NRA In the Mirror

I know, I know, it’s been eons since I’ve posted anything. You’re probably tired of my apologies at this point. In my defense, the two months since my last post have included Tac-Con, another three-day instructor course taught by Aqil and me, the A Girl and A Gun Conference, and final exams at my university. Oh yeah, and now the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting, which has been interesting.

After my first flight was cancelled and my luggage took the scenic route through Detroit, I eventually found myself in lovely Indianapolis for NRAAM. Oddly enough, I have yet to breach the famed fifteen acres of exhibits. Instead, I spent Friday in educational seminars. The first was the Firearms Law Seminar. Presentations were okay (suppressing my PowerPoint snobbery for now), but I probably got my money’s worth with just the printed materials alone. To the morning presenters, thanks for all the case citations!

Then there was the Firearms Law luncheon. Food tends to make stuffy gun-toting lawyers a bit more tolerable. Plus, I was lucky enough to run into folks I had met a few years ago in Mas Ayoob’s Deadly Force Instructor Certification class down in Florida. Small world! But the highlight was our keynote speaker: None other than Professor David Yamane of Wake Forest University, Gun Culture 2.0, and Gun Curious (two of my favorite blogs, BTW).

First, I was THRILLED to learn that the NRA had asked David to speak in the first place. He’s not exactly the NRA’s standard fare, so kudos to the planners for thinking outside the box. David spoke about how a “liberal professor” came to embrace gun culture, having only fired a gun for the first time in his forties. He gave us all a tour of his journey, which I hope the hard-liners in the room could appreciate.

He closed by reminding us all what gun Culture 2.0 is and how it differs from past generations of gun culture. It’s more focused on defensive applications rather than hunting and sporting. Today’s gun owner is younger, more liberal, more urban, more secular, more racially/ethnically diverse, and less likely to have a long family tradition of gun ownership. David offered words of wisdom (and warning) about how critical it is that we as a community embrace these changing demographics and not alienate ourselves out of existence.

Of course I’m paraphrasing here, and I hope I didn’t butcher his message too badly. But as you might have guessed, it was all I could do to keep from leaping out of my chair and doing cartwheels.

Then came Saturday morning. By now you’ve probably heard of all the shenanigans that mired the annual meeting. I could give you a dramatic play-by-play; but here, once again, David Yamane saves the day. He summed up the meeting about as well as anyone could:

It was chaotic but here is my best summary from the NRA annual members meeting.

(1) NRA President Oliver North is a no show and will not seek or get a second term.

(2) Wayne LaPierre gets a 3/4 standing ovation when he is introduced.

(3) NRA VP Richard Childress reads letter from Oliver North that levels accusations against current leadership.

(4) Speeches given by current leadership praising current leadership for 2A success.

(5) Attempt by old guard member to adjourn the meeting before member resolutions can be considered. DEAFEATED.

(6) Resolution of no confidence in LaPierre and some board members read.

(7) Motion to go into Executive session of members debated. Would mean press would have to leave. DEFEATED.

(8) Motion to refer resolution (critical of the board) TO THE BOARD. PASSED HANDILY.

2019 Revolt at Indy defeated. Having resolution read, however, was significant accomplishment.

During that last motion (David’s #8), I went to the microphones to speak. By then, the lines were long, and the debate had been dredging on for quite some time. My intent was to offer a friendly amendment requiring that if the Board takes up this issue, all board members with a conflict of interest (i.e. folks who were tangled up in the mismanagement accusations criticized in this resolution) should recuse themselves. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Unfortunately, someone called the question and ended the debate before I got to the microphone.

On to Plan B. I’ve written a letter to the board essentially suggesting the same thing I was going to propose at the meeting. I’m collecting names of folks who wish to add their support. If you’re a voting-eligible member (life member or annual member for at least five years) and you’d like to join the chorus, please let me know ASAP. Fingers crossed! 🙂

Oh – and I had no choice but to steal this epic photo that David posted on Facebook. The look on that guy’s face pretty much sums up the prevailing sentiment at the meeting.