By Jeff Knox
The event was a rousing success and an inspiration to all those lucky enough to attend, but we later found out that there was a problem. While we were celebrating progress in the battle to restore and protect the right to arms and discussing strategies for furthering that right, the hotel management was downstairs trampling on those rights and making criminals of many of the people in attendance as well as potentially hundreds of other hotel guests. The way they were doing this was by simply taping a piece of paper to the front door declaring that guns were not allowed on the premises. Under
The manager of the hotel ducked and dodged and dissembled when challenged about the sneak attack, but the bottom line remains that while the Marriott was welcoming our patronage – and our money – they were simultaneously thumbing their nose at us and placing us at risk from both criminals and authorities. Several of the “Gun Rights Examiners,” a collection of on-line journalists at www.Examiner.com, have joined Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner and President of Grass Roots North Carolina, Paul Valone, in calls for boycotts of Marriott hotels and a phone, mail, and email campaign to educate the chain’s management about their insulting and unreasonable actions.
Beyond that little bit of excitement, which is still playing out, the convention was pretty typical. In recent years the NRA has done more and more to involve politicians and celebrities while member participation in the actual business of their association has been reduced to little more than rubber-stamping staff and Board decisions and desires. All of the hard-won reforms enacted during the members’ revolt at
Members do still vote for Board of Director candidates, but with so many candidates, so many eligible voters, and so little information about the candidates – with the staff and PR company controlling the publications containing the ballots – it has been clearly demonstrated that the current leadership can dictate their desires and there are enough “good sheep” to provide the votes needed to keep their “winning team” in total control.
The few votes needed to ensure that control should be a serious source of shame to every member. This year the association sent ballots to 1,574,096 members eligible to vote, but only 109,381 ballots were returned and only 105,040 were judged to be valid. That’s a valid return rate of less than 7% – from the oldest, most powerful civil rights organization in the country! NRA prides itself on its ability to turn out voters and shift the outcome of elections and yet they get less than 7% participation in Board of Director elections!?! That is beyond appalling; it is downright scary.
The results of this year’s election turned out much as I’d expected, but there were a few surprises. As I had predicted, the celebrities and politicians mostly skated to easy victories and as I had hoped, the few incumbents I endorsed all won with comfortable margins. Several of the new candidates I had endorsed also made the cut and a couple I had thought shouldn’t have run and couldn’t win, Joaquin Jackson and Larry Craig did manage to retain their seats. Donn DiBiasio, the incumbent I most ardently opposed, did not make the cut, but he slipped back onto the Board for one more year by getting himself elected to the 76th Director position during the convention. That means he’ll probably take another shot at it next year. Rest assured I’ll have more candidate information and my picks posted early at www.GunVoter.org.
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