The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
History Made at NRA '05
(Houston, Texas, April 18, 2005) History was made at the 134th Annual Meetings and
Convention of the National Rifle Association held in Houston this weekend.
But not in the sense of historically significant events occurring. Instead,
the history was re-made in an Orwellian sense.
In the Houston version of NRA history, Neal Knox made no contribution to the
fight to preserve the Second Amendment.
From the opening ceremonies that celebrated the heroes of the Second
Amendment over the past 25 years to the adjournment of the members meeting,
the name Neal Knox was, so far as I can determine, spoken publicly by an
official of the organization only once. After a memorial resolution was
read recognizing the woman who served for many years as Parliamentarian at
board meetings and conventions, a lady on the floor asked whether it would
not be appropriate to recognize the achievements of Neal Knox. President
Kayne Robinson responded that he believed that the Committee on Resolutions
was working on something similar to recognize Mr. Knox. That resolution
hasn't quite been finished, it appears.
I did not know the lady who asked the question – we didn't put her up to it
– but I thank her and applaud her independence of mind.
History may be written by the victors and sour grapes don't produce sweet
wine, but the truth is the truth and wrong is wrong. Failure to include the
contributions of Neal Knox in the history of the fight for the Second
Amendment is akin to leaving Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson out of the
history of the battles of Manassas.
While Neal was alive and on the outs with the current leadership, it was
expected that they would not say nice things about him that might lend
credibility to his criticism of some of their actions. NRA conventions
these days are pep rallies with much good news and no bad. So it is not
surprising that current leadership would focus on the great achievements of
the past and the greater achievements yet to come while avoiding the rough
spots. Avoiding recognition of Neal Knox while he was alive and serving in
the role of gadfly, "the conscience of the NRA" as one observer put it, is
understandable if disingenuous. Failing to acknowledge his contributions to
the cause upon his passing is just plain bad manners.
Beyond the omission of Neal Knox's name from the Houston convention, there
was much of interest and value going on. Perhaps the most important aspect
of the convention was something else that was missing – "No Guns Allowed"
For years NRA members have grumbled about the pesky signs posted at the
entrances to meeting halls and exhibit areas proclaiming it illegal to carry
a personal firearm into the building. This has been particularly
frustrating at meetings held in states with legal concealed carry. While
security seemed rather excessive, there were no "victim disarmament zones"
posted anywhere on the convention grounds and it is to be hoped that there
never will be at any future NRA convention. Since Texas has proven once
again that law-abiding gun-owners are a threat to no one but criminals, NRA
should from this point forward, inform convention centers that if they don't
want our guns, they won't have our business. Now that 38 states recognize
their citizen's right to carry (more-or-less), the convention should never
again be held in a state that does not, and convention centers that "limit"
that right should be excluded from consideration.
The election of Sandy Froman to the presidency of the association is good
news. Sandy will be a powerful force at the helm and is expected to take
NRA in a good direction.
Expect to see outgoing president, Kayne Robinson take a paid staff position
within NRA probably as director of NRA's new hunting rights organization
"Free Hunters". There are by the way, still many unanswered questions about
funding and cash-flow for that organization.
All in all, the Houston convention was a good experience with lots of guns
and outdoor gear and many old and new friends with whom to celebrate the
joys of freedom.
The Knox family attended in force under the banner of the Firearms Coalition
and was well received by members and exhibitors. It was surprising and
touching how frequently we were approached by strangers, often with tears in
their eyes, wishing to pass on condolences and express their love and
respect for Neal. Many had a story about how he touched their lives. We
were grateful to hear them and again offer our heartfelt thanks to those of
you who have taken the time to share your feelings and stories.
To Receive the Firearms Coalition's bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps
Report, send a contribution to The Firearms Coalition, PO Box 3313,
Manassas, VA 20108. For current news and reports, visit
FirearmsCoalition.org and ShotgunNews.com.