NRA’s Interesting, Some Say “Shocking”, 2018 Board Member Election

Opinion

NRA Board Election Ballot Vote
NRA's Interesting, Some Say “Shocking”, 2018 Board Member Election

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- The results of the NRA's most recent Board of Directors election are interesting from top to bottom.

The bad news for most of our readers is that unfortunately Adam Kraut didn't win a seat. There is still a chance he could win the 76th Director seat, which will be voted on at the Annual Meeting in Dallas though.

So if you are planning to attend the Annual Meeting and Exhibits, be sure to find the voting booth and cast your ballot for Adam.

At the top of the ticket was Ronnie Barrett garnering the most votes, which is no surprise at all. Barrett is a rock star in the gun world thanks to his .50 BMG rifles and other innovations. What was a surprise was newcomer Carrie Lightfoot coming in second, beating out long-serving director Wayne Anthony Ross who landed the third place position. Ross has been on the NRA Board since 1980, with only a year or two off in the early '90s. Fourth place went to another industry rock star, Duane Liptak, Executive Vice President of Magpul Industries. And world champion action shooter Julie Golob rounded out the top five.

NRA voters historically have an affinity for movie stars, politicians, industry executives, incumbents, and minorities – particularly women. They also seem to give added weight to candidates from Alaska over other states, so Barrett, Liptak, and Ross all fit expectations, and while it's no surprise that Lightfoot and Golob won seats, it is a surprise that they finished in the top five, especially the second-place finish for Lightfoot. It is very unusual for any newcomer to NRA elections to place so high in the voting unless they are a pretty well-known celebrity of some sort. While Carrie is something of a celebrity within her own circles, having founded The Well Armed Woman, with 363 chapters in 49 states, and some 10,500 individual members, a majority of those members probably aren't voting members of the NRA, so her high finish is a bit of a shocker. Then again, having 10,00 women rooting for you, even if they can't vote, has to help. Julie's top-five finish is also within reasonable expectations, though still somewhat surprising. She's pretty well known, and is a frequent contributor, guest, or subject in various firearms media. Her status as an Army veteran doesn't hurt either.

I was very tempted to endorse both Lightfoot and Golob, but felt they had a good chance of winning seats on their own, and wanted to focus my energy on trying to get Adam Kraut elected.

Rifle Shooter Alice Bull
Rifle Shooter Alice Bull

Women have been an important and steadily growing segment of the NRA Board since 1949 when champion rifle shooter Alice Bull was first elected. She served on the Board until her death in 1988, and led the way for the many female directors who followed her over the years, including two Presidents, and the current Second Vice President.

In all, 8 women were elected or reelected to the Board this year, which is pretty “progressive” for a stodgy, good ol' boys club.

And while that 30% representation for women is worth talking about, the real news in this election was the men who didn't, or almost didn't make the cut, including two recent past presidents who finished 25th and 26th, along with two other long-time Directors in the 23rd and 24th positions, and four more incumbents who failed to make the cut.

It's not unusual to see one or maybe two incumbents bumped off the board by newcomers, but to have four incumbents fail to make the cut – actually five when you realize that the 26th seat only came open after the election, with the untimely passing of Director R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey in April – hasn't happened since the current establishment quit publishing “Don't Vote For” lists to purge Neal Knox supporters from the Board.

This year's NRA board election results represent a quiet earthquake that probably has some of the establishment bosses looking over their shoulders.

But for the passing of the Gunny, Past President Ron Schmeitz would be off the Board, and his successor in the presidency, David Keene, would have barely earned a seat. While Schmeitz was not a high-profile president, Keene has been a very visible political player, both in and out of the NRA. Before moving up in the chairs at NRA, Keene was the Chairman of the American Conservative Union, host of the annual CPAC conference in Washington, and later was the Opinion Editor of the Washington Times. For him to trail in and barely win a seat is pretty embarrassing.

In positions 23 and 24 were incumbents David Coy and Joel Friedman, who have both been on the Board for about 20 years. Down in the also-rans were incumbents Herb Lanford, John Cushman, Grover Norquist, and Robert Wos. Lanford was first elected in 1986 – 32 years ago – and has held a seat almost every year since. Cushman has been on the Board since 1993, and this is the second year in a row that he has failed to make the cut.

Last year he beat Adam Kraut by 60-some votes at the Annual Meeting in Atlanta to win a 1-year seat.

Norquist has been an NRA Director for 18 years. He is a political insider who survived a recall effort two years ago, prompting the Board to push through a bylaw change to make recalls virtually impossible to pull off. Wos has served the shortest time of any of the losing incumbents, having been on the Board for only 15 years.

Some on and off the Board are placing the blame for the shake-up on NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. These insiders, who spoke on background, say that he has been loading “loyalists” onto the Board to guarantee his ability to pick his successor. My sources say that Wayne has insisted that the Nominating Committee include extra nominees to make it harder on the incumbents.

The problem with this theory is that the Board has long been loaded with “loyalists” who simply let Wayne have his way. Even though the Board is supposed to set policy and lay down guidance for Wayne and the other (ridiculously well-paid) staff, the fact is that decisions at NRA come down from the executive offices to the Board, and the Board rubber-stamps whatever they are told to. Wayne knows that his job is secure, but the members of the Board have no such security. They come up for reelection every three years, and they know that all it takes is a word from Wayne, and they won't be invited back.

It really is irritating and disappointing to see a Board of Directors with such stellar credentials and experience being herded and manipulated the way this board is, and failing to serve the members who elected them. From last year's bylaw amendments, which the Board unanimously approved, to the election of Carolyn Meadows – a wealthy Republican insider who has been on the NRA Board since 2003 – as Second Vice President, the Board receives instructions and follows them. Any questions or disagreements are only raised in hushed tones in back hallways. Any open challenge, or even hard question, is met with the suggestion that loyalty is lacking and that the Board needs to trust the staff.

That's not the way things are supposed to work.

LaPierre has made some serious missteps of late, on top of many other fumbles over the years, but no one on the Board is willing to challenge him or even criticize him in an open session. That's a serious problem. Maybe one of the new Board members will finally raise their voices and declare that the emperor has no clothes. Perhaps then some of the rest of the Board will wake from their stupor, recognize that truth, and begin acting like the strong, independent-minded people depicted in their election biographies. Maybe, but I'm not holding my breath.


Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

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.org.

  • 32 thoughts on “NRA’s Interesting, Some Say “Shocking”, 2018 Board Member Election

    1. Folks, it’s just this division that we’re seeing in this topic that will cause us to lose!! The anti-gun coalition is completely united in their messaging and branding. I haven’t heard of one anti-gun group complaining about another – they’re focused like a laser, 1st on the NRA and then the rest of.us. We need to get together, put aside petty differences and create a solid message.

      How do we do that?
      1) Stop the nonsensical bickering

      2) Encourage the major pro-gun organizations (NRA, SAF, GOA, etc) to get their acts together and come up with a uniform PR, political and legislative strategy

      3) Most importantly: WE NEED VOTERS TO BE ON OUR SIDE, AND THE TIME IS SHORT! We need to work together and put aside differences to get out the vote, convince the uninformed citizenry that we are NOT their enemy and that they shouldn’t fear law abiding gun owners!

      4) If and when SCOTUS determines that the 2A is an individual right for self defense outside the home, then we can go back to bitching and moaning about one group over another. But until then, we’d better stick together or we’ll lose!

    2. I voted for Julie golob as she had fresh ideas. She was not endorsed by Marion hammer. Enough said. Good old boys club with one good old woman. Yes, she is no longer on the board but still a potent voice and lobbyist here in Florida. As a long time life member, we better change with the times. I am not saying give in on anything but with the infighting and the nra’s being so despised by the left, we need an internal shake up but mostly programs to make guns appear as more of a sport and fun to those who don’t understand. Go Julie!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. @Bill s, no need to quit or even slow down because Larry Bickerly says so. He represents all that is wrong with the left … poorly thought out ideas and shutting down debate, among them.
            I am hoping, also, that Adam Kraut get elected one of these times.

    3. Fudds ruin everything. They tried ruining my gun club by trying (unsuccessfully) to limit semi autos. Unfortunately they had some success with a full auto ban. They try to ruin the NRA by saying to the media ” I’m a gun owner and an NRA member and I support banning Semi autos, magazines, etc.” They are a menace to gun rights.

    4. I voted for Adam Kraut, as well as Duane Liptak and Tim Knight, because we’ve had enough of the fudds throwing us under the bus.

    5. So, if I got this straight, all the NRA bashers here would have counseled the recently (since Parkland) joined HALF MILLION new members to the NRA to have NOT joined? Yeah, spitting up in the air to spite your own face has always been such a smart strategy; – NOT!!
      By far and large, what’s left of the 2A is attributable to the NRA’s existence, and what’s gone from it is attributable to the MORONIC electorate that is more interested in [DEMOCRAT sponsored] free ‘chyt’ than free’dom.’

      1. And exactly how do you come to that conclusion? Just because someone points out deficiencies, weak points and where an organization has gone off the tracks, over the course of 30 or so years, from its original mission statement, doesn’t mean you abandon it. I’ve counseled, many times, along with Jeff Knox, how this occurred and what we need to do to bring the NRA/ILA back to its original stated goals of not only no more gun control but NO gun control period.

        Those who do advocate leaving or not joining are wrong. However, it is simply financially prudent not to give one cent more than basic dues when the bulk of that excess given goes to a company (Ackerman-McQween) that does nothing in the furtherance of the RKBA.

    6. i am a life member and i voted. i also support many gun rights organizations with my wallet, however the nra except for whittington center will get no more money from me untill the organization is returned to the members and stops supporting lapierre’s lavish life style. he has turned into a goat for the left and is not worth 10%of what he is paid. maybe i am getting too old to put up with all the bullshit, but as a disabled vietnam vet i have earned the right.

      1. Give us specific, factual proof of his ‘lavish lifestyle’ and then I will believe you. Until then you are just blowing smoke (aka BS) which you have ZERO right to, Vietnam vet or not. Nice try; no cigar.

        1. You might not want to go there: Over $1 million salary plus benefits plus $3,000 a month expenses plus 7 series BMW plus a lot of other perks. Around the halls of ILA he’s known as “the ghost” because he’s never there. Enough?

          1. The NRA needs to return to the hands of the members. How the current board of the NRA handled the gun parts ban issue is just a gauge of how the NRA is doing. And there needs to be a semblance of fairness in the way board members are elected or recalled.
            I am closing my wallet and bullet voting against incumbents.

    7. The kind of division we’re seeing in the above posts is one of the problems that we need to overcome! The anti-gun Left is united in their messaging, their demands, their finances, and their organizing ability. In other words they speak with one voice and are quite convincing to the uninformed. Our side, on the other hand, can’t even agree on what, if anything, we’re willing to negotiate (Note: The term is “negotiate”, not “cave”) and WHO will speak for us.

      Right now we’re coming across like a bunch of heartless people who care more about our guns than the safety of our children. You and I know this is a false perception, but one that is being well established by the Left, and we’re making it easy for them to do that. And when it comes to votes, PERCEPTION = REALITY!! Instead, we need to make a convincing argument that we are a caring group of people; that we want our children to be safe in school, or in the mall, or theaters, etc., just like they do. (And yes, I’m aware of the ‘slippery slope’ but it’s an area that we’ll need to navigate wisely until SCOTUS ultimately makes their determination).

      The only way to do this is for our national organizations to get their acts together and come up with a plan, speak with one voice, and then we need to support that plan! For instance, two organizations that come to mind are the NRA and the SAF:

      – The NRA, love them or hate them, have had a potent effect on legislation throughout the country for many years.
      And because of their sheer size, their get-out-the-vote machine is very good. We need to influence and optimize their message and then rally behind them.

      – The Second Amendment Foundation has been critical in obtaining pro-gun court decisions, and that’s really the key because this will all ultimately be decided by SCOTUS. The SAF must be substantially supported in their efforts.

      There certainly are other groups that have value. But the bottom line is that if we keep complaining and in-fighting, we’re gonna lose this! (And, for what it’s worth, the upcoming mid-term elections are incredibly critical!!) To win it, we’ll need the support of non-gun owners to support our candidates – and that means acting like intelligent adults rather than a bunch of guys running around in camo jackets with scary looking rifles acting like they want to overthrow the government! (It may feel good, but it will accomplish very little – I’d rather win the war than a feel-good battle!!)

      Also, for the first time in our history, it looks like an effort to repeal the 2nd Amendment is starting to gain some serious steam – and we can only stop it if we’re united because, ultimately, it all comes down to winning hearts and minds!

      Thanks for listening!

      1. Jeff, you are the reason we are losing fights with the anti-gun communist democrat. Your willingness to “negotiate”.
        There is NO negotiation with the enemy.

        1. Look, the Left is running a brilliant campaign against us, and we’re either too dumb or too blind to see it! They are on an all-out indoctrination campaign to sway young people (future voters) as well as politicians toward their view, and they expect a multi-generational campaign to end in their favor – and they certainly have the money and the resources to pull it off!. Actually, they’re using many of the same tactics that the LGBT community has used, and you can see how successful that’s been!

          And don’t think for one second that repeal of the 2nd Amendment is off the table! As preposterous as that sounds today, could anyone have imagined 30 or 40 years ago that LGBT would be codified and protected as an “alternative” lifestyle)? Or that our society is on a slow march toward Socialism? It’s not a stretch to see the same fate for the 2nd Amendment; and probably it wouldn’t even take that long given the general sense of fear due to senseless killings.

          So what do you think is the best way to counter this indoctrination “war”? If our basic response is “screw you because the Constitution says I have the inalienable right to my guns” then we’re gonna lose.

          So how about sharing some positive strategies.

      2. I’m with you jejj. I wrote a recent post on here was told to quit. Geez. N wonder so many people hate the NRA. Nice post.

        1. @Bill S, Never mind that dolt that told you to quit. He is a typical homosocialist democrat, and no one likes him very much. As to positive strategies, I suggest … FUN. Hunting, trap, skeet, 3-gun, IPSC, contests, and tournaments are only the beginning.
          There are more gun games than ever before. Think up a new gun game. Get your group (e.g. Lions, Elks, Rotary, etc) to host a gun game at the local range. Add hot dog, hamburger, and barbecue vendors, and the prizes are free food tickets to the various vendors.
          We have a game in Texas. Three dollars per target. Three shots only, standing unsupported. Best group wins half the money from that stick. So 15 shooters pay $3 ea. One contestant will have the best three shot group, and win half the money. The group sponsoring the shoot gets the other half of the money from that line. Didn’t I see a machine-gun fun shoot in Iowa? Invite your local “not corrupted yet” political hopefuls to attend. Use your vets and NRA range people for safety people and first aid station
          Fun, gentlemen, fun will be our secret weapon. The fascists never have fun, can not tolerate others having fun, and can not overcome people having fun.

    8. It should be fairly obvious, especially to long-time members, that the paid ‘leadership’ has been in office – and in D.C. – too long, and that certain members of the board are, or have become, their puppets. It should also be glaringly obvious that said ‘leadership’ is in dire need of a dictionary, as they don’t seem to be aware of the difference between ‘compromise’ and ‘concession’ – for decades, they have been complicit in restricting our rights and getting nothing in return…but unless and until we replace them, and come up with a plan (and the backbone to execute it) to reverse the process, the best we can hope for under the current regime is to slow that erosion of our rights.

      Thanks for taking point on informing those who’ll listen, Jeff.

    9. Here is a real inside the NRA confidential fact! Less than 60,000 members of over 2+ million who are eligible to vote and who receive the ballot actually vote in these board elections–same people vote each year confidential statistics show. Several of the board members (celebrities, etc.-who do support the NRA) get elected to the board for NRA and personal PR reasons–we recognize their name and vote for them–they never go to the board meetings. And some who will appear at the NRA convention get paid BIG bucks to show up and meet and greet members, etc.

    10. I am a life member of the NRA and a member of The Well Armed Woman – I am a voting member of the NRA and I voted for Carrie Lightfoot. I don’t understand when you say that most members of TWAW wouldn’t be voting members of the NRA. Why not?

    11. As long as Wayne LaPierre is King in charge, I will not join. It is HIS organization and he runs it as he sees fit and makes millions from it and lives a life of luxury on membership dues while only half-assed defending gun rights of members.

      1. That’s a crappy cop out,”OH its Wayne the King, I hate him. There for I woun’t stand with 5 million other gun owners to defend my God given rights”. You are like a lot of cheap skates, and you just make up excuses and let others carry the load for you. You should take it upon yourself to support the NRA, but you want to be able to coach from the side lines. IN my book you are an ANTI GUNNER! Join in $$$, or STFU!

      2. “In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”
        ― Mark Twain

        Do me a favor, stay OUT of our 2A foxhole. Don’t need ya!

    12. The NRA has, like the rest of Washington Swamp, become corrupt. The management of the NRA and their permanent bureaucracy are more interested in maintaining and growing their own personal wealth, their power and maintaining the status quo. The NRA still needs a thorough house cleaning just as Neal Knox called for so many years ago.
      There is no benefit to compromising with the gun grabbers, ammunition taxers or the other false fronts of the American totalitarian Left. INALIENABLE and SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED are simple and absolute in their meaning and intent.

    13. I think the election resembles the political arena. We are tired of the same ole same ole crap being dished out by the leadership. Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox did a LOT of damage to the NRA with their ban bump fire stocks stance. Hopefully they will be replaced soon. And a lot of the NRA’s picks in elections is wrong and stupid.
      Life Member of the NRA for over a decade.

      1. Sounds like CNN or NBC reporting ?
        So who was fighting he Bump Stocks in New York State ?

        Perhaps defending the attachment wasn’t as important as
        Defending our Firearms and Right o gave them ?

    14. Vote with your wallet. I’m a life member of the NRA, but lately have been focusing more on the Second Amendment Foundation.

      1. All well and good supporting GOA but folks should also consider supporting Jeff and The Firearms Coalition. He does all this work and people don’t realize he doesn’t get paid by anyone! Contributions can help keep his group going.

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