Jason Ouimet appointed to be ILA executive director. READ MORE
The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has named Jason Ouimet to serve as executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). The NRA Board of Directors unanimously affirmed Ouimet’s selection at its recent board meeting.
“Jason is a principled leader with tremendous field vision and political savvy. He has a strong campaign background and more than 15 years playing pivotal roles in all the NRA’s legislative accomplishments and victories. Our five million members and America’s gun owners have the strongest ally and the best advocate in Jason,” said LaPierre.
On his permanent appointment, Ouimet said, “I thank Wayne and the NRA leadership for entrusting me with a post so crucial to America’s freedom. Backed by millions of patriotic NRA members, NRA-ILA is the foremost defender of our Second Amendment, the safeguard of freedom itself. To every NRA member and gun owner in this country, I pledge that our defense will never waver on my watch.”
Ouimet has embraced increasing responsibilities and higher-profile roles during his time with NRA. As director of federal affairs at the NRA-ILA since 2015, Ouimet was responsible for overseeing and implementing the NRA’s federal legislative and political agenda. Between 2010 and 2015, Ouimet served as the deputy director of the NRA’s federal affairs department. Ouimet began his career with the NRA in 2005 as a federal affairs lobbyist, where he was responsible for the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New York and New Jersey.
Prior to joining the NRA, Ouimet served as a legislative assistant for Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
Ouimet also worked as a senior research analyst at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Prior to that, in 1999, Ouimet moved to Washington D.C. for a job at the Republican National Committee where he conducted field research for President George Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.
Ouimet earned his Bachelor of Arts from Kent State University in 1999.
The NRA releases a statement regarding recent red-flag laws.
As the Nation’s oldest civil rights organization, we recognize civic engagement as a virtue not a vice. Liberty is reliant upon the participation of free people, and this includes the vast number of citizens and communities who are lawfully exercising their rights under the First Amendment to defend their freedoms under the Second. It is the tyrannical nature of politicians that triggers sanctuary, not the other way around. The NRA has steadfastly defended freedom for nearly 150 years, and we have no intention of suppressing virtuous voices against governmental oppression—censoring is what our opponents do.
NRA ILA releases statement overview of controversial Bloomberg elections — common sense trumps money. READ MORE
The National Rifle Association released the following statement on the 2019 election results:
“As if Gov. Northam’s legacy of ineptitude wasn’t enough, Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb. Candidates who proudly accepted Bloomberg’s cash — and every voter they misled — will soon realize the cost of being beholden to a Manhattan billionaire who despises Virginians’ right to self-defense. Fortunately, many NRA-backed candidates in Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky and Mississippi prevailed over their Bloomberg-funded opponents. As the battle continues, so does the NRA’s defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.”
Facing a lawsuit by the NRA, Mayor Breed declares — we won’t blacklist NRA contractors. READ MORE
The National Rifle Association of America declared victory in San Francisco last wek after Mayor London Breed formally disavowed key provisions of a municipal resolution that signaled the blacklisting of contractors linked to the Second Amendment advocacy group.
On September 3, 2019, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which is the legislative body for the City and County of San Francisco, unanimously approved a resolution that called for the City to investigate ties between its contractors and vendors and the NRA. The city declared the NRA was a “domestic terrorist organization.” Not surprisingly, the NRA sued.
On September 9, 2019, less than a week after the resolution was enacted, the NRA challenged it as government action adversely affecting its First Amendment rights. In its filing, the NRA called the resolution a “blacklisting” measure, and urged San Francisco’s federal court to “step in and instruct elected officials that freedom of speech means you cannot silence or punish those with whom you disagree.”
Late last week, rather than await “instruction” from a court, San Francisco Mayor London Breed backed down. In a formal memorandum to City officials, she declared that “no [municipal] department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA.”
“Through these actions and our public advocacy, we hope the message is now clear,” says NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA will always fight to protect our members and the constitutional freedoms in which they believe.”
The NRA is represented in its lawsuit by William A. Brewer III and Sarah Rogers of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, along with Garman Turner Gordon LLP.
“The memo serves as a clear concession and a well-deserved win for the First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel for the NRA. “It is unfortunate that in today’s polarized times, some elected officials would rather silence opposing arguments than engage in good-faith debate. The NRA — America’s oldest civil rights organization — won’t stand for that.”
The NRA’s challenge to a similar ordinance in Los Angeles remains pending. Last month, the city’s motion to dismiss was denied in its entirety by federal district judge Stephen V. Wilson, who found that the NRA had stated a clear First Amendment claim.
The latest (early this week) reports indicate that President Trump will not support H.R. 8. READ MORE
SOURCE: Brietbart, AWR Hawkins
President Donald Trump is reportedly not planning to include House Democrats’ universal background check bill as part of legislation he supports in response to mass shootings.
The Democrat gun control bill is H.R. 8.
Politico reports that a source familiar with the White House “conversation on guns” indicated that Trump is not going to rally behind H.R. 8.
On September 9, 2019, Breitbart News reported that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked Trump to support H.R. 8, thereby giving “political cover” to allow other Republicans to support it.
Schumer said, “President Trump has an historic opportunity to save lives by indicating his support for the House-passed bill [H.R. 8]. Speaker Pelosi and I have repeatedly and personally asked him to do this.”
He added, “[President Trump] can lead his party to support something that the NRA has prevented Republicans from supporting for years. That is why Speaker Pelosi and I sent the letter to him today, urging him to give his party political cover to pass … [the] background check legislation.”
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) spoke in favor of Trump’s reported rejection of universal background checks, saying, “The things that [the Democrats] are proposing just aren’t realistic and they know that and so it’s designed more to talk to their political base and it’s a lot more about that than I think an actual solution.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range HERE
What the absolute heck is Wal-Mart doing? Once a proud symbol of American Capitalism, and the face of big-box retail, Wal-Mart continues to alienate it’s base of consumers with another knee-jerk reaction prodded by woke-troopers and social justice warriors.
by Midsouth Shooters
Wal-Mart has been steadily rolling back their support of the Second Amendment since 1993 when they stopped the sale of all handguns in every state except Alaska. Then, in 2015 it ended the sale of AR-15 style MSR rifles, and any toy or airgun resembling any “military-style rifle used in mass shootings,” per the published Wal-Mart policy. Last year, it raised the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, two weeks after 17 students and teachers were killed in a shooting at a high school in Parkland, FL.
Just this past week, Wal-Mart rolled out another set of policies after the recent shooting at a Wal-Mart Super Center in El Paso, TX. The shooting resulted in 22 deaths and 24 injuries. Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old from Allen TX, was arrested shortly after the shooting and charged with capital murder. Police believe he published a document, described by others as a white nationalist, anti-immigrant manifesto, on 8chan shortly before the attack, citing inspiration from that year’s Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand.
Wal-Mart CEO, Doug McMillon was quoted as saying:
“After selling through our current inventory commitments, we will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.
Wal-Mart has also stated in it’s newly minted policy they will no longer sell handgun ammo. McMillon previously said Walmart was responsible for 2% of firearm sales in the US and 20% of ammunition sales. Walmart expects its share of ammunition sales to drop to between 6% and 9% as a result of the newly announced changes. The company will continue to sell the shotguns and rifles that it carries.
“In a complex situation lacking a simple solution, we are trying to take constructive steps to reduce the risk that events like these will happen again,” McMillon said in a memo to employees on Tuesday. “The status quo is unacceptable.”
Another rider on the new Wal-Mart policy affects customers who open-carry in their stores. If shoppers openly carry guns into Walmart stores going forward, store managers may ask the shopper to leave and safely secure their gun in their vehicle before returning to the store. “The policies will vary by location, however, and shoppers who are openly carrying guns may not always be asked to leave the store,” a Walmart spokesman said.
“We encourage our nation’s leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger,” McMillon said. “We do not sell military-style rifles, and we believe the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban should be debated to determine its effectiveness.”
In the days since the new policies have taken effect, Kroger, and it’s holdings have also announced their plans to cease the sale of handgun ammunition.
It’s the belief of this writer the precedent set here is a slippery, if not inherently dangerous one. Capitalism is the lifeblood of any strong economy, and works hand-in-hand with a strong republic, but allowing a company to be swayed by social temperature is inherently dangerous, not only for the company, but the population at large.
In a quote from 2007, Jason Hornady of Hornady Ammunition said, “As long as a Hornady is at Hornady, we will never sell direct to Wal-Mart. They are no friend of the industry.”
Midsouth Shooters was founded on the tenants of honesty, family, and fairness, rooted in American and God. For a company, or organization, to be swayed by knee-jerk reactions sets a precedent of allowing the mob to dictate overreaching policies which put many in harms way. Effectively, Wal-Mart has been bullied into cow-towing to the social justice warriors, and woke-ninjas in the vocal minority.
Wal-Mart may not sell the ammo you need, and more companies beholden to the pressure of the vocal minority may follow suit. Midsouth will continue to sell the ammunition and reloading supplies you need, regardless. Our Second Amendment right is a sacred right, and for you to protect your family with the tools available, you need access to fairly priced ammunition and firearms.
Amazing program puts needed vittles on the table all at the hands, donations, and efforts of hunters. READ MORE
SOURCE: NRA Hunters Leadership Forum, Phil Phillips
It is a fact that hunters are the world’s top conservationists and do more for wildlife than any other group. But what many people don’t know is how much we hunters care about our fellow man and how proactive we are in helping people in our own communities to fight hunger. For nearly 30 years, we have been helping to feed those less fortunate through the Hunters for the Hungry (HFTH) movement, sharing the wild game we harvest through state-based programs where we hunt and live. By donating and in many cases also paying to process the meat, we are providing a high-protein, low-cholesterol meat source to those who otherwise would go hungry.
For someone who spends a fair amount of time in Virginia, I am proud that one of the most prominent HFTH programs is Virginia Hunters Who Care (VHWC). Launched in 1991, it has provided more than 27.7 million quarter-pound servings to feed hungry Virginians to date. VHWC holds fundraisers across the state that my wife and I try and attend, the most recent being the 8th annual VHWC banquet in Manassas, Va., on July 20, where hunters mobilized to net $17,684.89. For anyone who thinks a gathering of hunters could not possibly make such a difference, VHWC Projects Coordinator Gary Arrington says this dollar amount is enough to fund the processing and distribution of 79,582 quarter-pound servings of venison.
Welcoming supporters to the event, Arrington shared an incredible eye-opener on why hunters taking action is so important. “One in eight families in Virginia alone is impacted by hunger,” he said. “Nearly one million emergency meals are served in the state each month, and nearly 50 percent of those receiving meat through the program are children and the elderly.” Think about that for a moment. Thanks to VHWC, in just eight years Arrington said this single fundraising event has raised $165,303.89, which equates to 743,867 quarter-pound servings of high-protein, low-fat venison going to men, women and children across the state.
In fighting hunger just outside our nation’s capital, Arrington added, “We want you to know the difference you make. We’re processing venison for 93 cents per pound so it goes a long way.” He explained it takes all of us in the hunting community, singling out the event’s corporate sponsors including Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse, conservation groups like the NRA and local chapters of Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Safari Club International. “Please support these groups,” he urged. “Do business with the company that makes it possible for us to feed people.”
Arrington’s blessing for the meal included a prayer for freedom and to watch over and care for our fellow man and acknowledged VHWC founder David Horne, who passed away in 2002. Giving a heartfelt thank you, he said, “On behalf of Hunters for the Hungry and all those whose lives are touched by your generosity, thank you for all that you are and all that you do in support of our program.”
Arrington said VHWC’s goal for 2019 is to yield 325,000 pounds of venison with the ultimate goal of processing and distributing more than 500,000 pounds of meat per year. “In Virginia we are blessed with a bountiful whitetail deer herd and with donations of deer and successful program funding,” he said, “we continue to be able to provide an average of 1.2 million quarter-pound servings each year. We will process and distribute 4.5 quarter-pound servings for each dollar raised here tonight.”
Witnessing the Launch of a Movement
Like every other hunter who is aware of HFTH, I am a proud supporter. Before the national hunter-backed movement had an official name, as a Colorado outfitter in the late 1980s, I wanted to do my part to make sure every ounce of protein was used from the game animals my clients harvested to help others enjoy the health benefits of the low-cholesterol, high-protein venison. I started a similar program with my hunters who did not need or could not take their meat home. We covered the processing fees so I legally could donate the processed meat to senior living centers and needy families. Some recipients were older people who could not hunt any longer and missed the opportunity to have wild game in the freezer. But in most cases, I witnessed how the meat donations fed people who fought hunger every day.
By 1991, the NRA had gotten behind the HFTH movement on the national level and was running the NRA HFTH Information Clearinghouse to help put hunters in touch with programs in their communities. As an NRA Life member, I was proud of the NRA’s efforts and, years later, I continue to enjoy donating meat and attending local HFTH fundraisers in my home state and in the areas where I hunt. To date, one of the most prominent state-run HFTH programs to emerge is VHWC, which continues to receive grant funding from The NRA Foundation and other organizations that support its mission.
Important to note, while helping to feed people, VHWC — and every other state-based HFTH program in the country — helps to address other important issues. HFTH encourages hunters to harvest additional deer to help manage thriving deer herds by helping to reduce overall deer numbers statewide. It also enhances public safety on highways and near airports while helping to reduce crop and other damage caused by deer overpopulation. And finally, HFTH helps to promote the hunting heritage in a positive manner while demonstrating the respect and care we hunters show all across our country. State-based HFTH programs are non-profit feeding programs that promote both the tradition of hunting and the tradition of caring — hallmarks of the American sportsman.
Making a Difference
“We are so very blessed to live in this great nation of America, where no child should lay his or her head down at night and feel hunger,” said Arrington, leading into the start of the event’s live fundraising auction. “Please help us to meet our needs so we can meet the needs of those less fortunate all across Virginia. You can make a difference, touch the life of a stranger.”
And that is what the crowd did. As mentioned earlier, the live and silent auctions from this one event raised $17,684.89 for VHWC, with items including hunting and kayak float trips as well as firearms, hunting equipment, jewelry, Washington Nationals baseball tickets and a hand-crafted, hand-painted wooden U.S. flag. It was fun to bid on things and, on a couple of occasions, to win the prize, knowing every dollar raised made a difference.
About the Author: NRA Life member, award-winning outdoor TV host and recreational real estate associate broker Phil Phillips of Hayden Outdoors has hunted five continents, taking more than 200 big-game animals and nearly 60 species worldwide. Prior to hosting hunting programs, he started Colorado’s first Ranching for Wildlife Program for antelope, which he ran for 15 years. Working alongside professional land managers to restore and protect habitat, Phil went on to guide clients to 500-plus big-game animals that have qualified for the record book. In 1992 Safari Club International honored him as the North American Bowhunting Outfitter of the Year. Email Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow NRA Hunters’ Leadershipship Forum on Twitter @HuntersLead.
No shock, Chris Cox has resigned his position at NRA. Here’s more in this developing story that’s now taken NRATV off the air too. READ MORE
SOURCE: Tactical Wire
Chris Cox, the former head of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has resigned his position. Last week, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre placed Cox on leave and accused the man many believed to be his evenutal successor of having aided in a failed “coup” attempt against LaPierre by former NRA President Oliver North. In the announcement of Cox’s departure to NRA employees, LaPierre thanked Cox “for his service to the NRA.” This latest development follows the announcement by LaPierre that the NRA was shutting down production of its online streaming network, NRATV. The Outdoor Wire has also acquired a communication between the NRA and its former agency Ackerman McQueen in which the NRA’s Andrew Arulanandam “demands immediate delivery of all materials by Section XLC of the Services Agreement, including all Confidential Information (as defined by the Services Agreement).” The letter also says that “if AMc damages or converts the NRA’s property, or if the NRA perceives an imminent risk of the same, the NRA will pursue legal recourse.” The acrimonious parting of the ways has been accompanied by a myriad of charge, counter-charges and lawsuits between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen.
There’s a lot going on right now within NRA. Rumors are rampant! This article has the a good collection of facts. READ MORE
SOURCE: NYTimes.com, by Danny Hakim
The palace intrigue at the National Rifle Association deepened last Thursday as the gun group suspended its second-in-command and top lobbyist, accusing him of complicity in the recent failed coup against its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre.
The accusation came in a lawsuit filed Wednesday night in New York State Supreme Court against Oliver North, the N.R.A.’s former president, who led the attempt to oust Mr. LaPierre shortly before the group’s annual convention in April. The complaint provides new details about the effort against Mr. LaPierre, but it is the involvement of the organization’s No. 2 official, Christopher W. Cox, that will reverberate.
In the suit, the N.R.A. said that text messages and emails demonstrated that “another errant N.R.A. fiduciary, Chris Cox — once thought by some to be a likely successor for Mr. LaPierre — participated” in what was described as a conspiracy.
The court filing includes text exchanges in which Mr. Cox and a board member appear to be discussing an effort to oust Mr. LaPierre, though the full context is unclear. The N.R.A. is conducting an internal review of the matter, and a spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, said on Thursday that both Mr. Cox and a top aide, Scott Christman, had been placed on administrative leave.
Mr. Cox, in a statement, said: “The allegations against me are offensive and patently false. For over 24 years I have been a loyal and effective leader in this organization. My efforts have always been focused on serving the members of the National Rifle Association, and I will continue to focus all of my energy on carrying out our core mission of defending the Second Amendment.”
The suit — the latest in a series of legal actions stemming from the gun group’s internal turmoil — is likely to send new shock waves through the N.R.A. While Mr. North served as president for just one year, Mr. Cox has worked for the N.R.A. since 1995 and led its lobbying arm since 2002. He has been a leading presence at the organization’s gatherings, reliably serving up red meat for the N.R.A.’s base.
Among other things, he has been a fervent defender of the AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in many mass shootings, telling attendees at the group’s convention last year that “we have an AR culture that’s on display all over the exhibit halls this weekend.”
Together, Mr. Cox, 49, and Mr. LaPierre, 69, have been the public faces of the N.R.A., the twin architects of its strategy. But they have had an uneasy relationship, and their staffs are somewhat siloed from each other. Mr. Cox runs the N.R.A.’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, which has a separate media relations team from the N.R.A.’s, and his choice of consultants has also sometimes diverged from Mr. LaPierre’s.
As Mr. North’s coup attempt played out at the convention this spring, some people inside the N.R.A. said Mr. Cox largely kept quiet and appeared to be hedging his bets.
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.”
But Carolyn D. Meadows, who succeeded Mr. North as N.R.A. president, said in a statement: “I fully support the actions undertaken today. The N.R.A. is moving forward on all fronts, especially with regard to serving our members and focusing on the crucial upcoming elections.”
The genesis of the dispute between the N.R.A. and Mr. North is a related legal battle between the N.R.A. and its most prominent contractor, the Oklahoma-based advertising firm Ackerman McQueen, which employed Mr. North. The N.R.A. has sued Ackerman, claiming it withheld documents and records from the gun group, and some officials have suggested the company may also have been overbilling. Ackerman, which has said it did nothing improper, filed a countersuit claiming that it was smeared by the N.R.A.
In yet another lawsuit, the N.R.A. has accused Ackerman of breaching confidentiality clauses in its contract and smearing Mr. LaPierre.
The new lawsuit seeks to block Mr. North’s attempt to have the N.R.A. pay his legal fees, which he has sought as he fields requests to cooperate with other litigation as well as a Senate inquiry.
“The N.R.A. believes that Col. North seeks payments from the Association to which he is not entitled,” the N.R.A.’s outside counsel, William A. Brewer III, said in a statement. (Mr. North is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who first came to prominence during the Iran-Contra hearings.) “The N.R.A. alleges that Col. North breached his fiduciary obligations — in a coordinated attack against the N.R.A. and Wayne LaPierre that involved others motivated by their own economic self-interest,” Mr. Brewer added.
In addition to implicating Mr. Cox, the new lawsuit claims that another N.R.A. board member, the former Oklahoma congressman Dan Boren, participated in the effort to oust Mr. LaPierre, and it presents a piece of evidence intended to shed light on the overbilling question.
Mr. Boren is close to Ackerman and works for another Ackerman client, the Oklahoma-based Chickasaw Nation. In an exhibit filed in the latest complaint, Mr. Boren expressed concern to a Chickasaw official that Ackerman was billing the N.R.A. for “full salary to these employees that may have been working on our accounts,” adding, “I bet Ackerman is in trouble on this one.”
Another key issue in the N.R.A.’s battle with Ackerman is the role of Mr. North, who was employed by Ackerman while serving as the N.R.A.’s president; the N.R.A. has claimed that the arrangement was improper and that Ackerman wouldn’t show the N.R.A. a copy of Mr. North’s contract for months. Mr. North has said Mr. LaPierre helped negotiate the contract.
Mr. North is said to have sparked the coup by delivering a threatening message to a key aide to Mr. LaPierre shortly before the N.R.A. convention in April, warning that damaging revelations about the N.R.A.’s spending on Mr. LaPierre’s clothing and travel would be released if he did not step aside. He also said Mr. LaPierre would be well rewarded financially if he stepped down. Mr. LaPierre refused to step aside, and the embarrassing material was indeed released, though it is not clear by whom.
The latest suit calls this “a conspiracy by North to extort the N.R.A.”
Any move against Mr. Cox could lead to further litigation. He is one of three senior executives who are contractually entitled to receive their base pay for one to four years if they are dismissed without cause, or in some other instances, according to Massachusetts State records reviewed by The New York Times.
The N.R.A., however, seems to be losing patience with paying those it considers to have betrayed Mr. LaPierre.
“Simply put, the N.R.A. exists to fight for the Second Amendment,” the group said in its latest suit, “not pay other people’s bills.”
Oliver North: “There is a clear crisis and it needs to be dealt with.” READ MORE
SOURCE: AP, Lisa Marie Pane
Oliver North announced last Saturday that he would not serve a second term as National Rifle Association president, making it clear he had been forced out by the gun lobby’s leadership after his own failed attempt to remove the NRA’s longtime CEO in a burgeoning divide over the group’s finances and media operations.
“Please know I hoped to be with you today as NRA president endorsed for reelection. I’m now informed that will not happen,” North said in a statement that was read by Richard Childress, the NRA’s first vice president, to members at the group’s annual convention.
North, whose one-year term ends Monday, did not show up for the meeting, and his spot on the stage was left empty, his nameplate still in its place. His statement was largely met with silence. Wayne LaPierre, whom North had tried to push out, later received two standing ovations.
It was a stunning conclusion to a battle between two conservative and Second Amendment titans — North, the retired Marine lieutenant colonel with a ramrod demeanor who was at the center of the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, and LaPierre, who has been battle-tested in the decades since he took up the mantle of gun rights. He has fought back challenges that have arisen over the decades, seemingly emerging unscathed each time. In this latest effort, he pushed back against North, telling members of the NRA’s board of directors that North had threatened to release “damaging” information about him to them and saying it amounted to an “extortion” attempt.
Hundreds of the NRA’s estimated 5 million members packed into the convention center in Indianapolis where the group’s annual meetings were being held. Near the end of the two-hour meeting, some members challenged efforts to adjourn and pushed to question the board about controversies involving its financial management, the relationship with its longtime public relations firm and details of what North sought to raise about alleged misspending, sexual harassment and other mismanagement.
But those cries were drowned out as some board members urged such conversations not to be held at such a large public forum, even if the media were eventually discharged from the room.
“We don’t want to give the other side any more information than they already have,” said Tom King, a board member from New York for more than a decade.
Offered Marion Hammer, a former NRA president and longtime lobbyist from Florida: “The life’s blood of this organization is on the line. We are under fire from without. We do not need to be under attack from within.”
The internal dispute first spilled out in public after the NRA in recent weeks filed a lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma-based public relations firm that has earned tens of millions of dollars in the decades since it began shaping the gun lobby’s fierce talking points. The NRA’s lawsuit accuses Ackerman McQueen of refusing to hand over financial records to account for its billings.
North has a $1 million contract with Ackerman McQueen, raising alarm bells among some in the NRA about conflicts of interest. He has a show called “American Heroes” on NRATV, the online TV station created and operated by Ackerman McQueen. NRATV and Ackerman McQueen’s billings are at the center of the turmoil, with some members and board members questioning whether they were getting any value for the money devoted to that part of the operation. In 2017 alone, the NRA paid the firm $40 million.
NRATV’s programming is provocative, often taking on topics far afield from gun rights, leading some members to wonder if it was damaging its efforts to further gun rights and bring in new members.
The NRA also has faced some financial and regulator struggles in recent years, and there remain concerns that New York authorities in particular — the state where the NRA created its charter — are looking to strip it of its nonprofit status.
An outside lawyer for the NRA, William A. Brewer, said Saturday that New York’s attorney general has opened an investigation into the organization.
In his statement, North said a committee should be set up to review the NRA’s finances and operations.
“There is a clear crisis and it needs to be dealt with” if the NRA is to survive, he said.
Childress, who read North’s statement, said he only found out the night before that he would be asked to read it. A message left with the Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit group founded by North in the 1990s, seeking to contact North, was not immediately returned.
In his speech later Saturday, LaPierre stuck to standard NRA talking points, going after the mainstream media and lawmakers who seek to restrict gun rights. He told the crowd that efforts to strip away gun rights will fail.
“We won’t accept it. We will resist it. We won’t give an inch,” he said.
North, 75, was a military aide to the National Security Council during the Reagan administration in the 1980s when he entered the spotlight for his role in arranging the secret sale of weapons to Iran and the diversion of the proceeds to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
He was convicted in 1989 of obstructing Congress during its investigation, destroying government documents and accepting an illegal gratuity. Those convictions were overturned in 1991. Embraced by many on the right, he went on to run for office, write several books and serve as a commentator on Fox News.