Papa Capps New Bag

Back in early 2000’s I went everywhere I could to promote, engage, and connect with the underrepresented gun owner in America.  I did a lot grassroots work that didn’t get recorded on social media.  I did some good but also gained the ire of my spouse who didn’t understand or care why I wasn’t home or making goo gobs of money from my efforts.

Activism doesn’t pay monetarily.

You have to beg like a nonprofit or scam like street hustler if you want to make money.  The hustler part is easier for some.  Find a need an fill it.

I chilled for a “spell” and reaccessed this endeavor.  I kept talking, podcasting, honing that craft that never was a hobby for me but a means of communication, entertaining and staying in contact with the people that were like me.

My firearms training business folded when I learned that I had to first tell folks they had the right to keep and bear arms before they bought their first gun.  Training which has always been a tough sell was also wrought with difficulties.  I made a ton of mistakes.  I bought an office and vehicle and equipment that rarely got used.  The overhead expenses did me in.

I built it and they didn’t come.

I merged into the realm of security guard training and found out that most of my clients didn’t want to learn. They just wanted to pay for their credentials to work.  Overweight, undertrained, officers that shouldn’t have firearms sought me as a last resort.  When they had failed to qualifty for armed duty, they called.  A few were dissatified when I wouldn’t just take their money and sign their guard card.

They had a problem with my integrity.

I started a gun club but wasn’t ready for the care and feeding required to keep it growing. I have been on radio shows, but failed to hype myself or say the right things on cue.  Failures have a way of taking a toll on your soul.    I know 99 things that do not work.

But through it all, I have met amazing people that are growing, going and doing great things.  This Fall I am restarting my training business.  I plan to help people get to the next level in their lives.

Got a new perspective and feature I call PapaCapp. You see and hear more about it soon.

Updating the website, the podcast and more.

Working on a new look, new sound and better content.  Planning on teaching again. Could use your help financially once a month for the podcast and to buy this rig.  For a $1 a week.  $5 a month will you sign up so I can buy this rig?  You can use the paypal link or Patreon 

Thank you,

Kenn

If you like the podcast, download the free app for it on IOS at http://BlackManWithAGun.org also available in Google Play for Android. You can support this podcast at http://patreon.com/blackmanwithagun

Drive On

An argument we often hear from gun prohibitionists is that it is more difficult to obtain and drive a car than it is to obtain and carry a gun. They’ll tell you that it is only “common sense” that we should make gun ownership more closely resemble car ownership. But let’s forget for a moment that the right to keep and bear arms is constitutionally protected, and that the “right to own and drive” cars is not.

Not a right.

To make gun and car ownership more simpatico, we should first make concealed carry licenses reciprocal between all 50 states. The anti-gun crowd objects to this on the grounds that concealed carry licensing standards are inconsistent between the states, and that all driver’s licenses are the same. But a quick web search for state driver’s licensing requirements show that the standards each state enforces vary quite a bit…and despite these differences, a driver’s license from Alaska is still perfectly valid in Florida. So using the “treat guns like cars” standard, shouldn’t a concealed carry permit from Mississippi be valid in New Jersey, for example?  Instead, when it comes to concealed carry, people who have never even read the Constitution go all “states’ rights” and forget all about the differences in drivers’ licensing.

(And don’t even try to use the RealID program to argue about licensing standards. With RealID, the licensing document itself must meet certain formatting requirements, but has nothing to do with actual driving ability. If my driver’s license does not have certain physical characteristics I cannot use it to ride on…not fly…an airplane from Cincinnati to San Antonio. But I can still use it to drive my car from Cincinnati to San Antonio. Common sense!)

Driver’s license, or concealed carry license? Shouldn’t matter.

But let’s not stop there in our quest to make gun ownership and car ownership more similar. Any adult, 18 years of age or more, can buy a car any time they want.  Under current federal law, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to purchase a handgun…not like cars at all! In nearly every other aspect of life, we consider 18 to be the age of adulthood. An 18-year old can join the military, vote, buy a rifle or shotgun (according to Federal law)…or a car. Why not a handgun?

Not federally licensed. No background check.

Let’s also consider where we buy cars, and how. Car dealers are not required to be federally licensed, nor are they required to conduct a federal background check on potential purchasers. You certainly don’t need to run a background check in order to privately sell your car to someone else. Let’s get rid of that requirement for guns…in order to make it more like buying a car! We should also remember that car sales are not generally restricted depending on how big the engine is, how fast the car goes, or how much fuel it holds (and such restrictions, where they exist, are usually only with respect to whether or not you can take it on the public roads…we’ll cover that in a second). Similar restrictions on things like caliber, firing mechanism, and magazine capacity ought to go away if we want to treat guns like cars! Heck, some states even allow fully automatic cars!

A full-auto auto…

As an aside, we all know that it would be silly to restrict or ban cars that have certain cosmetic or ergonomic features, so of course we will discard all such restrictions for guns as well, right?  Of course we will…it’s only common sense.  And speaking of common sense, we normally require that cars be equipped with a muffler…so let’s make it easier to put one on your gun!

Nice muffler. Image by Oleg Volk.

Of course, the subject of registration of cars versus guns inevitably comes up, but the popular belief that all cars must be registered and licensed through the state is simply not true. Requirements will vary by state, but in most cases if a vehicle is not going to be driven on public roads, it does not have to be registered…and cars are never registered with the federal government! For example, if you had a 4-wheel drive that you only drove around your farm, or your buddy’s farm, or any other private driving complex…you certainly do not need to get tags for it. Except for an instance in which a firearm is actually used for legitimate self defense, every legal use of a firearm I can think of takes place either on someone’s private property with their consent, or on public land as already allowed by law. Never mind that no one can explain how registering an item…car or gun…prevents its use in a crime. They might try to argue that registration makes it easier to solve crimes, but the truth is that it rarely happens, and when it does it is after the fact and prevents nothing. And if you really want to mess with their heads, ask them how they intend to get criminals to register their guns…especially since the Supreme Court has already ruled that you cannot force a convicted felon to register a gun! (Violates their 5th Amendment right to not self-incriminate.)

Unregistered.

Let’s not forget the old standby argument…insurance. Antis will often try to point out that you can’t honor concealed carry licenses in all states because there is no consistent requirement for liability insurance, like there is for drivers’ licenses. Swing and a miss! Drivers are not required to have insurance in order to be licensed to drive…liability insurance is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle. What if you didn’t own a car but wanted a drivers’ license? Does your state require you to purchase a car before they’ll license you to drive? Of course not. I didn’t own a car when I learned to drive and got my license; my parents had to add me as a driver on the insurance policy they had on their car…but the policy was written on the car, not me. Personally, I’ve never been asked to show proof of liability insurance to rent a car…just a valid drivers’ license (from any state, and even some foreign countries). I can easily fly to Texas and show my Kentucky license and rent a car, whether I own an insured car of my own or not (and if stopped by law enforcement my Kentucky license will be recognized). The car rental agency is the owner of the car, and they are the ones responsible for insuring it.

This is a road one could explore for hours…lots of points of interest and side trips, and you could even get a little lost. But if you keep going, you’ll wind up right back where you started…at one simple truth. Although the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutionally protected civil right, guns and gun owners are much, much more heavily regulated than cars and drivers. Anyone who tells you different is selling you something.

Original post at deltabravocharlie.com

For Your Own Safety

Katherine Nixon is dead, for her own safety.

Afraid of a co-worker’s potential for violence, she voiced that concern to her husband the night before she died, and told him she wanted to take a gun to work.

Dead, for her own safety.

She was forced by policy to work in a so-called “gun free zone.” As a utilities engineer for the City of Virginia Beach, she was forbidden to bring a gun into the building where she worked…as was her murderer. And I am quite confident that the managers of that organization told her (and the other 11 victims of the May 31st shooting there) that the reason for the policy was “safety.”

For your own safety.

If Katherine Nixon had argued this policy with them, they would have lied to her. They would have told her that allowing employees to bring guns to work was not safe. They would have told her that in the event of a workplace shooting, her having a gun would only make things worse. Worse than what?

This is the lie that managers tell employees (and themselves) every day in this country. Despite readily available data to the contrary, they continue to insist that denying citizens the most effective and easy-to-use self-defense tool available somehow makes them safer. Don’t you believe them.

The only ones made safer by policies like these are the managers and the organizations which employ them. As I have written before, these policies are meant to protect the organization from liability, rather than the lives of the human beings who work there. Organizations don’t see employees like Katherine Nixon as real people, with real lives…precious lives worth defending. They are “resources,” and resources can be replaced. You are the “R” in your company’s “HR” department, after all.

Job postings for Utilities Engineer with the City of Virginia Beach as of June 13, 2019

Jason Nixon has retained an attorney, hoping to force some answers and accountability from the city. My cynical side fears he will have little success, however, as the court system has been extremely reluctant to assign any liability to organizations which enact no-gun policies…even while they fail to protect the lives of the people who work there.

Very few states have any sort of law on the books assigning liability to organizations which disarm their people, or even grant immunity to organizations which allow the choice to go legally armed on their premises. This needs to change.

But I do hope that Jason Nixon’s revelation of Katherine’s fears in her final hours might inspire some change in the way the legal system and our lawmakers look at “gun free zones,” and start shifting the calculus of risk-averse managers.

No one should die defenseless…for their own safety.

Who Is Kenn Blanchard?

I think if you stay around long enough folks will find you.  I got a chance to be a guest on the GunWebsites channel.  Looking forward to sharing wisdom, trading information and helping new warriors not make the same mistakes I have in twenty years of gun rights advocacy and training the public.

@IG kennblanchard

blackmanwithagun.tv 

If you like the podcast, download the free app for it on IOS at http://BlackManWithAGun.org also available in Google Play for Android. You can support this podcast at http://patreon.com/blackmanwithagun

Why Don’t You Kids Go Outside?

That was the question many my age heard from our parents on a regular basis when we were kids…though it wasn’t really a question. Today, kids are often depicted as sedentary, smartphone and Playstation obsessed couch potatoes, and sometimes that’s true. Fortunately, there are still plenty of kids who very much want to go outside, and the state of Kentucky has a pretty cool program to help them do it.

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife operates three summer camps, known as “conservation camps,” for kids from 4th to 6th grade. At Camp John Currie, Camp Earl Wallace, or Camp Robert C. Webb, Kentucky kids can spend a week participating in nature studies, archery, boating, outdoor survival, firearm safety, fishing, and swimming.

The best part is that even if you don’t have kids (like me) or don’t live in Kentucky, you can still help a kid get off the couch and into a Kentucky conservation camp. A week at camp costs $225, and some families just don’t have the money to send their child. But by going to this page , you can sponsor a camper by contributing tuition assistance to a specific child or by donating to the general scholarship fund through the Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

Read through the list of kids and their stories and see if you don’t find a few that tug at your heartstrings. A lot of these children are in rural counties and are depending on the generosity of another to help them get to camp. And for what it is worth, I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do. I made my donation today, and now this young girl who wants to “learn how to survive in the wilderness” and “learn gun safety” is going to get her wish.

That there are so many kids who want to do this is great, and it would be a shame if they missed the opportunity for want of a hundred bucks or so. If it gets a kid outside, I think it’s money well spent.

Originally published at:  https://www.deltabravocharlie.com/home/why-dont-you-kids-go-outside

What I Learned From John Wick 3

 

This week on the Black Man With A Gun Show podcast:

  1. A Conversation with the best writer on the Black Man With A Gun blog, Dave B. Cole on hunting, being a writer for the Black Man With A Gun and more…
  2. Gun Rights Alliance – We just started it.
  3. M-W Tactical on the accessory from Taran Tactical

Here’s three things I picked up from the movie.

  1. Relationships matter.
  2. Blind loyalty hurts.
  3. Learn how to operate the firearm you run backwards and forwards, be proficient in clearing malfunctions, how to fix it… everything

 

Gun Rights Alliance

Join the mailing list 

Today, I am looking forward at what I can do for the gun rights movement as a legacy. I want to be remembered for more than just being the OG aka the Black Man with A Gun™. Here’s what I plan. I am working with a app developer to create a mobile app that can be a platform directory for organizations like the GOA, USCCA, SAF, NAAGA, 2AO, and others to connect with us.

It will also have a directory and links to pages from content creators that are really the media for our side. The bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers will have their own apps within this app. I am trying to get cutting age tech to protect us from the Bergs that don’t like us. (Bloom and Zucker.)

It’s been a great life so far. Being involved in the gun rights movement has improved me. It has taught me to be a better citizen. It has made me appreciate freedom, history and the sacrifices of others.
Communication is the magic sauce. Going to try it despite our mistrust of each other. Going to make it happen despite the need for goo gobs of money. The power has always been in the people. We are what makes this thing called freedom work.

I think I can do this. I’ve worked with just about everyone. I’ve watched folks come and go. Like a sentinel, I have held my post. I have encouraged and discouraged posers as best I could. I have been an activist in the gun rights community since 1991. Before that I started as a firearms trainer for my government agency. From that I launched a side business to teach tactics and defense to civilians and security officers. I was part of the start of the concealed carry movement. I traveled with the NRA and the Law Enforcement Alliance of America to testify in a handful of states to change their racist policies and laws.

Thus began my journey as the Black Man with A Gun™. I started a national gun club in 1991 to foster the growth of African Americans in the shooting sports. I published a book in 1999. I created a website in 2000. I’ve worked behind the scenes to select, qualify and protect people of color that became involved in Supreme Court cases.

I’ve worked with the NRA. I even tried to get a job there. I’m a life member. I only turned it down because the salary was too low and not close to what they were paying the incumbent. I begged to be a functioning member on the GOA staff and after –way too much back and forth – got a position as the volunteer Urban Affairs guy. I didn’t do a thing with that. I resigned. Too early I guess. I’ve been a voting member on the CCRKBA and done the perfunctory “minority speaker slot” the GRPC but never made the masthead. I’ve worked with just about all the groups out there. My hats off to all the brothers and sisters now working with “x” organization.

This is my attempt to sew all the pieces together. If you will support it, join the email list today so I can build a team to make this happen. We are the Gun Rights Alliance.

If you like the podcast, download the free app for it on IOS at http://BlackManWithAGun.org also available in Google Play for Android. You can support this podcast at http://patreon.com/blackmanwithagun

Boones and Crockett Whiskey: Product Review

The Boones and Crockett Whiskey was opened at the Cigar Town Mclean, lounge and I allowed several people to sample the spirit and give me their unbiased opinion on it.

Over the past twenty years I have reviewed revolvers, pistols, rifles, clothing, eyewear, targets, and gun accessories. This was the first time I was sent a bottle of spirits. In full disclosure, I am a rookie in the drinking department. I don’t have a fine palette for fine wines and liquors. I am a two beer drinker because-you-gave me-a-second-one kinda guy. But I wanted to try this out. The folks at Boones and Crockett sent me a great note of introduction, told me what they were planning to do and I wanted to be a part of it. The demographic they are appealing to are my friends. I was hoping to get a case of this stuff and somehow finagle a private party and a cigar lounge where we could have a blast and talk life, and guns.

I got a bottle. I saved it until my friend at the Cigar Town shop in Mclean invited me to come by. The owner is a great guy and I combined a book signing with it. I got the chance to meet a tobacconists that was selling rare Montecristo cigars the same night. It rained cats and dogs but we had a good time. I met some great new people and actually sold a couple of books.

Overall, 4 out of 5 of the drinkers said they would buy it.  The one that didn’t said he was a whiskey sommelier who just happened to be hawking more expensive whiskey that night.  To be frank, he was an azzhat but did give me some insight into how some whiskey is judged, sold and ranked.

I learned from him that to be called a Bourbon it must be made in the US.  I learned that it is has a percentage of corn in it and must be aged in oak.  I learned that there is a specific process that determines the proof, the color and a bunch of variables.

Taste wise, I was told:

“it had a strong oak taste.  More than a whiskey of its age usually has.”
“It was drinkable.”
“It is good. I’d buy it”

For me, the Boones and Crockett Whiskey is a good drink.  It is smooth, pairs good with a good cigar and friends.  It supports the same things I support.  It comes from good people that took a chance on sharing their new product with a relative newbie.

I have tried it on the rocks but think it works the best straight.  Get a bottle, share it with friends, and drink responsibly.

If you like the podcast, download the free app for it on IOS at http://BlackManWithAGun.org also available in Google Play for Android. You can support this podcast at http://patreon.com/blackmanwithagun

Know Your Gun Rights: What Is Considered a Criminal Offence

Gun laws in the U.S. are a frequently discussed topic. Opinions are divided, but as things are at the moment, there are a lot of laws in place to stop people from misusing the weapons they own and prevent life-threatening situations.

Recreational use of guns, such as for hunting as an example, is commonly regarded as a legal activity. However, there are exceptions to the rules which everyone should know about.

Gun laws are in place to prevent any possible incidents, so as a gun owner, being informed should be on top of your list of priorities because a mistake involving a firearm can carry costly consequences.

Firing a Weapon Within City Limits

Using a weapon in an inhabited city area is classified as an abuse of gun rights. Discharging a firearm in such city environment is considered dangerous from obvious reason and the law states that one such act is a class 6 felony. If convicted, you are not only facing high fines and jail time but also your gun rights will be taken away.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule:

  • The gun was fired further than one mile from an inhabited area
  • The fired gun was filled with blanks
  • You hold a special permit from the chief of police
  • You are lawfully hunting during open season
  • You are using the weapon as defence from a physical threat
  • You have a permit for controlling wildlife by the relevant department in your state

Traveling With a Weapon

If you are driving cross country with a weapon, it is highly important to familiarize yourself with the gun laws of each state you will be going through. According to the McClure-Volkmer Act,you are allowed to drive with a firearm in your car as long as the weapon is cased, unloaded or locked up. This act also points out that the gun laws from the country that you reside in will apply to you if you are only passing through a different state, stopping only briefly for fuel, food or bathroom breaks. If you are staying in another state overnight then you must comply with their gun laws.

If you are under the age of 21, carrying a weapon in your vehicle is illegal and depending on the circumstances, it can be considered as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Weapon Misconduct

 

Weapon misconduct is a general term to describe the use of a firearm in a way that poses danger to the public. However, the punishment for such behavior are not fixed since circumstances can make a difference. Weapon misconduct can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. The mildest offence a person can be charged with is a class 3 misdemeanor, while the highest is a class 2 felony.

 

Some examples of weapon misconduct are the following:

  • Selling or handing a weapon to a minor without the consent of the parents
  • Selling or handing a weapon to a person who has a previous conviction of weapon misconduct and has been stripped from their gun rights
  • Defacing a deadly weapon
  • Possessing a weapon on school grounds
  • Possession of a prohibited weapon such as grenades, bombs, rockets, short barrel shotguns and nunchucks
  • Using a weapon with the intention of committing a criminal act
  • Handing a weapon to a person while being aware that they are going to use it to commit a criminal act

 

When Can You Lose Your Gun Rights?

 

If a person is found guilty of weapon misconduct, their gun rights will be cut short. The length of this ban will depend on the nature of the crime they have been convicted for.

 

A person who is convicted of felony due to their use of a weapon with the intention to cause physical harm to another person will not be eligible to have their gun rights reinstated after doing their time in prison and probation.

 

For serious offences involving weapons yet without the intention to do harm, the person can have their gun rights reinstated 10 years after successfully completing the probation period.

 

Less serious felonies which are considered not dangerous come with 2 years waiting period after the probation is completed to have the gun rights reinstated.

 

Misdemeanors do not result in loss of gun rights unless a person is convicted of domestic violence. In such cases, the person will lose their gun rights for life.

 

However, gun laws reinstating is not a simple matter and other aspects such as criminal history, the gravity of the criminal offence and the probation performance play a crucial role.

 

The gun rights in the U.S. are made so each person can feel safer knowing that they can defend themselves in a life-threatening situation. However, there is a line which must not be crossed when it comes to using your gun. If you are charged with weapon misconduct, contacting a criminal justice attorney is highly advisable so you can stand the best chances in court to go without a felony conviction and keep your gun rights.

 

 

Liz S. Coyle is the Director of Client Services for JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law. She also serves as a paralegal for the Family Law Department. She is responsible for internal and external communications for the firm.

 

NRA and Divergent Thoughts

There are conflicted accounts on how well or how bad things are in the National Rifle Association.

Those that want it’s demise cheer at the ambiguity, infighting and mess it has become accustomed to.  I am connected to those inside and those that used to be.  Where do we go from here?  Here are two post I hijacked from articles sent to me.  One was sent to me from former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman and the second one is from one of the list I am on ala Jeff Knox.

 

N.R.A. Sues Contractor Behind NRATV

It’s the N.R.A. versus NRATV.

The National Rifle Association sued one of its largest and most enduring contractors late last week and raised concerns about the contractor’s relationship to the association’s own president, Oliver North, in a stunning breach within the normally buttoned-up organization.

The suit was filed late Friday by the N.R.A. in Virginia, where it is based, against Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma ad firm that operates NRATV, the group’s incendiary online media arm. The suit asserts that Ackerman has concealed details from the N.R.A. about how the company is spending the roughly $40 million that it and its affiliates receive annually from the association.

The suit creates uncertainty about Mr. North’s future at the organization. And it leaves the future of NRATV in doubt, given the new acrimony in the Ackerman relationship.

Since Ackerman created NRATV in 2016, it has often been “perceived by the public as the voice of the N.R.A.,” according to the rifle association’s complaint. It has also taken on an apocalyptic tone, warning of race wars, calling for a march on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and portraying the talking trains in the children’s show “Thomas & Friends” in Ku Klux Klan hoods.

The New York Times reported this year that two prominent N.R.A. board members were among those voicing alarm inside the association that NRATV was often straying beyond gun rights. The Times article also revealed that Ackerman had a previously undisclosed financial relationship with Mr. North.

The association is untangling broader problems as well, including a legal fight in New York with the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over an insurance program the N.R.A. offers to gun owners. The new state attorney general, Letitia James, has also repeatedly threatened to investigate the tax-exempt status of the organization, which was incorporated in New York.

Facing this regulatory backdrop, the association began a review of its financial relationships with hundreds of vendors in August to ensure that it was in compliance with best practices.

The N.R.A. complaint alleges that Ackerman refused to turn over a number of financial records, including those detailing out-of-pocket expenses “that lacked meaningful documentation of N.R.A. approvals, receipts or other support.” The association also wants documents that it says could allay its concern that it was being invoiced for the full salaries of Ackerman employees who also did work for other Ackerman clients. In addition, the complaint alleges that Ackerman has refused to provide data about NRATV’s unique visitors and various other performance measures.

“The N.R.A.’s patience has run out,” the suit says.

Ackerman, in a statement, sharply disputed the contentions in the lawsuit, whose filing was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“During a three-week review, an N.R.A. forensic auditing firm received every single piece of information they [the N.R.A.] requested,” the statement said. “Further, the N.R.A. has had consistent access to any and all documents regarding NRATV analytics. Despite the representation set forth in their lawsuit, the N.R.A. had the personnel contract they claim AM withheld last week before they filed their lawsuit.”

The complaint details a peculiar standoff with Ackerman over Mr. North, who took over as president last year. The N.R.A. claims it was aware that Mr. North had a contract to act as the host of a web series for Ackerman, but that Ackerman has refused to provide a copy of the contract for nearly six months. Additionally, Mr. North’s counsel told the N.R.A. that “he could only disclose a copy of the contract” if Ackerman said he could, the suit says.

Subsequently, Ackerman allowed the N.R.A.’s general counsel to view the contract but not keep a copy; the viewing added to N.R.A. concerns that it had not previously received an accurate summary of the document. The association was also concerned that Mr. North’s relationship to Ackerman could “supersede his duties to the N.R.A.”

A standoff persists over additional details about the relationship, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit is further complicated by family ties. The N.R.A.’s outside lawyer, William A. Brewer III, is the son-in-law of Angus McQueen, a co-chief executive of Ackerman, and the brother-in-law of Revan McQueen, its chief executive. Ackerman called the relationships an “irreconcilable conflict of interest” and said some kind of family dispute “pervades the Brewer firm’s dealings with Ackerman McQueen.”

Travis Carter, a spokesman for Mr. Brewer’s law firm, said “the familial relationship” had “no bearing whatsoever on the N.R.A.’s litigation strategy.” He added, “Any suggestion to the contrary is contrived and a red herring.”

The suit culminates the fracturing of a more than three-decade relationship between Ackerman and the N.R.A., going back to the shaping of such memorable lines as Charlton Heston’s proclaiming that his gun would have to be pried “from my cold, dead hands.” Wayne LaPierre, the longtime chief executive of the N.R.A., had previously been a steadfast champion of the Ackerman relationship.

“I think it says something about Wayne’s character, even though he’s had a long-term working business relationship with a vendor, he’s willing to do what is right and necessary for the N.R.A. and its members,” said Todd Rathner, a board member of the rifle association.

Joel Friedman, another board member, said he was dismayed that the documents had not been turned over.

“It leaves you questioning, and you can come up with all these potential different scenarios as to why, but none of them are good,” he said.

“My mind goes to: Are they overcharging us? That’s one,” he added. “Two, are there things charged to us that were not part of the contract? Then, No. 3, has there been a misallocation of personnel?”

Can you spell “FOOD FIGHT”?

And now from Jeff Knox

Practical Steps Toward Improving the NRA

(February 5, 2019) Over the years, I have often been pretty critical of the NRA and its leadership team. Even though I try to make a point of expressing my support for the organization and its mission, there are always some who see my criticism as an attack, and an attempt to tear down the organization. In this column, rather than simply pointing at the flaws and failures of the association, I want to address some practical and reasonable solutions and expectations.

It is unreasonable and unrealistic to think that a 147-year old, $300 million plus, per year organization, with an elected board of 76 deeply entrenched directors, would or could suddenly shift course and completely revamp the way they do business. Even the famous Cincinnati Revolt in 1977, which was a ground-shaking event, only resulted in only minor changes in the long-term operations of the organization – and years of wrangling for power and control. Another result of the Cincinnati Revolt, was the inevitable restructuring of the rules to make sure that nothing like it could ever happen again. That started with the revolutionaries, putting up defenses against a counter-revolution, and then was continued by the “Old Guard” as they slowly regained power. Today, virtually all of the reforms of Cincinnati have been reversed or modified beyond recognition.

So, with all of the problems that the NRA is currently facing: A $30 million deficit, declining revenue and membership numbers, legal assaults and much frustration over their Carry Guard insurance and training program, accusations of illegal campaign spending, and suggestions of improper dealings with Russian agents, and a large segment of the membership upset over what they see as capitulation on core issues… What would be realistic expectations for reforms at NRA?

To begin with, the Board of Directors needs to establish very clear guidance to the Executive Vice President and staff to ensure that every communication, every policy, every strategy, and anything else that comes out of the organization is consistent with the core values and principles of the association and the Second Amendment. This should be backed up by an oversight subcommittee of the Board, composed of Second Amendment purists who will always place principles over politics. Too often, it seems that the political operatives are driving the boat, leaving principles behind in the name of pragmatism. Closer oversight from some purists on the Board would go a long way toward solving this problem.

Next, the Board must review the audit processes that should be in place to ensure full compliance with all state and federal fundraising and political spending laws and regulations. Everyone at NRA should be very aware that everything they do will be scrutinized by regulators, reporters, and political operatives looking for any irregularity or impropriety. With that awareness, it is totally inexcusable that there should be even the slightest hint or appearance of the organization straying from the straight and narrow. We know that accusations will always be thrown at us, so we must be sure that we are absolutely scrupulous and beyond reproach in all of our dealings.

Stories that the NRA accepted large donations from Russian citizens, and then used that money to support a presidential candidate, should be easy to refute. Accusations that the NRA used the same political advertising agencies as candidates they supported – suggesting that they were coordinating independent expenditures with those campaigns – should never even come up, and if they did, NRA should be able to very quickly disprove such accusations, but so far, they have refused to even answer any questions about the matter.

The roll-out of a major new program like NRA Carry Guard should be preceded by thorough examination of the insurance and solicitation laws of every state, to ensure that there would be no conflicts or compliance issues, but that apparently didn’t happen with Carry Guard. There should also have been in-depth discussion with the Training Division and the Board committee that oversees training, along with key training counselors around the country, before such a major training initiative was introduced, but again, that apparently didn’t happen. This has resulted in fines and lawsuits from Insurance Commissioners in several states, and confusion and anger among NRA Instructors. Where was the due diligence that would have avoided these problems? The Board must institute policies and procedures to make sure such mistakes and “bad optics” don’t recur, and those responsible for the blunders must be held accountable.

Next, the Board needs to review all vendor agreements, eliminate any unnecessary programs, and begin transitioning as much as possible back in-house. Currently, the NRA pays over $40 million a year to one PR and Advertising company. They also pay a telemarketing firm something in the neighborhood of $30 million a year, and they list four separate companies just to “advise” them on fundraising, at a total of over $3 million per year – just for advice!

Then there is the issue of executive compensation. While it is not unusual for executives in some major non-profit corporations – such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts or the Guggenheim Museum – to receive compensation in excess of $1 million dollars per year, these are typically professional executives who could earn such compensation at any number of similar organizations, and are funded by wealthy patrons and huge endowments. Such is not the case with Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox. They rose to their current positions via internal political maneuvering and being in the right place at the right time. Both would be hard-pressed to find employment in the $200 to $300k range as senior lobbyists in a DC firm, and wouldn’t even be considered for any sort of senior management positions.

The Board should review all executive compensation packages and bring them down to more reasonable levels. NRA executives should not be expected to work for free, but it is simply not right to be paying LaPierre almost a million and a half dollars per year while begging hard-working NRA members for $20 contributions.

The steps suggested here are not dramatic. They would not jeopardize the stability of the organization or damage its political clout in any way, nor would they be costly or difficult. On the contrary, these steps would stabilize the NRA, refocus it on its core missions, establish proper and long-lacking Board oversight of operations, save money, reduce costly mistakes, and restore the faith of members and former members in the NRA’s mission and leadership. These are all things that the NRA Board should have been doing all along, and needs to do now.

But instead of taking these reasonable, rational steps to improve and strengthen the NRA, scuttlebutt inside the organization suggests that the leadership is going to try to “solve” the problems by creating a for-profit entity, out from under the NRA non-profit umbrella and less accessible to the prying eyes of government regulators, nosy reporters, and “disgruntled members” like me. In other words, rather than fixing the problems, they are going to try and hide them from view.

Let’s hope the rumors aren’t true, and that the NRA Board of Directors has the will and integrity to do what needs to be done.

What do you think?

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Choose Well

Coloradoans recently experienced a (more or less) collective butt-clenching at the possibility that a crazy lady who wanted to shoot up a school might be running around loose in the state. In anticipation of this possibility, they responded by simply closing all the schools they thought might be at risk and keeping all the kids at home for the day.

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The thing is, this is precisely why an on-site armed response capability is necessary every day. Do you think that if Columbine, or Virginia Tech, or Sandy Hook had actually expected that a shooting was imminent, they’d have been open that day? I’ll guarantee that if you asked any organization which had actually experienced a mass shooting if they expected it to happen that day, every single one of them would answer “no.” If they had honestly expected something like that to happen, or even think there was a truly credible threat, they would do just what Colorado did and close the doors for the day and send everyone home. (And for the record, I find no fault in that decision. I’d do the same thing if I really thought trouble was coming.)

“So what’s your point, Dave?”

My point is that every single mass shooting at a school or business happened when it was not expected, and if one happens at your school, church, or business it will also be unexpected. Just like every other victim of a mass shooting, you will not have advance warning.

If and when that day comes, the time for avoidance and for preparation is over…you will be forced to react, right then and there. The opportunity to avoid bloodshed will have passed, and the only option remaining is whether it will be a shootout, or a massacre…and guess what? You have to make that choice in advance. Choose well.

https://fastersaveslives.org/

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

 

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