By Jeff Knox
Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- You're running out of time to get your ballot in for the 2017 NRA board elections.
Fewer than 6% of eligible NRA members return their ballot each year. If you have not yet mailed your ballot, please do so now. Along with the ballot for electing directors, there is a ballot on approval or rejection of a group of bylaw amendments.
Whether you vote for directors or not, please mark “No” on the bylaw ballot and mail it in immediately.
The bylaw ballot is a single page with just one question. Some of the proposed amendments are simple housekeeping, but others remove power from the members, and consolidate power in the Board of Directors.
I strongly urge you to vote No.
Go right now and find your February issue. If there is a ballot stapled into the center, you are eligible to vote. Mark your ballots and mail them in the envelope provided..
If you're not sure who to vote for in the NRA Board Directors race, I am encouraging voting for only the following three candidates: Adam Kraut, Sean Maloney, and Graham Hill. You need not mark any other names.
Adam Kraut is an attorney from Pennsylvania and host of “The Legal Brief” on “The Gun Collective” YouTube channel and appears regularly on AmmoLand News. I've been very impressed with Adam's insights and enthusiasm, and think he would be an excellent addition to the Board.
I have endorsed Sean Maloney twice before, and he's barely missed the cut each time, but last year, he moved up when another director resigned to take a half-million dollar per year job at NRA Headquarters. This year, we have the opportunity to give him a full 3-year term, and I think that would be good for the NRA.
Graham Hill has served well on the Board for many years, but is not well-known among the members, and didn't make the cut last year. I think Graham has a lot to offer NRA, and deserves another term on the Board.
There are other candidates that I like. Most will be reelected easily, and don't need extra support, while others have little chance of winning. I consider these three to have a solid chance to win seats, but be close to the cut-off mark, and so they would benefit most from extra support.
Overall, the NRA Board of Directors is an impressive group that generally does a pretty good job.
I think where they fall short is in their unwillingness to hold staff – Wayne and company – accountable and keep the budget in check. Too many people are making too much money off of NRA members, and it's the Board's responsibility to manage that. Paying LaPierre a million dollars a year is simply outrageous. Paying other top executives three-quarters of a million each is unconscionable, and the money that is dumped into the PR firm of Ackerman McQueen is scandalous. I'm also very disappointed that directors that I know, trust, and like, are advocating in support of the current bylaw amendments. A big part of this stems from last year's messy recall effort against Grover Norquist. And the losses of several incumbents in a field crowded with petition candidates. I think many of the directors were a bit shocked by that debacle, and now they want to make sure nothing like that happens again. I think those fears are unfounded, and these bylaw amendments are unjustifiable.
The key bylaw amendments would make nominating Board candidates by petition much more difficult, and would make petitioning for recalls and bylaw amendments impossible.
Since 1977, when my father proposed an amendment to the bylaws providing a way for members to nominate candidates by petition, the number of qualified signatures required has been set at 250, a number Dad saw as tough, but possible for someone committed to the effort. Prior to that, the NRA President would name the members of the Nominating Committee, and the Nominating Committee would nominate just the number of candidates needed to fill the available seats. Members had no say at all.
For recalls and bylaw amendments, the number was set at 450, a higher standard, but even more difficult since members are naturally reticent to sign recall and bylaw petitions unless they understand and agree with them, as opposed to director petitions, which most members will sign regardless.
Under the proposed bylaws, the number of signatures required would shift from a fixed number to a sliding scale based on how many votes were cast in the previous year's director elections. For nominating directors, the requirement would be 0.5% of the prior year's ballots, and for recalls and bylaw amendments the number would be set at 5.0%.
What those percentages translate to in the real world are about 600 and 6000 respectively – assuming NRA members continue voting at the current low rate. Getting signatures, member numbers, and home addresses from 600 NRA Life or 5-year consecutive members would be very difficult, requiring a pretty sophisticated, multi-state effort. Getting 6000 signatures and related information for a recall or bylaw amendment petition would be virtually impossible. And those numbers would go up exponentially if more members vote.
So these bylaw amendments would completely take away the members' ability to propose bylaw amendments or recall an officer or director, and make it much more difficult for members to nominate director candidates.
This is wrong, and should not be allowed to happen. Members must reject these amendments by voting “No.” Ballots must be returned by April 9 2017.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox lead many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org