Following Wednesday’s interview with David Dell’Aquila, the leader of a movement of NRA members determined to make changes at the National Rifle Association, we had an outpouring of response from our readers. As you can imagine, not everyone agreed with his assertion that the NRA had to have radical transformation in its management to survive.
Today, the NRA’s management is back in the news after ousted President Oliver North’s legal team filed a brief responding to the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre having accused North of having attempted to stage a “coup” to oust LaPierre.
“At no time did North seek the removal of LaPierre” the filing reads, “Nonetheless, LaPierre attacked North publicly in an attempt to undermine North and his efforts to address allegations of fiscal misconduct at the NRA.”
North’s legal team says the letter from LaPierre accusing him of threatening to “smear” LaPierre if he didn’t leave his position was “false and defamatory” when, in fact, what North had demanded was outside professionals to conduct an internal review which, they add, was in his responsibilities as an NRA president and board member.
“LaPierre…demonstrated his total dictatorial control over the NRA…stopped all of North’s inquiries and prevented the NRA from looking into the concerns that North raised,” the filing continued.
The NRA’s outside counsel, William A. Brewer III, responded to the document with a statement calling the North response “a misguided attempt to deflect from reality.”
It is rumored the North legal team has also filed for a change of venue to the NRA/North case, asking that it be moved from New York to Virginia.
Without going any further into the legal wrangling, this sort of “he said-she said” back-and-forth is exactly the type of behavior David Dell’Aquila says led him to put up the website www.helpsavethenra.com and campaign with other significant NRA donors to vote with their wallets.
When I interviewed him on Tuesday, he showed me “pledges” - an unusual term for promises not to give money, but an accurate term nonetheless- from former NRA contributors that totaled just over $135 million dollars.
Yesterday, Dell’Aquila called to let me know that the interest in the website had continued to grow, along with the “pledges”. As of our conversation yesterday, he says the total of funds that will not be going to the NRA totaled just over $148 million dollars. Interestingly, it seems a large number of those funds represent contributions from lower-tiered contributors, i.e., the NRA members who don’t have excess funds to contribute.
If that’s the case, it’s yet another indication that the member unrest, roiled by a decided lack of information from the organization’s Virginia headquarters is growing, rather than receding.
With that having been said, here’s a sampling of the responses to our Wednesday feature - although I have removed names and email addresses. There are, however, no anonymous comments included below. If a comment appears, we have the name, email address and have verified the identity of the person submitting the comments.
Reader Responses to Wednesday’s feature
“Loved the NRA wire yesterday. I pulled all my advertising out of the NRA for the rest of the year due to the crap going on at NRA.”
“ I received my (seemingly weekly) NRA request for money, and I sent it back to them, hand-written across the form, “When Wayne LaPierre resigns and is totally out of the NRA, you will begin to receive my financial donations once again; but not until then. I’m a life member, so I can’t withhold annual dues, otherwise I would.”
Thanks for that written piece; it sure needed to be said.”
“From what I can glean from various media reports, I’d say that Mr. Dell’Aquila is dead on. Personally, I’d reduce the board even further and mandate a move from NY to a gun-friendly state. As a Benefactor member, I have some skin in this game. I don’t donate a lot on a yearly basis (retired now, so cash flow is an issue). I guess we know why they’re always sending me letters that the sky is falling <rueful smile>. I’m going to change that. The SAF can always use money.
Thanks for your reporting on this issue.”
“Thanks for the good info on what is happening at the NRA. I quit my membership after it ran out about a year ago and now send all my donations to NAGR….I am not in favor of supporting Alaskan fishing trips unless they invite me!
“I've tolerated the NRA's mailing crap forever (I'm 64 and a member since I was 18) because the organization was effective. But the appeals and bogus surveys are not becoming of the NRA and their goal of protecting the 2nd. Now that we've had a peek under the tent, the BS has to stop. Until then I'm voting with my checkbook and sending my cash to the SAF.”
“Luckily we have a (semi) friend in the White House and this upheaval couldn't have come at a better time. Let's clean house now.”
“I've served on six boards of directors during my working days (charity, law enforcement, recreation, and industry) and all were staffed with a combination of long-in-the-tooth professionals and young, hard working go-getters who would not tolerate any spending on themselves. During long sessions, it was bring your own meal or starve. I consider a fully paid for board retreat to Alaska (with fishing) or to Whittington Center (with hunting) to be graft and abuse of the members. I see now why the NRA's leadership had 76 board members. They were kept fat, dumb and happy so they would go along to get along. And it's hard to get 76 people to agree to change the direction of the ship. Divide and conquer.“
“If we lose the NRA, we are done.
As much as i would love to see change, we need an ORDERLY change.
The RADICAL change proposed by the “save the NRA” crew is waaay too much; too fast.
God help us all; the enemy is feasting on our liberty.”
“Thanks very much for the info on the NRA. They don’t have the courage to address the members directly, so it is nice to hear from a credible industry source on what is really going on. It is mine boggling that every penny that I ever contributed and more was wasted on a single trip.
No more (however small) from me till Lapierre is gone.
And to think I used to be concerned about the cost of all the junk mail. Little did I know.”
“Please keep reporting... the truth!”
There are many, many more, but this is a representative sampling of the tone and tenor of the responses. NRA members, and gun owners in general, are very concerned.
One final note: in Wednesday’s feature, I reversed the responsibilities of a Board of Directors and a CEO, writing that the CEO’s job was to provide oversight to the Board of Directors. Thanks to the readers that reminded me that it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to provide oversight of the CEO. Business school 101 mistake- and my apologies.
As always, we’ll keep you posted.