Archive for the 'National Rifle Association' Category



I’m Was An NRA Lobbyist – And I’m A Quisling And Controller

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Politico.

I’m a long-time gun rights proponent with pretty solid credentials. I lobbied for the NRA. I am the president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association and I even gave Ronald Reagan his first shooting lesson with a customized AR-15 when I ran the Firearm Industry’s Trade Association in 1992. I am also someone who has worked successfully on bipartisan gun control measures, specifically a child safety lock agreement supported by Bill Clinton, which explains in part why I am also a former NRA lobbyist.

So now that he’s established his creds, let’s take a look at what he’s proposing to mend the wounds that America suffers.

Today’s current gun control mantra is “universal background checks.” The Brady law passed in 1993 mandated background checks for gun purchasers at retail gun shops. These transactions are commercial in nature and generally between strangers—the firearms dealer and the buyer. Twenty years ago, the firearms industry (and even the NRA) supported these checks at gun shows as well as retail gun shops, but the original legislation extended only to federally licensed dealers, with no attempt made to extend that jurisdiction to nondealers. Today, you’ll find gun owners support background checks for all commercial transactions. That includes gun shows, flea markets and internet sales purchases. Strangers can’t possibly know the backgrounds of the buyer and these checks can prevent the unintentional transfer of a gun to a disqualified individual.

But when the word “universal” is used, gun owners rebel. Why? They don’t want to be turned into criminals for giving a firearm to their wife, their kids or their parents without a background check—which is exactly what they fear could happen if a law mandates background checks for all gun sales in the U.S.

So why not extend the Brady background check to all commercial sales, including gun shows, internet sales and flea markets, while carefully and responsibly crafting exemptions for relatives, friends and co-workers whom the seller has personally known for more than a year? And in cases where there is some doubt about the relationship, let’s encourage people to get the checks by giving them the same liability protection when crimes are committed with those guns that retail dealers have now. Compromise, that dirty word, means we both get something in the transaction that’s useful to us.

With these exemptions in place, opposition would be diminished, and legislation based on sound policy not “gotcha politics” will more easily be enacted. Most importantly, disqualified individuals would find it harder (though admittedly not impossible) to obtain guns. Isn’t that what we seek?

So right out of the gate, he proposes a compromise.  Extend the background check to all sales.  Give up person-to-person sales as long as there is an exemption for family gifts.  In other words, universal background checks.  Just don’t call it that – it’ll get everybody on my side riled up.

“Red Flag Laws” are getting a lot of attention, but I prefer the term Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs). Something about the words “red flag” reminds me of “red herring.” But there’s a good reason for them. The theory behind this initiative is that people sometimes give us useful signals that they intend to commit violence—whether it’s against themselves or others—and if we act upon those signals by removing their guns we might sometimes prevent tragedies. But gun owners have legitimate fears that the system can be abused to their detriment. In order to amplify the good and minimize the bad, we need to build safeguards against a surveillance state that, in the wake of 9/11, has proved susceptible to overreach. If the process becomes punitive, not salutary, faith in the stated objective is defeated and people loss more respect for the laws and any changes are seen as new retributions to be opposed from the get go. A detailed description of a workable and fair policy can be found in David French’s article “A Gun-Policy Measure Conservatives Should Consider” from National Review of February of last year.

So, let’s put a few things in places to keep the Leviathan state from overreaching and prevent abuses, and we’ll support these confiscatory policies.  David French says so.  And so does he.

Sheesh.  With friends like this, who needs enemies?  Is it any wonder with “Lobbyists” like this, we’ve been compromised almost to the point of no return?

More NRA Board Defections

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

CNN:

Three more National Rifle Association leaders have stepped down, CNN has learned, in a broadening of a leadership exodus amid a controversy over the group’s spending.

Country music singer and NRA board member Craig Morgan has resigned, sources with knowledge of the matter tell CNN, and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress stepped down on Monday. David Lehman, the deputy executive director and general counsel at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, also is leaving the organization, the sources tell CNN.
Both Morgan and Childress were prominent public faces for the NRA. Morgan appeared frequently on the group’s now-defunct streaming video service NRATV and even hosted his own program on the network. Lehman was the deputy to then executive director Chris Cox, who resigned in June and was also the NRA’s top lobbyist. Lehman was filling the role of top lobbyist when he departed the organization.

NRA President Carolyn Meadows puts a happy face on this, but the defections are beginning to add up, and the “we’re all still bestest friends … really, I promise” resignation statements are becoming almost amusing.  What are we down to now – perhaps only several hundred members of the board left?  How can they function?

The real question issue this: they must be hemorrhaging money by now.  How long do they circle the wagons, and how long does Wayne “ride the tiger?”  Will he kill the tiger, or will it turn around and eat him?

More On Wayne LaPierre’s History

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Via David Codrea, Nedd Scott.

This ended the NRA as it was originally envisioned as evidenced by the massive overhaul of Article I of the NRA Bylaws. This was also the year that a young lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre was hired on by the organization. Now the firearms community would go on the offensive. Carter, now EVP, created the Institute for Legislative Action or (ILA) to lobby on Capital Hill. The NRA was focused solely at the national level with its activism at this time. Carter and Knox’s efforts bore fruit with the passing of the Firearms Ownership Protection Act (FOPA) in 1986. Although it was a major win for the organization its still had its failings. Although the NRA championed its reforms of the GCAs abuses the NRA allowed for the Hughes Amendment to be attached. (The Hughes Amendment banned future machine-gun production for civilians after May 19, 1986 and set the precident for banning firearms by type.) This, and other failures like the permanent Bush import “assault weapon” ban in 1989 can be attributed to Carter leaving the organization in 1985 while the NRA’s political focus was still in its infancy. Future leadership fell back into previous levels of minimal action and this lead up to the passing of the domestic Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) in 1994. Yes, the NRA did voice opposition but in reality it exerted very little influence as the amount of money the NRA used for lobbying and election campaign contributions were a fraction of what they provide today.

Carter’s departure left a void in the organization’s leadership at a crucial time. Wayne Lapierre saw an opportunity and began his rise to power. By 1991, he had earned the position of EVP and saw a need to brand himself and rebrand the NRA. He then created the NRA Foundation, giving a third entity as a means of fund raising. An investigation of the financial dealing of the NRA will also come in a later article. By 1999, he was voice of the NRA even though it didn’t have a decisive direction. Although Lapierre called the ATF “jack-booted government thugs” after the Ruby Ridge and Wako incidents, in May of 1995 he testified before Congress supporting background checks for all firearms sales at gun shows including between private individuals. He has been economically involved with members of the established opposition including Karen F. Thomas who has ties to Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council.

It’s good to know your history.

Wayne LaPierre’s Dumpster Fire

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

… we don’t know where any of this will lead. Perhaps LaPierre will be able to stay on the tiger’s back, although with the virtually unlimited resources at the disposal of New York State, which is out to get him, and now, Washington D.C., out to do the same, I’m not sure I’d cover that bet.

What he’s doing now is surrounding himself with a protective guard and purging any he suspects might be threats. And clutching for survival lest the twisting tiger unseats and turns on him…

Meanwhile, members keep getting those interminable fundraising solicitations, as signs are a critical mass will be holding out until Wayne is gone. As the dumpster fire continues to burn it’s fair to wonder at what point politicians, particularly in districts where the vote is close, will start to view NRA endorsements as guilt-by-association liabilities.

I think politicians already see NRA endorsement as a liability rather than an asset.  And the gun community did this to itself.  These are all self-inflicted wounds.

I suspect Wayne will be able to “ride the tiger” just so long.  Sooner or later, the lack of membership dues will dry up the organization coffers, and then the tiger will starve.  What remains to be seen is whether what shell remains of the NRA board ousts LaPierre in order to save the NRA?

National Rifle Association: The Company It Keeps

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

John Richardson sends this.

If you attended the Meeting of Members at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, you might remember a short Filipino lady seeking out the youngest and oldest Life Member for recognition. That was Mille Hallow who has served as Wayne LaPierre’s right hand since 1996. According to her bio with the National Foundation for Women Legislators where she serves as Secretary, she is the Managing Director, Executive Operations. Earlier according to the same bio, she served as the Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She went by Mildred Bautista then.

John goes on to fisk here history.

Mildred Bautista, former executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, yesterday was given a suspended prison sentence and placed on three years probation in connection with charges she stole more than $23,000 in commission funds.

So … she’s a convicted embezzler.  Isn’t that nice.

My dog could have done a better job of running the NRA over the past decade.  At least he would have bitten anyone who tried to mess with me, unlike Wayne and his cronies.

Three NRA Board Members Resign

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

The Washington Post.

Three National Rifle Association board members who have raised concerns about reports of reckless spending and mismanagement by the group’s leadership resigned Thursday, another sign of mounting dissent within the nation’s most powerful gun-rights group.

The three board members — Esther Schneider of Texas, Sean Maloney of Ohio and Timothy Knight of Tennessee — said they were stripped of their committee assignments after they asked questions about allegations of lavish spending by NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and other financial excesses.

“While our belief in the NRA’s mission remains as strong today as ever, our confidence in the NRA’s leadership has been shattered,” they wrote in a letter to NRA officials Thursday obtained by The Washington Post.

[ … ]

Board member Marion Hammer … wrote in a text message to The Post her reaction to the departing board members: “Don’t let the door hit you in the back on your way out.”

The NRA: An organization for Fudds, run by pit vipers.

What’s Really Going On Inside NRA Operations?

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Scott Bach writing at Ammoland.

The purpose of this column is to explain what has recently transpired at NRA, and to refute the false narratives being spread about the Association.  Responsible board members have remained silent until now for legal reasons, but I believe what follows should be said.

Over a year ago, as NRA’s former treasurer was departing, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a renewed emphasis on transparency and compliance with best practices for the Association and all of its vendors.  Among other things, every vendor was required to provide extra detail backing up their invoices, and additional levels of detail on NRA operations were included on the Association’s tax returns.

Can you see where this is going right off the bat?  This is at least initially about some big ole’ bad boy who was the “former treasurer.”  What the NRA really needed after this bad boy’s departure was a major accounting.  Wayne was just the man to bring that accountability.

LaPierre’s efforts proved to be prescient.  Officials in several jurisdictions began targeting the NRA, investigating how legal loopholes might be used to permanently shut down the Association. But it turns out that LaPierre’s good governance program may very well have created legal impediments to that, blocking efforts to harm NRA.

Ironically, some of those same transparency measures that may protect NRA from hostile public officials were spun by the anti-gun media to fuel a false narrative about NRA’s financial health and spending habits.  The media painted a fake portrait of a sputtering organization in decline, led by selfish executives lavishly spending member monies. That the media should present such a false narrative is not surprising. The surprising part is that some gun owners actually believed them.

Right.  Wayne didn’t really spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on suits and clothing, and he didn’t get an apartment for his sweetie, and there wasn’t a sweet deal with Marion Hammer to give her money she never earned and for which she did no work, and there wasn’t a deal to funnel monies to cronies who were loyal to Wayne.  It’s all just a myth that some stupid NRA members believed.  Not one shred of evidence to refute any of the data.  It just is what he says it is because he says it.

In any event, LaPierre’s initiative to ensure that every NRA vendor provide extra invoice detail required cooperation from the vendors themselves.  Apparently, all but one vendor fully complied. That vendor was among the NRA’s largest, a public relations firm deeply embedded in the NRA’s highest-profile, most sensitive operations. The vendor was so deeply entrenched, for so long, that it apparently had developed independent financial relationships with several NRA officials – including former NRA President Oliver North.  Instead of simply providing the required additional invoice detail, the vendor apparently resisted.

So now the narrative has switched to the big ole’ bad Oliver North and the company that had the right relationship with none other than Wayne himself.  It’s everybody’s fault by Wayne.

By the way, I’m no fan of Oliver North either.  His assertion that civilians have no business owning “assault weapons” like AK-47s proves he was never anything but a Fudd, perfect in all ways for leadership of the NRA.  Oliver North can go pound sand.

As an aside, to those that know him, LaPierre is actually noted for his modest everyday wardrobe. As the public face of over 100 million gun owners, appropriate clothing for high-profile appearances is a justifiable corporate expense.  The cost over the 15 years cited in the information dump was less than 0.007 % (7/1000ths of one percent) of the nearly $4 billion in revenue LaPierre helped raise during the same period to preserve our Second Amendment rights.

His modest everyday wardrobe.  And note how Wayne helped raise the money in NRA coffers.  It’s not about the members, but about Wayne.

LaPierre has consistently done the right thing for NRA, not because it was easy or convenient, but because it was right.  He has not been the problem; he has been the solution.

“Consistently done the right thing for the NRA.”  How about for the members?  Let’s see – support the assault weapons ban, support red flag laws, support (and give idea for) the bump stock ban?  Is that enough?

Well, you’ve seen enough of this sycophant.  This is a disgusting and loathsome missive, full of lies, myths, deflections, blame, and misdirects.

The author ought to be ashamed.  So should Wayne.

Prior:

NRA Category

David Dell’Aquila’s Battle To Reform The NRA

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

TTAG:

David Dell’Aquila says he finally realized that his attempts to reform the National Rifle Association from within were doomed after a conversation he had with NRA President Carolyn Meadows (she hadn’t been given the top job yet at the time). It happened during a party for large donors like himself that was held before the Indianapolis annual meeting in April.

Dell’Aquila tells TTAG that he approached Meadows because he’d received information indicating that a high-ranking NRA employee was receiving payments from vendors to whom he directed business. Meadows asked where he heard that (he told her it didn’t matter). She then told him none of it was true.

Then Dell’Aquila said he asked Meadows — strictly hypothetically — if she had a problem with an NRA official collecting a salary from the Association while using a vendor with which he either had an ownership interest or received payments for business directed its way (i.e. kickbacks).

According to Dell’Aquila, Meadows told him, “That’s how it’s done in D.C. Everyone does it.”

That’s when he says he knew his year-long effort (it started following the 2018 Dallas annual meeting) to bring about change and accountability by working with NRA officers and employees was futile.

Dell’Aquila, a retired Nashville technology consultant, then set about developing a four-phase strategy to force EVP and CEO Wayne LaPierre and his supporters — both in management and on the board — out of their positions.

I like the cut of his jib.  Then there’s this (readers and I have discussed the issue of fiduciary responsibility of NRA board members and just how far that goes).

It is important for each member of the Board of Directors to completely understand his or her responsibilities. For example, current NRA officers who have stated “I don’t know anything about that,” “that is the first time I’m hearing it,” “I trust Wayne completely,” etc., are not deemed within the law as valid acceptable legal defenses. It is your responsibility to know or take the necessary actions to obtain such knowledge.

Again, we’ll see just how far that responsibility goes, but I do hope it goes all the way to actual personal legal liability.

With all of that said, I still doubt that the NRA can be reformed.  I think it’s dead.

NRA Controllers “Punishing” Dissidents

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

From Wayne:

Herschel,

You and I are now fighting the toughest and most consequential election battles of our lives – and I need you shoulder-to-shoulder with me like never before.

The news media is now attacking NRA 24/7, with a nonstop barrage of fake news and lies. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is pledging to spend AT LEAST $500 million electing a gun-ban extremist to the White House next year.

And we’re facing the most radical anti-gun candidates in the history of American politics – gun-hating zealots who want to LICENSE and FINGERPRINT gun owners, OUTLAW magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and BAN and CONFISCATE every semi-automatic rifle in America.

To prepare for these massive battles AND say thank you for your past support – I want to offer you some very generous membership discounts and extraordinary NRA gifts when you renew or upgrade your NRA membership by August 2nd.

Gee, that’s all too bad, Wayne.  But the gravy train had to run out of other people’s money at some point, just like socialism.

I’ll tell you what.  Let’s suppose you have honestly had a conversion.  I’ll give you this chance.  I’ll join again the day you get rid of the GCA and NFA.  How’s that?  You have a target to shoot for now.  Write me another note when that happens.

Next up, it looks like Wayne and the witch of the NRA, Marrion Hammer, are trying to punish dissidents.

Over the weekend, former NRA President Marion Hammer sent a private email to board members telling them to fall in line or face the consequences.

Hammer’s letter, previously only reported within the firearms blogosphere, is an apparent response to a number of board members who have posted publicly that they have faced retaliation for questioning alleged financial malfeasance in the organization. Hammer wrote that stripping the assignments was a punishment for ongoing “agitation” that has taken place outside of the “appropriate setting.”

“The NRA finds itself under attack,” Hammer wrote. “Some within our ranks—members of the NRA Board of Directors—have joined in these attacks. There have been leaks of proprietary and confidential information to the front pages of newspapers, websites and social media pages. Members of the board have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of our Association. Yet, some have chosen not to do so.”

“Those who didn’t get an assignment might want to consider whether or not they want to help us save the Second Amendment or continue on a course detrimental to NRA and our mission,” she concluded. “The decision is ultimately theirs.”

Just how NOT working on a committee is punishment, I cannot fathom.  I’d rather take a beating than work on a committee of pretty much any kind.  Working on a committee is like trying to herd cats.

But it appears that the witch believes she can bully good men.  There are a few good men left on the board, I take it.  The two salient questions are these: [1] How long will those good men sully their reputation by being associated with the failed NRA, with the added bonus of now being known as someone who could easily be bullied by the likes of Marrion Hammer (can you say “Coward?”), and [2] How long will the Fudds continue to fund Wayne’s and Marrion’s fat paychecks and retirements?

NRA Suspends Chris Cox

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

Yahoo News.

The National Rifle Association suspended its top lobbyist and one of his deputies, adding further turmoil to the gun-rights group’s leadership ranks as it wages legal battles on multiple fronts and prepares for a bruising 2020 election cycle.

The NRA confirmed Thursday that it had suspended Chris Cox, the lobbying chief who was viewed widely as a future leader of the group, and his deputy chief of staff, Scott Christman.

David Codrea has this bit of wisdom.  “Never f*** with a guy who got to where he is by eliminating his superior.”

The link he supplies has this interesting (and to me, previously unknown) bit of history.

The core issue was how the NRA’s PR company, Ackerman McQueen, was drawing millions of dollars a year from the organization and improperly controlling NRA staff. The Board directed Wayne to sever ties with Ack-Mac, and Wayne promised to do so, then claimed to have done so, by bringing in a new PR company called Mercury Group. The “new” PR company turned out to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Ack-Mac, with all of the same players in all of the same positions, still bleeding the association of the same millions of dollars.

So it would appear that NRA politics is as dirty and ugly as American politics, and that chasing the money is the name of the game.

It’s too bad for Chris, really.  I know very little of him, and were I to know more, I might hate him as much as I do Wayne LaPierre.

But I maintain that Wayne is trash.  He’s an unmitigated scoundrel, a ne’er-do-well, a rapscallion, a wretch.  As long as he is at the helm of the NRA, I won’t be connected with it again.


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