The headline come from a quote by newly-elected NRA President Charles Cotton regarding the NRA Annual Meeting held in Charlotte on Saturday.
If that was all you knew about the Meeting of Members held in Charlotte, you would be excused if you assumed the meeting room was packed to the gills, that members’ concerns were respectfully heard, and that every member of the Board of Director was there.
The reality is much different.
As you can see in this photo sent to me by Rocky Marshall, attendance was sparse. He counted 128 attendees and there were probably a few more by the time everything got underway. Even last year in Tucson during the height of COVID, the Meeting of Members had more attendees. I would say the majority in attendance in Charlotte were Board members, their spouses, and NRA staff.
With regard to having members’ concerns being respectfully heard, a concerted effort was made to suppress even a vote on the only resolution brought before the members in the meeting. Frank Tait submitted the resolution that expressed no confidence in Wayne LaPierre and the Board of Directors and which said Wayne, Meadows, Cotton, Lee, and John Frazer did not deserve to be re-elected. Friend of Wayne Joel Friedman raised an objection to the resolution and a vote was called on whether to consider it. The vote was an overwhelming majority to sustain the objection and not consider the resolution. With that, the meeting adjurned.
If there was a bright spot in this whole charade, it is that NRA General Counsel and Secretary John Frazer was forced to read the resolution in its entirety out loud and that it became an official part of the meeting records. There is no word whether Frazer gritted his teeth or whether his blood pressure started to rise in response.
Stephen Gutowski notes in his new publication The Reload that 28 members of the Board of Directors bailed on the meeting and the follow-up Board Meeting. That means only 48 or members of the Board bothered to show up.
Moving on to the Board Meeting where officers and executives would be elected. The only surprise is that Wayne was not able to be re-elected by acclamation as Judge Phil Journey nominated Rocky Marshall for Executive VP and CEO. The vote on that was 44 votes for Wayne, 2 for Rocky, and 2-3 abstentions. They then went on to elect the full slate of officers and executives that were in the Nominating Committee recommendations that I posted on Friday night.
Such was the paranoia of the NRA that Stephen Gutowski was kept out of the Board Meeting because he was not an active NRA member. He had been allowed to sit in on other NRA Board Meetings in the past. Moreover, I was told by both Frank Tait and Rocky Marshall that they were shadowed throughout both the Meeting of Members and the NRA Board of Directors Meeting by a couple of security guards. Frank did note that they kept the CDC-recommended six feet away.
I have to laugh when I read the official statement by Wayne on being re-elected as Executive VP.
“The NRA is focused and energized–standing tall in the face of unprecedented attacks on our Association and constitutional freedoms,”…“I am honored by the trust placed in me by the NRA Board of Directors and the millions of patriots they represent. Together, we will continue to confront our adversaries and fight for our freedoms and values. We are resolute in our mission as America’s greatest defender of constitutional freedom.”
The Board of Directors may have represented the members at one time but that time is past. If Wayne and his cronies were really the greatest defender of constitutional freedom they would have allowed consideration of Frank Tait’s resolution, they would not have obstructed the case that became DC v. Heller in its early stages, and they would have gone far beyond the legal requirements for notification of the Annual Meeting. On this last thing, they didn’t even meet the minimum requirements imposed by NY law.
We are beginning to see the impact of the willful ignorance of the Board of Directors. Membership is reported to have fallen down to about 4.2 million members from a high of 5.5 million. Moreover, I know of a very large gun club in Pennsylvania that will be dropping their 100% NRA membership requirement. Without such a requirement, you have to believe that a lot of annual members will start dropping off the roles. Finally, I am hearing on various forums that range from hunting to 2A activism that a large number of traditional donors are keeping their wallets closed. Now I may be just listening to the choir on this but I’m starting to see it in too many places to ignore.