Thursday, May 20, 2010

NRA Politics

On several of the firearms forums I've been reading of an intense dissatisfaction with the NRA leadership. This is not a recent development, but has existed for many years. I'd like to take some time to express my thoughts on the subject and I might also take the liberty of adding to or editing the comments I make here because I want to be absolutely clear about my thoughts and accurate as to statements of fact.

First and foremost it seems that vote eligible NRA members don't vote. From the NRA report on the voting results it seems that no more than about 80,000 voted. I don't know the percentage of members who do (or don't) vote but somebody does. I do know that there are more people than just me who only vote for those nominees they think will actually do what they want. What they won't do is get behind a write-in candidate.

No write-in candidate received more than 250 votes. The secretary doesn't report those who received less than 250 votes and consequently doesn't report write-in candidates nor how many votes they received. It may be that the leadership doesn't see it as necessary as there are, no doubt, votes for "Mickey Mouse" and such. However, I would like to know if there was any real support for candidates like myself who offered our names as protest votes for those who are so outraged at the NRA board. Is it possible that those who express outrage aren't in fact going to rock the boat? No doubt that applies to some.

There's the rub. You can't have change (and I suppose that change might not be what some want considering the change that the Federal government is experiencing) unless you are willing to hang it out there and support that change with a vote. Even the current leadership about whom many complain lauds the "revolution" Neal Knox led that led to the current organization including leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox. My question to those disparaging the current NRA leadership is "WHY WON'T YOU PICK, VOCALLY (ON-LINE) SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR A CANDIDATE EXPRESSLY AS A PROTEST?" It sure doesn't have to be me or a friend of mine. It does have to be one legitimate, honest, and dedicated person who will attend the board meetings and speak to the other board members and at least try to execute the changes you want. I would personally like to see one such candidate get more than 250 votes and be considered for the 76th board member position at the annual meeting. I think it will wake up the NRA board as to the actual discontent (if it truly exists).

Now, lest you think that I'm a rabble rouser, I recently upgraded my NRA membership because I fully support the NRA. I've been considering doing so again.  I do wish they would work "harder" on some state-level issues and I do think that the leadership is responsible for those decisions but I am not privy to the reasoning behind them. I do think that more transparency would be a benefit.

One thing is certain, the attendees at this year's annual meeting were dominated by supporters of the current leadership. They received standing ovations at every introduction. I would say that the qualifying rank and file attendees at these events are more likely to have been voters than not.

I'd also like to say that I think the current leadership has had some notable successes and that I think they are genuine "believers". They think through the problems they encounter, do their homework and create plans of attack. There is very little if anything done off the cuff. In other words they are dedicated and competent. We could be much worse off.

This was demonstrated at the annual meeting by both the excellent planning and execution of the annual meeting and by the well-delivered speeches (multiple speeches) by the various leaders. In fact, my careful and considered observation of these men at the annual meeting have improved my opinion of all of them.

If you still think that the NRA needs a change and thus needs a change on the Board then you need to start now in working towards that goal. If you aren't now you must become a voting member, i.e. a LIFE member. You must select a candidate and campaign for them, first to be nominated by the nominating committee and if that fails as a write-in candidate. I am willing to be such a candidate but I am not going to unreasonably attack or denigrate the NRA leadership. My military experience tells me that one can lead from a non-leadership position.

That said, there are definitely some folks who've been elected to the Board or nominated by the nomination committee who aren't the sort that I'd support and I haven't. I fully believe that the 2nd Amendment applies to ALL arms from knives to "assault" rifles (and short-barreled rifles). I don't believe there are legitimate limits on the bill of rights and that includes the 1st as well as 2nd amendments. There are current and former board members who apparently do believe that some guns are reasonably restricted. They need to be gone. There was one who left the Senate for reasons such that we shouldn't have him on our board. 

Having been on another board, I'm well aware of the value of celebrities on the board but I do think that those celebrities should be genuine supporters of the organization's mission. I think that Ted Nugent, Oliver North and Tom Selleck are such people. I am NOT a supporter of having celebrities named to the board solely for the sake of their celebrity.

These are my views on the politics of the NRA.

This is a current, I believe, list of the NRA board members.  The year of the end of their term is shown where known.  I do not believe that all officers are also board members.  There are supposed to be 76 board members.  Somebody is missing.  Not sure which it is.

Joe M. Allbaugh
William H. "Bill" Allen
Thomas P. Arvas
Scott L. Bach (2012)
William A. Bachenberg (2012)
F. E. "Buster" Bachhuber, Jr.
M. Carol Bambery
Bob Barr
Ronnie G. Barrett (2012)
Clel Baudler
David E. Bennett III
J. Kenneth Blackwell
Dan Boren
Robert K. Brown (2012)
John Burtt (2012)
David Butz
J. William Carter
Richard Childress (2010)
Patricia A. Clark
Allan D. Cors
Charles L. Cotton
David G. Coy
Larry E. Craig
John L. Cusman (Cushman?)
William H. Dailey
James W. Dark
Joseph P. DeBergalis, Jr. (2012)
Manuel Fernandez (2012)
Joel Friedman
Sandra S. Froman
Thomas F. Gaines (2012)
James S. Gilmore III
Marion P. Hammer
Leo A. Holt
Stephen D. Hornady (2012)
Susan Howard
Roy Innis
H. Joaquin Jackson
Curtis S. Jenkins
D. Cynthia Julien (2012)
Tom King
David A. Keene (1st Vice President) (2012)
Herbert A. Lanford, Jr. (2012)
Karl A. Malone
Carolyn Dodgen Meadows (2012)
John F. Milius (2012)
Bill Miller (2012)
Owen P. "Buzz" Mills (2012)
Cleta Mitchell
Grover G. Norquist (2012)
Oliver L. North
Johnny Nugent
Ted Nugent
Lance Olson
Timothy W. Pawol
Peter J. "Jay" Printz
Todd J. Rathner
Edie P. Fleeman Reynolds (2012)
Carl T. Rowan, Jr.
Wayne Anthony Ross (2012)
Don Saba (2012)
Robert E. Sanders
Ronald L. Schmeits (President) (2012)
Harold W. "Budd" Schroeder
Tom Selleck
John C. Sigler (2012)
Dwight D. Van Horn
Robert L. Viden, Jr. (2012)
Harold L. Volkmer
Howard J. "Walt" Walter
J. D. Williams (2012)
Dennis L. Willing
Robert J. Wos (2012)
Donald E. Young

No 2010 list was seen by me but of those on the ballot we should know who WASN'T elected. Those were:

Donn Diabiasio (was on list for election as 76th board member but appears in roster...?)
Caroll B. Hallett
L. Kenneth Hanson III
Leo A. Holt (was on list for election as 76th board member but appears in roster...?)
Marion Townsend
Steven C. Schreiner (for whom I voted as the 76th board member)

Officers are (although they may or may not be listed above):
President, Ronald L. Schmeits
1st Vice President, David A. Keene
2nd Vice President, James W. Porter II
Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre
Secretary, Edward J. Land, Jr.
Treasurer, Wilson H. Phillips, Jr.
Executive Director General Operations, Kayne B. Robinson
Executive Director, Institute for Legislative Action, Christopher W. Cox

This is the most complete and up-to-date list on the internet that I know of.  I have been told that a complete list comes out in each September issue of the official NRA publication(s).  I can't understand why, if one accepts that we share these with others, the NRA doesn't have an internet resource for biographical and contact information for the board. 


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