure-Volkmer bill—but only after adding the Kennedy-Dole amendment calling for a 7-day waiting period on handgun purchases (a concept Dole had been quietly pushing for a couple of years).

Instead of working to remove the Dole-Kennedy amendment, my successor at ILA, J. Warren Cassidy, happily quit supporting McClure-Volkmer. The Senators who didn’t want to vote on it—led by Dole—were relieved.

But NRA members wouldn’t back off. They demanded that NRA and Congress move the bill.

In early 1983 Cassidy took two copies of the bill to Sen. Jim McClure, showing the amendments wanted by the “Reagan Administration” (BATF and the Justice Department). Sen. McClure gave me one of his copies and asked me to give him a report of their effect.

To my astonishment, the modifications weren’t to the original version, but to the committee-passed version—which had the Dole-Kennedy waiting period. 

The Administration/BATF amendments gutted the bill. For instance, the heart of GCA ’68 was its prohibition of virtually all interstate transfers. The original M-V eliminated those prohibitions unless the laws of either state restricted such transfers. 

I was reared on both sides of the Red River dividing Texas and Oklahoma, and had family in each; neither state restricted my purchase of any type gun.  But under GCA ’68 my uncle couldn’t give me a gun without both of us committing a Federal felony.

One of the dozen BATF amendments to M-V would have retained the total prohibition on interstate handgun transfers and allowed long gun purchases only from dealers. At the 1983 members’ meeting in Phoenix, Cassidy claimed he hadn’t asked Sen. McClure to support those amendments—but that’s not what Sen. McClure told me.

Harlon did his best to get the Board not to seat me, saying, “We must excise this cancer.” But he couldn’t get the board to agree. That fall, Cassidy got Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to support the BATF amendments. Sen. McClure was furious. I prepared written testimony—as a private citizen—opposing the amendments and presented it to the Senate Judiciary, which wouldn’t let me testify. And I lobbied friends on the Hill, some of whom I had known for 15 years, and probably none of whom knew I was on the NRA Board.

When I blasted Cassidy in Gun Week for supporting the amendments, he denied it, citing weasel-worded committee testimony. Only long after, when the hearing report came out, did I learn that Sen. Thurmond had demanded—and got—a clear written statement in support of the amendments. Late on the night before the January 1984 Board Meeting, I was informally told that there would be an effort to expel me for opposing the position taken by ILA. I received no official notice. The Board voted 45-24 (just short of two-thirds; not the three-quarter vote claimed in a recently distributed letter from four past presidents, all of whom voted against me).

In opposing any amendments to McClure-Volkmer, I was lobbying in support of long-established Board policy. 

Board members asked me if I would promise not to do it again; I replied that I could not make such a promise because I couldn’t know if NRA were going to at some future time act against the best interests of the members.

If that be “extremism,” make the most of it.

Used with permission.

Knox, Neal. Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War: Dispatches from the Front Lines 1966 through 2000 . MacFarlane Press. Kindle Edition. Location 5398 – 5432.

The New York Times editorial that is referenced in this excerpt can be found here. It referred to Neal Knox as a “dark force” who wanted to repeal the Brady Law as well as the Clinton assault weapons ban. It said he even wanted to legalize “fully automatic weapons.” The horror!

That editorial noted that Wayne LaPierre was facing a challenge from within due to “declining membership, financial problems and an abysmal public image”. Other than a declining membership, this could have almost been written in 2020. If they had said declining contributions, it would have been spot on.

Neal Knox – “NRA Restored To Proper Course”

Preface by Chris Knox:

The Cincinnati Revolution

The gathering storm over whether and how NRA should fulfill its role as “the gun lobby” came to a head at the organization’s 1977 convention in Cincinnati when, operating under long-ignored Bylaws and New York not-for-profit corporation law (NRA is chartered in New York), a loose-knit organization of members that dubbed itself “The Federation for NRA” wrested control of the organization from the “Old Guard” NRA establishment. The man who moved the Bylaw changes that re-made the Association was Neal Knox.

Knox’s motions were far from a solo act. Reform-minded members had gathered for this meeting from across the country and rebel Board members, including Ed Topmiller and Harlon Carter, provided tactical advice.

Nor had Knox sought the lead role. In a planning session prior to the meeting he looked to the core of the reformers to appoint a speaker. They pointed back at him as the most recognizable name and face. Knox’s columns and editorials on NRA over the previous half-dozen years had brought many of the delegates to the meeting. Knox refused the appointment. But Bill Greif, a blunt-spoken New Yorker hustled him into a corner and growled into his good ear, “Enough of this democracy shit, Neal! Tonight we need Napoleon and you’re it!

In a raucous meeting that lasted a full eight hours—until past four in the morning—the members replaced most of the officers with candidates who were less squeamish about involving NRA in politics, and elected Board ally Harlon Carter as Executive Vice President (EVP). Under the newly-passed Bylaws, the redefined post of EVP, now functionally a Chief Executive Officer, would be elected directly by the members gathered at the Convention.

The members also passed Bylaw amendments that dissolved the Management Committee, and created a petition process to nominate Board candidates. Other Bylaw amendments strengthened the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm, by making the ILA Executive Director report directly to the EVP on a co-equal basis with the Director of General Operations. The ILA Director had previously reported to General Operations. Other new Bylaws provided that only the members could change certain sections of the Bylaws which would be printed in boldface type. For the first time in living memory, the members had a genuine say in the affairs of the Association.

Satisfied that his work was done, Neal returned home to Prescott, Arizona and to his magazines. Within weeks Carter asked him to come to Washington and head ILA. He refused. As he told Harlon, he had every boy’s dream job: he drove a company-provided 4-wheel-drive truck to work, flew the company twin-engine plane to shooting matches and hunting trips, and he got to play with the best new toys the firearms industry had to offer. Why would he want to go to Washington where he would have to commute through Washington traffic and wear a suit and tie to work?

Nonetheless Knox and Harlon Carter were in near-daily telephone contact. Finally, late in 1977, Carter prevailed on him to head ILA. He planned to stay in Washington no more than two years, never dreaming that he would never live outside the Washington area again.

NRA Restored to Proper Course

Handloader July-August, 1977


The National Rifle Association rests in the hands of its membership. At the May 21, 1977 annual members’ meeting a well-organized, determined group of delegates from organizations across the country—the Federation for NRA—deposed almost all the top officers, placed moratoriums on the National Outdoor Center and planned sale of the Washington Headquarters, provided for member nominations of Directors, and elected Harlon B. Carter as Executive Vice President, placing him over all NRA operations.

The Federation’s program was strongly supported by the more than 1,100 Life Members who had registered to vote and more than 1,000 other Life and Annual members—the largest-ever attendance at a members’ meeting. Those members came to Cincinnati deeply disturbed about the reports of serious problems within NRA, which had appeared here, in Gene Crum’s articles in Gun Week, and elsewhere. They were determined to discover whether the allegations were true—and to take corrective actions if they were. During their reports the officers charged that the allegations against them were lies and distortions. First Vice President lrvine Reynolds said the articles were “propaganda that make Hitler look like a piker.” Although not mentioning the writers by name, President Merrill Wright did mention the title of a Rifle article, which gave your editor the right to respond—which I did, challenging specific false statements made by the officers. When several members demanded that my charges be answered,Wright declined.

Then Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Bob Kukla, in an extremely courageous act, confirmed that the independence of ILA, and its effectiveness in fighting repressive gun legislation had been threatened by the Management Committee, composed of the three top officers. As proof, Kukla played an openly recorded tape of the February 26 Management Committee meeting in which he was criticized for ILA’s opposition to Smith & Wesson’s proposal for national handgun licensing, and ILA’s opposition to the National Education Association’s anti-handgun position. Kukla’s evidence convinced the neutral members of the seriousness of the problems within NRA; although relatively few members in the meeting had known of the Federation’s reform program, they supported it overwhelmingly.

Some Directors were outraged by many of the members’ actions—especially the removal from office of First Vice President Reynolds, Second Vice President Alonzo Garcelon, Executive V.P. Max Rich,V.P.-Finance Tom Billings and Executive Council members C. R. Gutermuth and Fred Hakenjos (Wright was exempted by floor amendment since he had but two days to serve, but he was not elected by the Board to the traditional Executive Council post for past presidents). Although there was much private discussion of legal action to attempt to set aside what the members had done, there was no overt action. However, the Board did adopt a resolution to restore Gutermuth and Hakenjos to the Executive Council on the grounds that the members didn’t have the legal authority to remove them. Also, the Board treated the deposed paid officers much more generously than the treatment given the 74 employees fired and “early-retired” last fall—instead of normal severance pay, Billings was voted $20,000, and Rich was given his full $50,000 per annum pay through December 31, 1977.

There were other indications that numerous Board members are unwilling to accept the members’ actions as a mandate, contending that the members present represented only .5 percent of the voting membership—ignoring the fact that many, particularly those wearing the blaze orange hats of the Federation, came to Cincinnati as delegates of organizations with hundreds and thousands of NRA members. However, as the members wished, the Board did provide that ILA’s basic overhead will be funded from member dues—which have been raised to $15.

The question of the full membership’s opinion of these events will not be resolved until the next election of Directors, when the Federation intends to sponsor a slate of petition-nominated candidates selected by the member organizations of the Federation. (That slate may include some present Board members, but it will not include your editor.) For the first time in years, the members will have a choice of candidates—no longer will there be 25 names for 25 offices, a traditional practice which has made the members’ ballots meaningless. The mere existence of a means for members to elect—or fail to elect—Directors will have a profound impact upon NRA policies, for present and future Directors will be certain to be more mindful of the wishes of the members, thereby avoiding the creation of even more new organizations set up by NRA members to do what the membership wants NRA to be doing—and avoiding future turmoil of the sort that led to the membership meeting at Cincinnati. The representative form of government which now exists within the Association assures that all member interests will be represented, and that the one strong cord that binds NRA together—the love of firearms and shooting in all its varied forms—will make the organization what it ought to be: the world’s most powerful association of gun owners.

And under the leadership of the new officers—President Lloyd Mustin,Vice President John Layton, Executive Vice President Harlon Carter and ILA Executive Director Bob Kukla—that is what it will be. As the new NRA emerges, it will grow in strength and unity, and more than anything else, the evidence of that new vigor will heal the wounds inflicted at Cincinnati—for few NRA members have a greater love of NRA, or a grander vision of NRA’s greatness as a gun organization, than some of the very officers who were deposed at Cincinnati. We never questioned their motives, only their methods.

As Harlon Carter said in his memorable speech at the membership meeting: “Let us put the past behind us. We go forward from here!”

Amen!

Used with permission.

Knox, Neal. Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War: Dispatches from the Front Lines 1966 through 2000 . MacFarlane Press. Kindle Edition. Location 5300-5346.

Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War: Dispatches From The Front Lines 1966-2000

Philosopher and historian George Santayana wrote in 1905 that “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In that spirit, I thought it would be useful to readers to revisit some of the history of the National Rifle Association starting with the Cincinnati Revolt and going up through the late 1990s. It was in the late 1990s that Wayne LaPierre cemented his role as Executive Vice President of the NRA and effectively stifled any future efforts to remove him.

This history is not unbiased as it comes from the writings of the late Neal Knox. He was one of the architects of the Cincinnati Revolt, served as head of NRA-ILA, was a NRA Board member, was its 1st Vice President, was the man who first hired Wayne LaPierre as a lobbyist, and later became his chief antagonist. Neal was also a gun writer and publisher. He was the founding editor of Gun Week (now The GunMag), was the editor of Wolfe Publishing’s Handloader and Rifle magazines, and later had a column in Shotgun News (now Firearm News). This archived post from Gun Week gives more of Neal’s life and work.

Neal’s son Chris compiled a number of his articles and other written work into a book entitled Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War: Dispatches from the Front Lines 1966-2000. The book was first published in 2009 and then re-released with some updates in a Kindle format in 2019. Chris edited the book and also provided some necessary annotations to put stuff in context.

Through the gracious permission of Chris and Jeff Knox, I will be reprinting selected chapters from the book as it relates to the NRA. I’ll be doing this on an occasional basis so as to spread it out.

It is my belief that knowing some of this history will allow readers to better understand the current NRA, its problems, and what has led to it being sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The problems that she points out in her lawsuit didn’t just happen and it is important to realize that.

Eye On The Target Radio

I was a guest yesterday on Eye on the Target Radio with my friends Amanda Suffecool and Rob Campbell. We discussed both the case brought by New York against the NRA and the case brought by DC against the NRA Foundation.

You can listen to them in the embedded player below:


powered by podcast garden

The last time I appeared on their show discussing the NRA and its issues I was followed by NRA 2nd VP Willes Lee. Sadly, if he and his cohorts had only instituted positive changes instead of labeling me a “hater”, I don’t think the NRA would be looking at a potential dissolution or government-imposed monitor for the Foundation.

UPDATE: My part of the radio show begins in the second half. I should have noted that in the beginning.

Quote Of The Day

I read a most interesting article by Anthony DeWitt in Richochet. It concerned the suit brought by NY Attorney General Letitia James to dissolve the NRA. It is entitled “Wayne’s World is Crumbling”.

DeWitt, like many of us, is pretty angry the NRA’s future has been put in jeopardy thanks to Wayne LaPierre and his cronies. As he notes, nothing has been proved yet and it is still a list of allegations. Nonetheless, he is feeling used and abused by Wayne and his crowd of grifters and has no problem with James taking them to task.

The meat of the issue which DeWitt points out is just whom is the victim.

If the smoke proves to be from a fire, and the mirrors turn out to be a true reflection of the leadership of the NRA, then I have no quarrel with her taking on LaPierre and his alleged co-conspirators who have allegedly defrauded the membership. I have no quarrel with her investigation demonstrating that the NRA Board of Directors is little more than a bunch of chained and costumed characters in an S&M bondage flick. But let’s remember, they defrauded the membership, not the state of New York, and the membership is not perpetrator, they’re the victim. What the NY AG proposes is, in fact, just shooting everyone.

DeWitt is correct. The victim here are the 5 million members of the NRA whose dues and donations have provided a very nice lifestyle for a bunch of grifters and hanger’s on.

James Seeks NRA Dissolution

While there was some speculation earlier today that NY Attorney General Letitia James’ “national announcement” would have to do with President Trump. That was wrong. The original speculation was that it had to do with the NRA was correct.

James has moved to dissolve the NRA in NY Supreme Court for New York County. She has an 18 point, 169 page complaint which includes claims that Wayne LaPierre, Josh Powell, Woody Phillips, and John Frazer have violated their fiduciary duty.

James in her press conference said that she will be forwarding information to the Internal Revenue Service regarding the NRA’s non-profit status. As to freezing assets of both the named individuals and the organization as a whole that is included in the complaint. When asked if she will be seeking criminal charges, James said the investigation is ongoing and any criminal charges will be referred to Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. if necessary. James also denied that bringing this dissolution action has anything to do with her personal views on “gun violence” and is only seeking to enforce New York charity law.

James, in her press release, says the resolution she seeks is:

As a result of all the allegations mentioned above, Attorney General James seeks to dissolve the NRA; asks the court to order LaPierre, Phillips, Powell, and Frazer to make full restitution for funds they unlawfully profited and salaries earned while employees; pay penalties; recover illegal and unauthorized payments to the four individuals; remove LaPierre and Frazer from the NRA’s leadership (Phillips and Powell are no longer employed by the NRA); and ensure none of the four individual defendants can ever again serve on the board of a charity in New York.

You can watch the full announcement below. I will be scanning through the court filing in an effort to provide a digest later today.