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.

Another NRA Board Special Meeting

Stephen Gutowski of The Reload is reporting that a special meeting of the Board of Directors has been called for May 1st in Dallas. The purpose of this meeting is to approve a reorganization plan that the NRA plans to present to the US Bankruptcy Court.

They plan to have a regular Board meeting on Sunday, May 2nd.

This meeting comes after two weeks of testimony before Judge Hale in the US Bankruptcy Court. As Gutowski, myself, and others have noted, this testimony has brought out many questionable financial practices involving Wayne LaPierre, his executive assistant Millie Hallow, and former CFO Woody Phillips.

As Gutowski notes regarding the meeting:

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment on the special board meeting, but there is a possibility the meeting won’t even take place. The current portion of the bankruptcy trial is set to end on April 23, and the judge is supposed to issue an order in the case by April 30. If the judge decides to appoint a trustee or dismiss the case, it is possible the group won’t have an opportunity to present the restructuring plan the board is set to review on May 1. A trustee could also fire current leadership and the board of directors before the meeting occurs.

The US Trustee has objected to the appointment of a Chief Restructuring Officer as proposed by the NRA. The US Trustee noted that the CRO would report to Wayne and the Special Litigation Committee composed of Meadows, Cotton, and Lee. Thus, the CRO would not be independent and could not be independent without bylaw changes by the NRA.

As the blog NRA In Danger points out:

The US Trustee did a better job of reading NRA’s Bylaws than did NRA’s attorneys. He points out that the CRO might be an NRA officer and the Bylaws say only the members can create a new NRA officer,

“It is not clear whether the NRA’s bylaws permit the creation of a chief restructuring officer position. The NRA’s most recent Bylaws incorporate input from the NRA’s membership and confer limited authority to officers and committees. The NRA’s Bylaws state that certain “AMENDMENTS IN BOLD FACE ITALICS SHALL NOT BE REPEALED OR AMENDED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.” Instead, Article XV, Section 4, reserves authority to amend bylaws in bold and italics to the NRA’s membership. Article V, Section 1(b), describes the specific officer positions, and in bold italics, states “The Board may not abolish said offices nor create any other offices.” 

There is another hearing scheduled before Judge Hale this afternoon at 4pm CDT. It will be interesting to hear what comes out of that meeting.

You will note that I did not say that Stephen Gutowski is with the Free Beacon. He left them on Friday and is now out on his own with The Reload. I would urge you to check it out and subscribe if you think it worthwhile. I did and I’m looking forward to his continued reporting on all things gun-related.

ATF Blinks – Request For Comment Withdrawn

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has withdrawn their Request for Comment on “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’” as of today.

Upon further consultation with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, ATF is withdrawing, pending further Department of Justice review, the notice and request for comments entitled “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’,” that was published on December 18, 2020. 85 FR 82516. As explained in the notice, the proposed guidance was not a regulation. The
notice informed and invited comment from the industry and public on a proposed guidance prior to issuing a final guidance document.


The withdrawal of the guidance does not change any law, regulation, or other legally binding requirement.
December 23, 2020

Marvin G. Richardson
Associate Deputy Director

In other words, BATFE was feeling the heat. They had over 67,000 comments at last count and a letter from 90 Congressmen.

According to Dan Zimmerman at TTAG, what may have swung the decision was the involvement of Mitch McConnell.

But TTAG has learned that the final straw that persuaded the ATF to back down was serious pressure applied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A call took place over the weekend involving a number of firearms industry companies and McConnell’s office.

Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon reports more on that phone call.

Second Amendment activists and industry giants are imploring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use his influence on the Department of Justice to scuttle a proposed firearms regulation that would banish a popular gun accessory known as a “pistol brace.”

In a phone call with McConnell’s office on Saturday, approximately 80 gun makers warned that a proposed ruling from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms could cost them nearly $2 billion in sales, according to several sources who participated in the call. 

The Daily Caller indicates that the runoff elections in Georgia may have played a role in McConnell getting involved in addition to the loss of revenues by the firearms industry.

Jamin McCallum, founder of Palmetto State Armory, one of the leading manufacturers of AR-15s, predicted a $150 million loss if the ATF  followed through with the regulation. McCallum also insisted that inaction by Republicans to stop the agency may have a deleterious effect on the Georgia runoffs.

“This could actually cost the Georgia runoff for Republicans,” McCallum told the Free Beacon. “Gun owners are demoralized right now.”

Regina Lombardo and Marvin Richardson got slapped down on this move. However, given the anti-gun fervor of the incoming Biden Administration, I fully expect more moves by BATFE when they have the full support of the White House. In other words, we may have won the round of the battle but we are far from winning the war.

Brewer Represents NRA But Not LaPierre?

All the filings for the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of New York seeking dissolution of the NRA are online. You can see when the individual defendants were served and in what manner.

Both Josh Powell and Wilson “Woody” Phillips had their attorneys file a “stipulation of service” which also granted them time to respond. This was done two weeks ago. Interestingly, they each have hired attorneys with big name firms. Powell’s attorney is Mark MacDougall who is a partner with Akin Gump in DC and was formerly a Federal prosecutor. Likewise, Phillips’ attorney Seth Farber, a partner with Winston Strawn in New York, was also a former Federal prosecutor.

John Frazer was personally served at home in Virginia two weeks ago. The description of the person accepting the service fits that of John Frazer himself.

Here is where it gets interesting. It seems Wayne LaPierre and/or his security guards not only refused service at both the office and his home in Great Falls, Virginia, but is not being represented by Bill Brewer.

Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon noticed that in this filing that was done this past Saturday. He posted about it on Twitter earlier this evening. If you double-click on the embedded tweet you can see the filing. Look at paragraph 2.

Regardless of who is or will be Wayne’s attorney, I really don’t think the judge presiding over the case will look too kindly on the petulant manner in which Wayne and his henchmen treated the process server. The other three individual defendants accepted service politely or had their attorneys reach out to accept it.

NYAG’s Major National Announcement – NRA?

Rumors started flying late last night after New York Attorney General Letitia James’ press office sent out a notice of a press conference to be held today. As the Tweet below from Stephen Gutowski speculates it might have something to do with her investigation into the National Rifle Association and its finances. I have seen other Tweets from journalists that tend to agree.

It might have nothing to do with the NRA or everything to do with the NRA. The announcement could be something about President Trump. Heck, it could even be an announcement that she will be Joe Biden’s VP pick given she fits the narrative.

There is a Livestream of the press conference at 11:30am EDT this morning and I plan to watch.

The link is here.

Cam & Stephen Gutowski On VA Bills

First off, let me say I’m sorry for the slow blogging the last few days. We always joke about the SHOT Show crud. However, there is a new thing – the pre-SHOT Show crud and I’ve got it. I’m guessing the vectors were my granddaughters who passed me the stuff going around their day care and pre-school. If there is a good thing about it, I’ll probably be immune to any bugs out of SHOT!

Now on to the important stuff. Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms and Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon discuss the gun control bills that have been introduced into the Virginia General Assembly by anti-gun Democrats.

It ain’t pretty. The so-called compromise bills are just a prelude to future confiscation. The other bills include outlawing suppressors and a standard capacity mag ban without any grandfathering. Another bill would ban all non-lead ammunition and make it a felony to possess even a single round of a non-lead based ammo. I wonder if they got permission from the environmentalists for that one.

I’ll let Cam and Stephen tell the rest of the story.

The Response

The letter from Sean Maloney, Tim Knight, Esther Schneider, and Robert Brown provoked an almost immediate response from the NRA and NRA President Carolyn Meadows.

The official statement:

The response from Carolyn Meadows:

Both of these come courtesy of Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon. He posted them on Twitter last night.

I seem to remember hearing or seeing a memo from Oliver North, Richard Childress, AND Carolyn Meadows which raised questions about the financial affairs. It seems that once she became president her views changed 180 degrees.

As to Brewer himself, if one were a conspiracy theorist, you would have a field day. Think about it: liberal Democrat lawyer, gives money to Beto and Hillary, AckMac son-in-law, worms his way into the confidence of the EVP of the NRA and starts a civil war within the organization in the run-up to the 2020 elections. Duplicity on this scale is worthy of a Vladimir Putin. Frankly, while some have suggested it, I don’t think Michael Bloomberg could have conceived on creating a mole like this.