Save The Second’s Petition Drive

For those that haven’t heard Save the Second is a grass roots organization calling for reforms in the National Rifle Association. They most certainly are not anti-NRA and their proposed reforms would, in my opinion, help shore up the organization and return the focus to fighting for the Second Amendment.

The Five Goals

  1. Smaller board of directors 
  2. Term limits
  3. Minimum attendance requirements
  4. Member engagement
  5. Return the focus to the 2A exclusively (training, advocacy, safety, hunting, etc.)

The first goal that they are working on is attendance requirements for directors. To that end, they are collecting signatures from voting members on a petition to bring that up at the next Board of Directors meeting in September. It seeks to change the bylaws to impose an attendance requirement. If a board member misses two out of three meetings in a given year without good cause, they cannot be nominated by the Nominating Committee. They could run by petition. If they miss three consecutive meetings, they would be permanently disqualified from service on the Board of Directors at the end of their current term.

I have groused about this in the past and now it is it is time to act. If you are going to put your name up for election to the Board, it should be incumbent upon you to actually show up for the meetings. While the celebrities seem to be the worst offenders, they aren’t the only ones.

Rob Pincus, one of the organizers and board members of Save the Second, explains more about it in the YouTube video below. I have downloaded, signed, and returned the petition myself. They need 250 signatures by the end of the week.

Substitute “NRA” For “Military” In This Article

Lt. Col. M. L. “Matt” Cavanaugh, Ph.D.,  just published an article entitled “How the Military Murders Meritocracy”. It was on the Modern War Institute at West Point’s website. Col. Cavanaugh is an active duty US Army strategist and a professor of practice with Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies.

Cavanaugh’s article dealt with military bureaucracy and the hindrance of a real meritocracy within it. He notes that soldier, sailors, marines, and airmen “self-silence” real and legitimate criticism because they fear a swift and painful reprisal by those above them. Doesn’t that sound like another large organization that I know and love?

Cavanaugh writes:

It’s under cover of that darkness that the rot in the system manifests in subtle ways. In a healthy meritocratic system, there would be a relatively free flow of honest feedback that enables the best idea, or the best person, to succeed—in respectful ways that improve organizational effectiveness. But that’s not the norm, as can be seen on any given day in any American military unit.

It’s the higher-ranking individual that ignores or denies or evades real problems flagged by a junior officer or noncommissioned officer. It’s the indirect, I-agree-with-you-completely-but-we-can’t-do-that-because-it-just-might-upset-someone-higher-up-the-chain conversation. It’s a subordinate’s quietly paralytic fear of confrontation with a senior.

Nobody talks about it, but it knocks military candor down at every turn, making us weaker all the time. Sometimes the emperor you serve isn’t wearing socks, or much of anything else, and as things stand in the US military, saying something about that nudity is so severely stifled it’s a wonder it ever happens. And our adversaries may be far from perfect, but they can certainly find the vulnerable chinks exposed by an emperor’s nudity.

Big, brittle systems with such weaknesses always get exploited. It’s a “when,” not an “if.”

If you were to substitute “NRA” for “military” and “manager” or “director” for “officer in these paragraphs, it could have been written about the National Rifle Association.

Ollie North and Richard Childress (and for a brief period, Carolyn Meadows) sought to get to the bottom of the some of the internal issues facing the NRA. Ollie and Richard are now in the wilderness and North is being sued by the NRA to avoid paying his rightful legal bills.

There are a number of board of directors members who are being quiet so as to avoid the further wrath of Wayne LaPierre and his henchmen (and women) in the Old Guard. Five directors have come out publicly saying they were removed from some or all of their committee assignments. There are more out there who have lost committee assignments yet have decided to not go public with it. The worst part about that is that Wayne is supposed to answer to the directors and not the other way around.

Our enemies who despise the Second Amendment as well as our freedoms know that the NRA is vulnerable. I get emails on a weekly – if not daily – basis from the Brady Campaign and the cult of personality known as Giffords saying the NRA is on its heels and please send us money. Attorneys General Letitia James (D-NY) and Karl Racine (D-DC) would not have issued subpoenas to the NRA if they didn’t sense weakness. The NRA is a “big, brittle system” and is getting those weaknesses exploited.

One thing I hear frequently is why doesn’t the Executive Committee or the entire Board of Directors just meet and vote Wayne out. If you’ve read the Bylaws you know it isn’t that simple. First, while the Executive Committee does have the power to suspend the Executive VP, it requires a 3/4s vote. That works out to 18 votes needed (3 officers plus 20 members elected from the BOD). However, to have a vote would require an Executive Committee meeting which is called at the discretion of the President. Second, the entire Board of Directors will be meeting in September in Alaska. If they decide to remove Wayne, it would take 57 votes. It just isn’t going to happen. I’m afraid the only way Wayne will leave is either in a hearse or if he gets a significantly large buyout to induce him to leave voluntarily. That is reality. Unfortunately.

90% Of Success Is Just Showing Up

Adam Kraut, a firearms law attorney in Pennsylvania, is running for the NRA Board of Directors again this year. He qualified to be on the ballot by petition under the new, harder rules. Last year, he was about 60 votes shy of being the 76th Director. I supported Adam last year and I plan to vote for him again this year. I had dinner with Adam at the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting and came away impressed. I have spoken to him a few times since and his knowledge of firearms law has been helpful to me with my blogging. Frankly, we need energetic young people who will rock the status quo on the Board of Directors.

In addition to running for the Board, Adam has promulgated four bylaw changes that I think are well worth your time examining. The first proposed bylaw would require a candidate for the Board to run by petition-only after serving two consecutive terms. They would not be eligible to be nominated by the Nominating Committee. Think of it as a soft term limit. They wouldn’t be precluded from serving more than two terms on the Board but would be required to go to the voting members and get their support if they wanted to serve a third term or more.

The second proposed amendment would require attendance at two out of three Regular Meetings in order to be renominated by the Nominating Committee.

Proposed Amendment Two would require that a Director attend two of the three Regular Meetings held each year or lose their eligibility to be nominated by the Nominating Committee. There is a provision which would allow for an excused absence due to 1) a medical emergency, 2) death in the family, 3) natural disaster, or 4) their flight, etc. being canceled by the provider (eg. airline). However, if a Director were to miss three or more successive Regular Meetings due to a medical emergency OR two or more successive Regular Meetings due to the other 3 exemptions, they would be ineligible for consideration by the Nominating Committee.

The third proposed amendment would amend the section of the Bylaws pertaining to the Nominating Committee to contain these restrictions on nominations while the fourth proposed amendment would create an Honorary Board whose job would be to advise the Board of Directors as their time permits. This would be an ideal place to put the celebrities. It is akin to what many colleges and universities have with a Board of Trustees (the BOD) and a Board of Advisors (the Honorary Board).

Look at the three charts below to see the current attendance records of the existing Directors. Some directors take their job very seriously and some are flat out slackers. The worse offenders seem to be the celebrities and the politicians. If you want the honor of serving on the NRA Board of Directors, I think it is incumbent upon you to get yourself to the meetings. Time conflicts should generally be resolved in favor of the Board meeting.

Below is a copy of the ballot that will be sent to Life and 5-Year members with the February issues of the official NRA magazines (American Rifleman, American Hunter, etc.) You will note that only two candidates are on the ballot solely by petition and another three who were both nominated by petition and by the Nominating Committee. I would give strong attention to the attendance records of existing Directors when casting a vote. By my count, only nine of the Class of 2018 Directors have a perfect attendance record which is and of itself embarrassing.

Adam has created a page with short videos on his amendments, the attendance issue, and how to fill out the bylaw petitions. You can find it here.

I have served on boards ranging from a quasi-judicial board dealing with zoning adjustments to the Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte Board of Directors. All of these boards were composed of work horses and not show horses. That is how it should be with the NRA’s Board of Directors. The enemies of gun rights are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to abridge our civil rights. We need a Board of Directors that not only shows up but can be proactive rather than reactive to these threats.