By Jeff Knox : Opinion
Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- Since my report on NRA Leadership's lack of respect for the members, many people have asked for a copy of the actual Resolution that I introduced on the floor of the Annual Meeting of Members in Atlanta.
Here is that resolution exactly as it was submitted, including typos.
Resolution on Conduct of 2017 Bylaw Election
April 29, 2017
Submitted by Jeffrey A. Knox,
Member Number: 03XXXXXXXXX
Whereas the National Rifle Association of America is a membership organization, created by and for the benefit of the members, and incorporated under the laws of New York State, making the members, in effect, the shareholders of the corporation; and
Whereas the staff, officers, and board of directors of the NRA have a legal and ethical duty to keep the members fully informed on matters upon which they will be asked to vote; and
Whereas it is a violation of law for officers, staff, or the board of directors to take actions which serve to perpetuate themselves in office and/or withhold pertinent information from membership; and
Whereas in the 2017 elections, the officers and board of directors did promulgate a significant number of bylaw amendments for members to vote on as a single package, and
Whereas several of those bylaw amendments have direct impact on matters such as competition for seats on the board of directors, the ability of the members to initiate a recall of officers and directors, thus serving to perpetuate the current directors in office; and
Whereas those bylaw amendments also seriously restricted the membership's ability to initiate amendments to the bylaws of the association, and completely removed the right of members gathered for a Members' Meeting to vote on bylaw amendments, thus repealing some of the last vestiges of the transformative bylaw changes known as the Cincinnati reforms; and
Whereas the officers and board of directors did promulgate these bylaw amendments on the 2017 mail-in ballot, and in the accompanying voting materials, with no prior notice to the membership, no opportunity for debate or discussion, and no consideration for, or presentation of, any ideas or opinions that were not supportive of the proposed bylaw amendments; and
Whereas the one-sided, heavy-handed, and undemocratic presentation of these bylaw proposals to the membership in such a way as to limit the time, opportunity, and avenues for members who might oppose some part or all of the bylaw amendments, to inform fellow members of the problems and consequences of these bylaw amendments; and
Whereas the actions of the board and staff in this matter were autocratic and disrespectful to the membership, and give the appearance of self-dealing for the purpose of perpetuating themselves in office;
Therefore be it Resolved that the members here gathered at the 2017 Annual Meeting of Members in Atlanta, Georgia, recognizing that our authority to force the officers, staff, and board of directors to take a particular action was taken away from us by similar, management-driven votes of the entire membership in previous bylaw elections, do hereby express our extreme displeasure with the actions of the staff and board of directors in their conduct of the 2017 bylaws election, and call upon them to set aside the results of the 2017 bylaws election until such time as the membership can have a full discussion and debate, with presentation of arguments from all sides; and
Be it further Resolved that the members here gathered, exercising the power which we do retain, wish to share our concerns and displeasure regarding this matter with our fellow NRA members, and hereby instruct NRA staff to publish this resolution, in its entirety, in the Official Journal of the association, and that any editorial content included in NRA publications which address this issue, must provide equivalent editorial space on the same page(s) to the author of this resolution.
# # #
Note that the resolution acknowledges that members can't order the Board to take any action, and merely expresses displeasure, and calls upon the Board to set the election aside. This was not an “order,” it was an expression of anger and frustration on the part of the members – if they voted to adopt it – but the Chair claimed it was an unlawful order.
The other “flaw” they claimed made the resolution “out of order” was a proscription in Robert's Rules, which says you aren't to criticize an action that can't be reversed. This resolution clearly doesn't fit that category. The resolution criticized the Board's methods, not the election results. The fact that it was written and introduced prior to those results being known is testament to that fact, as is the plain language of the resolution.
A ruling by the Chair that something is “out of order,” cannot be debated, therefore the resolution died without any discussion or debate. If indeed the language of the resolution was flawed, the proper way to deal with it would have been to either bring it to me in advance so I could correct it – as they did with another resolution I offered – or allow it onto the floor for debate and corrective amendments.
This sort of parliamentary chicanery is a perfect example of why I say the leadership doesn't respect the membership, and I challenge Former President Alan Cors, who chaired that meeting, or Former President David Keene, who called the resolution an insult, or any other NRA officer or director to explain how the conduct of the bylaw election, and their quashing of this resolution in the Members' Meeting, was anything other than disrespectful to the membership.
I invite you to ask them to publicly respond. You can write to them at:
(Board Member Name)
NRA Office of the Secretary
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
* Note: Only correspondence from NRA members will be forwarded, so you must include your current NRA membership number along with your contact information.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led 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 has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.