The Knox Update
From the Firearms Coalition
The NRA Board: Where is Your Voice?
By Chris Knox
(February 11, 2009) If some mythical “conservative” President were to appoint James Dobson of Focus on the Family to head the Federal Communications Commission, can you imagine the stink that would arise from the American Civil Liberties Union? Likewise, if some hypothetical “liberal” President were to appoint Planned Parenthood Vice President Dr. Vanessa Cullins to be Surgeon General, the protests from pro-life activist organizations would rattle the walls.
So why is it that when this President appoints a virulently anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment activist to be the chief enforcer of the nation’s gun laws (and defender of the Constitution), the largest and most powerful organization tasked with preserving, protecting and defending the Second Amendment confines its opposition to a nicely written letter to the Judiciary Committee that closes with a meek request to “consider our concerns carefully?”
Despite the grassroots uproar (which The Firearms Coalition is proud to have been a part of), NRA took no substantive action to oppose Holder. No mailings into Judiciary Committee members’ states. No phone calls or e-mail alerts. Not even a warning to Senators that a vote in favor of Holder would be considered an anti-gun vote. Rather than push a fight, NRA, displaying the behavior of a whipped-dog, conceded they couldn’t win the fight and rolled over.
There is nothing wrong with losing a fight, provided it’s the right fight and you actually do fight.
It’s certainly more fun to win, but there are times that losing one fight can head off others. When I was in grade school we moved quite a bit, and being about the same size as the smallest girl in my class, I learned a bit about bullies. When I was having trouble with a bully I found the best thing to do was to get it over with. While he was running his mouth, I’d hit him hard between the running lights, assuming I could reach that high – my secondary target was the third button on his shirt. Sometimes that solved the problem, but usually it just preceded the thumping that was coming anyway. But it always changed the way he – and his friends – dealt with me in the future. I was not an easy target.
Through its supine reaction to the Holder nomination, the NRA has left the impression that the nation’s gun owners are an easy target, and have poorly served its members and the larger community of gun owners. By rolling over on the Holder nomination they have invited more trials and tests.
So what’s the Gun Lobby to do?
NRA members have only two ways of expressing their views in a manner that gets the attention of the NRA management. One is their checkbook. During perilous times, such as we’re surely now entering, the members do open their checkbooks. That’s fine. I rather like an NRA that is perceived as rich and powerful, although I question how well the members’ hard-earned money is spent in some cases.
The second, and most neglected way for members to express their views, appears every year about this time in the magazines of members eligible to vote (Life or 5 consecutive years.) It’s the ballot for NRA Board of Directors. By most counts, less than five percent of eligible membership take the time to vote. And a significant number of those few who do vote simply look at the Nominating Committee list and robotically mark their ballot.
Given the level of information available to the members about most NRA Board candidates, that’s understandable. It’s also unacceptable. Even more unacceptable is that once a Board Member is elected he or she enters the NRA cocoon. It’s hard to get hold of most of those people! Any political activist worth his salt knows how to contact every elected official from the local school board up to the President of the United States. But how do members communicate with their Directors, the people that supposedly represent their views to the NRA management and direct the policy of the Association? I’ve been watching this stuff for years and I know how to contact only a scant few Directors. There’s a disconnect here.
The Firearms Coalition is looking for a solution. On our GunVoter Forum (http://www.GunVoter.org) we have set up a forum for the NRA elections. Are you running for the NRA Board of Directors? Do you know someone who is running? Do you know how to contact a candidate? We need to talk. Please pay a visit to GunVoter.org.
The days of the “Russian election” system where the Nominating Committee provided a list of 25 names for 25 openings are gone. But in the past decade, the members have exerted steadily less influence on the make-up of the Board, and hence, on how the staff executes. As we enter the most dangerous time in fifty years for the Second Amendment, we don’t need an NRA that is moderate in its defense of liberty.
Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108.
©Copyright 2009 Neal Knox Associates