Friday, July 19, 2019

Intended For Efficiency, Control, Or Both?


A memo went out today from Wayne LaPierre. Among the things in the memo was a consolidation of the public affairs function and digital networks, the production in-house of America's 1st Freedom, and news about NRA Women. This follows Wednesday's departure of Jennifer Baker from her position as Director of Public Affairs for NRA-ILA.

One wonders whether this consolidation is for cost savings and efficiency as suggested by the memo or is it a matter of consolidating power in the hands of trusted appartchiks? It could, of course, be the former with the latter being just a beneficial side effect if you are Wayne and the Old Guard.

The memo is reproduced below:


cid:16c0bd5b1d64ce8e91
 
MEMORANDUM


TO:                             All NRA Staff and Associates

FROM:                        Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President/CEO     

DATE:                        July 19, 2019 

SUBJECT:                 NRA Communications Update



Today’s announcements are about positioning ourselves for prosperous long-term growth. We are announcing key restructuring initiatives that are expected to drive a momentous transformation to meet association demands logistically, financially, to efficiently compete in our markets, and most importantly to better serve our members.

Restructuring Initiatives:

NRA Public Affairs

NRA Public Affairs serves an important function as the voice of the NRA to our members, the news media, and key stakeholders. As an organization, it is critical that our public outreach is highly coordinated, our messaging is consistent, and our external communications are oriented toward our mission:  defense of the Second Amendment.
 
In support of these goals, I am pleased to announce a restructuring of the NRA Public Affairs Department. Effective immediately, I am consolidating all our media and communications functions under one department, NRA Public Affairs. This division will serve all of the NRA’s needs for public affairs, social media, and crisis communications. This department will coordinate official spokesperson duties for all of the NRA, including NRA-ILA and General Operations.
 
NRA Public Affairs will report directly to the Executive Vice President through the Managing Director of Public Affairs, Andrew Arulanandam. As you may know, Andrew has more than 18 years’ experience working in all phases of communications for the NRA and NRA-ILA. He has a strong background in media relations and executive communications and will continue to serve the NRA well.  
 
These changes will not only enhance our public advocacy, eliminate duplication of efforts, but also help us realize cost savings on behalf of our members.

NRA Digital Network

Effective immediately, Information Services will oversee all technical development and support for all NRA web properties. With the exception of Membership, NRA ILA, and NRA.org, NRA Publications will manage the editorial creation, review, and posting of online content.  Publications will also manage advertising sales for websites, e-newsletters, video, and social media.  General Operations will continue to use the same existing process submitting e-newsletters and content changes to their properties as supplied by program managers. This is a key initiative to generate new sources of revenue moving forward as well as providing a more unified digital package.

An announcement will be made shortly for a seminar to be scheduled with key stakeholders to clarify the updated procedures going forward.

America’s 1st Freedom

America’s 1st Freedom will be exclusively produced in-house by NRA Publications. A new Editor-in-Chief, Frank Miniter, has joined NRA Publications and reports to Editorial Director, John Zent. We are confident that under their leadership, we will maintain our commitment to quality journalism. Please join me in welcoming Frank Miniter to his new assignment.

NRA Women’s Digital Initiative

NRA Women will unify all of the NRA's online outreach to this growing segment of firearm owners while continuing to have General Operations, Advancement, and Membership operate their respective initiatives. We will have a destination site which merges all of our efforts into a more cohesive package optimized for search engines with fresh innovative content published on a daily basis. NRA Women will be an important component of the NRA Digital Network. Reporting to Editorial Director John Zent, Ann Y. Smith will serve as the Senior Executive Editor for NRA Women. With years of experience as a Senior Executive Editor for AmericanRifleman.org, Ann will lead our editorial efforts to grow and engage new audiences with a particular emphasis on mobile, social, and video features. 

A digital seminar will be announced at a future date to discuss specifics with stakeholders.


The restructuring efforts above are as a result of extensive research, reflection, and listening to the concerns and suggestions from staff and key stakeholders. We aim to utilize our innovation on an all-encompassing scale while unifying the underlying processes and sales/advertising opportunities critical to our organizational health and vitality. 

I know these changes will better position the NRA for the future and am confident that our new structure will enable us to benefit from the many extraordinary opportunities ahead.   

What Is This World Coming To?


A couple of weeks ago I got two emails on the same day from reporters at Bloomberg's TheTrace.org asking about a blog post I had written. While I did give them a clarification on one item, I kinda ignored the request to put them in touch with my sources on the NRA Board of Directors.

Then yesterday, a friend sent me a link to an article in Slate.com regarding Marion Hammer's condescending email about those purged from their committees on the NRA Board. It included this paragraph.
One day later, NRA board member and Soldier of Fortune magazine founder and publisher Robert K. Brown reported on Facebook that he had been removed from the Grassroots Development Committee, the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and the Legislative Policy Committee. “[Nobody] in the NRA power structure has the guts to explain to me why this was done,” Brown wrote at the time. “NRA leadership lacks any moral character and basically falls under the label of loathsome toads.” (Blogger John Richardson reported that Brown had maintained assignments on the Publications Committee and the Special Contributions Committee. Brown declined to comment to Slate, but said he is a board member.)
What the hell is this world coming to when those with paid jobs in the media have to reach out to us citizen journalists and/or quote our work? I think it would amuse the late Mike Vanderboegh given the work that he, David Codrea, and Dave Workman did in exposing Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Another Major Departure From NRA-ILA (Updated)


Jennifer Baker, the NRA-ILA Director of Political Affairs, is stepping down from her post and leaving ILA. This comes from a report posted about an hour ago in Politico. Ms. Baker was a reported to be a key aide to former NRA-ILA Director Chris Cox and was active on the campaign side of ILA.

From Politico:
Baker’s departure, which was confirmed by several people familiar with the matter, could further complicate the group’s ability to play in the 2020 election. She had been playing a key role in mapping out the NRA’s electoral strategy.

The move comes one month after Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief political architect, resigned. Cox had deep relationships with Republican political class, and with his exit many of the party’s top strategists have expressed concern that the organization will be severely hamstrung heading into the presidential election. The NRA plays a major role in turning out gun owners, and many in the party are worried that the group will be less effective in 2020.

The NRA has long been a centerpiece of the Republican Party ecosystem. But the organization has found itself in intense chaos in recent months, confronting embarrassing tales of self-dealing at its highest levels of leadership, a failed coup attempt and an investigation by the New York Attorney General into its tax-exempt status.
This comes less than three weeks since Chris Cox resigned. As I mentioned when Jason Ouimet was appointed the interim head of NRA-ILA, the loss of Chris Cox  would have its biggest impact on the campaign side of NRA-ILA. The departure of Ms. Baker will only exacerbate this loss of knowledge, relationships, and political savvy when it comes to political campaigns.

When Cox was suspended for participation in the mythical "coup", Ms. Baker was quoted in the New York Times defending Cox.
Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the N.R.A.’s lobbying arm, said Mr. Cox and Mr. LaPierre had “worked closely together for a quarter of a century, and any notion that Chris participated in a coup is absurd. Chris Cox is known as a calming force who always acts in the best interests of our members by effectively defending the Second Amendment, so it’s not surprising that board members would reach out to him for advice during tumultuous times.”
I have no idea on Ms. Baker's future plans. That said, I would not be surprised in the least if she ended up at Cox's new venture Capital 6 Advisors.


UPDATE: I'm not entirely sure Ms. Baker's departure was by her choice. She reportedly was escorted out of the building by an armed guard and was crying. I've gotten this from a couple of  sources.

I guess in terms of purges this is somewhat better than ending up in the basement of the Lubyanka. The actions of the Old Guard remind me more and more of the last days of the Soviet Union with the leaders and appartchiks desperately seeking to hold on to power. Ah, the curses of being a poli sci major and having lived through a good part of the Cold War.

UPDATE II: The Hill is reporting that Ms. Baker's departure is part of a "consolidation" of its communications.
“The NRA announced a reorganization of its public affairs function this week," the NRA said in a statement to The Hill. "The change consolidates and improves our communications, public affairs, and social media functions. All these operations now operate under one department, eliminating a parallel function in NRA-ILA. We are excited about the change and the benefits it brings to the organization and its members.”
It is also a consolidation of power in the executive suite of the NRA and a further diminishment of the role of the NRA-ILA. Prior to this, if I remember correctly, most communication with the press especially on things with a political overtone was done through NRA-ILA.

As to being excited about the change, I'm sure the one person who is excited about it is William Brewer III who seems to be becoming the de facto spokesman for the NRA.

GRNC Alert: School Safety Is Up To NC House Republicans


Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus, Rowan) is planning to offer a substitute amendment to the NC Senate's S 5 - School Safety Omnibus. It would create the position of volunteer school faculty guardian. Requirements would be a 16-hour training course from the NC Criminal Justice and Training Standards Commission, drug testing, and possession of a NC Concealed Handgun Permit. It would only apply to those who are either full or part-time faculty or staff of a school. The substitute is based upon his HB 216.

GRNC says, and I agree, that it is time to push Republicans in the proper direction on school safety.


From the alert:

SCHOOL SAFETY IS UP TO
NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS


Pro-gun stalwart to offer full school protection bill as an amendment…

If you follow GRNC’s alerts, then you know that GRNC 4-star statesman, Rep. Larry Pittman (Cabarrus, Rowan), can always be counted on to stand for your gun rights. In fact, he not only stands for them, he takes strides to advance them, and advance a pro-gun bill is exactly what Rep. Pittman intends to do, with your help.

Studies Show
Studies by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), with respected researcher Dr. John Lott at its helm, have concluded that schools that allow educators and administrators to be armed are much (much) safer than their gun-free counterparts.  To read more about the CPRC’s study, click here. Incidentally, t
hanks to GRNC’s hard-working volunteers, NC’s House Republicans have been made well aware of this study and its results, so any legislator’s claimed ignorance of this truth is not viable.

Help Rep. Pittman Help North Carolina
Rep. Pittman intends to offer House Bill 216 (H216) (School Self-Defense Act), in its entirety, as an amendment to Senate Bill 5 (S5) (School Safety Omnibus), which is quite alive, but has just been sent back to the Rules Committee. We must encourage the Rules Committee members and other House Republicans to either allow a full hearing for H216 or to move forward with S5, with H216 as an amendment. 

Note that the addition of language from H216 to S5 (or the passage of H216 by itself, in its entirety) would make school protection complete—entirely practical and most importantly: effective. The uniting of these two bills (or H216 alone) would be a great development, however, Rep. Pittman needs your help if this is to happen.

Push Republicans in the Right Direction
Below, see how you can easily contact the House Republican caucus to insist they do the right thing. To give them the push they need, please use the information provided below to send them a message.  (Note: GRNC will be tracking legislators' votes on this, and it will go down on their gun-rights record---for better or worse).


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IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


  • EMAIL THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE CAUCUS: Apart from a few reliable pro-gun statesman, the copy/paste email list(s) below will allow you to send your message to all House Republicans. For the message body, use the copy/paste text provided in the ‘Deliver This Message’ section, also below.

  • PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO GRNC: Help us fight gun control while we promote Second Amendment principles. Please CLICK HERE to contribute. Bear in mind that GRNC is an all-volunteer organization, so you can be sure your donations are put to the best possible use. Any amount helps, and any amount is appreciated.

NC House Republicans Copy/Paste Email *Lists(s):

Dean.Arp@ncleg.net; Lisa.Barnes@ncleg.net; John.Bell@ncleg.net; Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net; Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net; William.Brisson@ncleg.net; Mark.Brody@ncleg.net; Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net; Jerry.Carter@ncleg.net; Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net; Kevin.Corbin@ncleg.net; Ted.Davis@ncleg.net; Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net; Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net; Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net; John.Faircloth@ncleg.net; John.Fraley@ncleg.net; Edward.Goodwin@ncleg.net; Holly.Grange@ncleg.net; Destin.Hall@ncleg.net;

Kyle.Hall@ncleg.net; Bobby.Hanig@ncleg.net; Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net; Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net; Cody.Henson@ncleg.net; Craig.Horn@ncleg.net; Julia.Howard@ncleg.net; Chris.Humphrey@ncleg.net; Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net; Frank.Iler@ncleg.net; Steve.Jarvis@ncleg.net; LindaP.Johnson@ncleg.net; Brenden.Jones@ncleg.net; Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net; David.Lewis@ncleg.net; Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net; Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net; Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net; Tim.Moore@ncleg.net; Gregory.Murphy@ncleg.net;

Larry.Potts@ncleg.net; Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net; Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net; David.Rogers@ncleg.net; Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net; Jason.Saine@ncleg.net; Wayne.Sasser@ncleg.net; John.Sauls@ncleg.net; Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net; Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net; Carson.Smith@ncleg.net; Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net; Larry.Strickland@ncleg.net; John.Szoka@ncleg.net; John.Torbett@ncleg.net; Rena.Turner@ncleg.net; Harry.Warren@ncleg.net; Donna.White@ncleg.net; Larry.Yarborough@ncleg.net; Lee.Zachary@ncleg.net


* Spam filters and the limitations of some email programs may require you to send this message to a smaller list of recipients. If necessary in your case, the above email list is conveniently split into multiple parts to allow you to easily send this message more than once—once to each list.

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE


Suggested Subject: "Republicans Must Protect School Children Now"  


Dear Representative,

I’m delighted to have learned of the push to amend S5 (
School Safety Omnibus) with the entirety of H216 (School Self-Defense Act). The uniting of these two bills would be a wonderful development and is exactly what is required to protect North Carolina’s school children in a practical and effective manner. I have also been informed that S5 has been sent back to the Rules Committee, which would allow for a committee hearing for S5 in the coming days.

With the protection of the children in our state’s schools in mind, I must insist that one of two things occur:

1) H216, in its entirety, should be heard on the House floor and receive a vote; or
2) SB5 should be heard in the Rules committee, and H216 should subsequently be allowed as an amendment.

Through the work of the Crime Prevention Research Center, with respected researcher Dr. John Lott at its helm, we now have unambiguous, academic studies showing schools that allow teachers and faculty to be armed are much, much safer than their gun-free counterparts. There is just no way around it, allowing adults who are on scene to protect their students in a practical, immediate manner is the only way to effectively save the lives of school children, should the worst occur.

With this in mind, Representative, whose side are you on? I know which side I’m on, the side that puts children under an umbrella of genuine protection, an umbrella provided by the responsible adults who surround them.

Our state’s school children must be protected. To make this good and proper sentiment a reality, I insist that you push for the uniting of H216 and S5, or a full hearing and vote for H216, that you vote for them in committee (where that may apply), and on the House floor, ultimately voting in favor of protecting school children.

I've been informed that GRNC will be tracking votes on the amendment and on the amended bill. Of course, gun owners will also be watching, but perhaps most importantly, concerned parents will be watching.

I’ll be monitoring your actions on this matter through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.

Respectively, 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tom Gresham On The NRA And LaPierre


Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk Radio, has called for Wayne LaPierre to step down. He addressed the troubles with the NRA this past Sunday on his radio show. To anyone who doubts his credentials in service to the Second Amendment, I'd remind them he is on the Board of Directors for the Second Amendment Foundation and on the Board of Governors of the National Shooting Sports Foundation plus his long running radio show.

His comments start at the 2:08 mark and end at 11:54. It is worth spending the 10 minutes to listen to Tom's entire commentary.




Monday, July 15, 2019

Cam Edwards Is The New Editor Of Bearing Arms


With the closure of NRATV, Cam Edwards of Cam & Co., NRA News, etc. was free to seek new opportunities. He announced today that he is becoming the new editor of BearingArms.com. The site is part of the Townhall/Salem group of companies.

From the announcement:
This is a critical time for our right to keep and bear arms. Never before have American gun control activists been so emboldened. From gun bans and confiscation to the tracking of gun owners’ ammunition purchases (not to mention licensing and registration schemes), a constitutional right is being treated as if it is a privilege. Even worse, Americans who dare to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights are being otherized by the news media, politicians, celebrities, and anti-gun advocates. If they can’t repeal the right to keep and bear arms, they’ll do everything they can to de-normalize it.

As the new editor of BearingArms.com I want to expose those attempts at delegitimizing our constitutional rights and the Americans who exercise them, but that’s only half the battle. We need to tell the stories of the countless men and women who are fighting to not just keep our rights secure, but to make them stronger than ever. From courtrooms to boardrooms, in tree stands and in state capitols, there are millions of us who aren’t just bearing arms, but are bearing witness to the power of self-defense, of hunting, of competition, and even the therapeutic benefits of shooting. It’s up to us to tell and share these stories, and we will.

You can read the remainder of it here.

Congratulations to Cam. His Cam & Co. was the one part of NRATV really worth saving. I'm sure he'll do a great job. Since the suicide of Bob Owens and the departure of Jenn Jacques, I have only read the site sporadically. I think I'll be reading it more often.

Larry Vickers' Delta Force Colt 723 Carbine


Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons posted an interview with Larry Vickers. They discussed his Colt 723 carbine that he was issued when he was first with SOF-D aka Delta Force.

Ian says in the description for this episode:
Use of carbines like this one by Delta and other special forces groups set the stage for the adoption of the M4 Carbine and Aimpoint M68 optic by the US military at large, and it's very interesting to listen to Larry's first-hand experience of how and why it was put together.




By the way, if you want to duplex magazines like that, Matt Bracken (Enemies Foreign and Domestic) has an excellent "how-to" article on it here. I've done it with black duct tape and a thin dowel.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Old Guard Is Not Happy And Marion Wants Us To Know It


Marion Hammer, former NRA president and WLP supporter extraordinaire, sent out a public email today that was posted to Facebook. She takes the position that the purges are the prerogative of the president and that those who got purged were "not professional". What an utter crock of bullshit.

Those purged - and especially those whose purge hasn't been made public yet - are, on the whole, some of the most professional, most responsible, most cognizant of their fiduciary responsibility, and most serious about the Second Amendment on the whole board. That they are not toadies to Wayne and his posse says something about their dedication to the mission of the NRA which is the Second Amendment and not the preservation of Wayne's job.

Since Ms. Hammer chooses to include bloggers as those that have suspect motives, let me tell you mine with regard to the NRA. As an Endowment Life member I want to see a stronger, more pro-active advocate for the Second Amendment. Moreover, while I am a conservative/libertarian, I want the NRA to focus exclusively on the Second Amendment and gun rights. I don't care what your position is on abortion, I don't care whether you approve or disapprove of the LGBTQ community, and I don't care about hundreds of extraneous issues not related to the Second Amendment. I care about the Second Amendment. Period. Finally, as someone who has served as both an officer and on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization, I want to see a Board of Directors taking their fiduciary responsibility seriously and making the hired management subservient to them and not vice-versa. Unfortunately, it seems that the Board is subservient to Wayne and not the other way around.

Read Ms. Hammer's entire missive and make up your own mind. I've reprinted it below.

-----Original Message-----
From: mphammer1
To: MPHammer1
Sent: Sun, Jul 14, 2019 12:06 pm
Subject: Committee Assignments

DATE: July 14, 2019
TO: NRA Board Members and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer, NRA Past President
RE: Committee Assignments

Committee assignments are the prerogative of the President of the National Rifle Association of America. The assignment process is taken very seriously with meetings in person and even more meetings over teleconferences. I don’t know of any NRA President who hasn’t consulted with other officers and leaders before making the final selections.

This year the process took longer because there were numerous discussions. To say that this year is unlike any other would be an understatement. The NRA finds itself under attack. These attacks are well funded. They are well coordinated. They come from noteworthy and powerful gun control advocates.

But, they are not the only ones attacking the NRA. We are also under attack by one of our former vendors. These attacks have been particularly nasty and have played out in the press.

And, it doesn’t stop there. Some within our ranks - members of the NRA Board of Directors - have joined in these attacks. There have been leaks of proprietary and confidential information to the front pages of newspapers, websites and social media pages.

Members of the board have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of our Association. Yet, some have chosen not to do so. When given the opportunity to speak their minds, silence was chosen. And now, after the time to be heard in an appropriate setting has passed, the agitation continues. That is truly unfortunate.

We must now move on. Those who truly care about the Second Amendment and Freedom will move on. The NRA has real work to do. We have significant challenges - the 2019 elections and of course the pivotal 2020 elections. Let’s not forget, we must get through these politically motivated witch hunts in New York and now the District of Columbia.

Some board members were, in fact, stripped of their committee assignments. I know that was a hard decision. But, we stand behind it. I went through it myself in 1997 and it was the right thing to do. Some have made reference to a “naughty” and a “nice” list. But it’s actually more of a “professional” and “not professional” list. There are 76 of us. We don’t expect all of us to march lockstep. But, we must will hold steadfast that board members must act in a professional manner. That is a non-negotiable.

To those who are seeking facts, it is recommended that you review our legal documents - including the attachments - all available in the public arena. If you have trouble accessing these documents, simply request them and they will be emailed to you. Using news stories, a blog or social media post or relying on leaks to form your judgements only means that you’re forming your opinions based on the viewpoint of the author. Who knows what their motives may be?

There are also numerous well-informed board members who have taken the time and made the effort to learn the facts rather than rely on falsehoods and gossip. Reach out to them – it is your duty and in the NRA’s best interests that you inform yourself of what the NRA is really facing and what the NRA is really doing about it.

As I said earlier, these committee assignments are – and always have been – the prerogative of the President. Those who didn’t get an assignment might want to consider whether or not they want to help us save the Second Amendment or continue on a course detrimental to NRA and our mission. The decision is ultimately theirs.”