Update: 06/09/2020 NRA has a semi-official announcement of the location and date found here: NRA's 149th Annual Meeting of Members rescheduled in Missouri
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- A letter sent out on NRA Whittington Center letterhead, indicates that, as I had predicted, the NRA Annual Meeting of Members will indeed be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled, September Board of Directors meeting. What is unexpected is the location discussed in the letter – Springfield, Missouri.
The Whittington Center is a beautiful range facility NRA built in New Mexico. The letter, dated May 28, 2020, told recipients that the NRA Annual Meeting, which had been put off due to COVID-19, has been scheduled for September 5. 2020, in Springfield, MO, with a Board of Directors meeting on the following Monday, the 7th, which happens to be Labor Day.
The main purpose of the letter was to explain that a previously scheduled event for the Whittington Center, is going to be rescheduled for early October, due to its original date conflicting with the new date for the NRA Annual Meeting.
No official announcements about the new meeting plans have come out of NRA HQ so far. There is nothing about the meetings on the NRA website and there has been nothing in the Official Journal, so consider this information a very solid rumor, rather than a confirmed fact.
Under the NRA Charter and Bylaws, a Members’ Meeting must be held every year before November 30. 2020.
There are also requirements regarding proper notice. Under the Bylaws, notice of the Members’ Meeting must be published in the Official Journal (the NRA business section inside each of the NRA’s magazines) in two consecutive editions prior to the meeting date. Since the lead time for the magazines is usually about 2 months, and the magazine dated for the next month usually comes out early in the month prior, that leaves NRA with few options for making the required announcements. This being the beginning of June, the July edition of the magazine would normally be hitting members’ mail boxes any day now. But it looks like some, and maybe all of the NRA magazines are combining July and August editions, with magazines going out in the third week of June. That narrows NRA’s window even more. If an official announcement about the meeting is not included in a regular July edition, then NRA could be in breach of their obligation under the bylaws if they don’t have announcements in the August and September issues. That would be cutting things mighty thin, and might not meet the legal requirement. We’ll find out soon.
In the meantime, I sent the following note to NRA Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer on Tuesday, June 2:
I'm sending this as an open letter and plan to publish it, along with your reply, if one is forthcoming in a timely fashion.
I saw the Whittington Center letter stating that the Annual Meeting of Members will be held in Springfield, MO on September 5, with a Board meeting following on the 7th.
Can you confirm that this information is correct?
If this information is correct, can you provide some more detail? For instance the venue, times, and information about any concurrent events?
I'd also be interested in any information you could provide me regarding the rationale for this choice of locations, as opposed to holding the meetings in Northern Virginia, close to NRA HQ and the support staff, and whether this choice originated with the Board or with staff, but I don't want to bog you down with too many questions, so please share whatever you are able to.
I assume that more information will be forthcoming in the July or August edition of the Official Journal, but I would think that getting accurate information out to members as early as possible, would be in the best interest of the Association and its members.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I did get a quick reply back from Secretary Frazer asking me when I was hoping to publish. I responded that I wanted to go to press within a day or two, but have not heard anything since then. I held back publishing this article in hopes of a reply, but can’t wait any longer. If I do hear back from the NRA, I will add a note to this piece.
A friend checked with the Springfield, MO convention and visitors bureau and was told that no deal has been signed with the NRA yet, just a proposal. I also checked with some members of the NRA Board of Directors and they had no knowledge of the meeting being even tentatively scheduled.
It should be noted that the Bylaws stipulate that the Annual Meeting of Members shall be held “at such time and place as determined by the Board of Directors.” If I’m informing Directors of plans for a meeting in Springfield, MO, it’s a pretty safe bet those Directors didn’t participate in the decision to hold the meeting there. Just one more example of the Board allowing staff to lead them, rather than the other way around.
It’s also worth noting that the NRA has taken over the Shooting Illustrated Concealed Carry Expo, which happens to be being held in Dallas over the same weekend that they’re talking about holding the Members’ Meeting in Missouri. Seems like they’d get a better turnout and be able to do more special, fundraising side-events in conjunction with the Dallas event. Didn’t I read somewhere that money is an issue at NRA these days?
The news might change in a few days, but for now, I’ve started shopping for airline tickets and accommodations in Springfield, and I hope many of you will do the same. Just don’t do the non-refundable kind. While the members at an NRA Annual Meeting wield little direct power, we do potentially have enough power to influence the Board to take needed action. If possible, plan to be there for the Members’ Meeting on Saturday and stay through the Monday Board meeting. The Board is supposed to represent the members and the staff is supposed to follow the instructions of the Board. It’s past time for that mode to be put back in place. Get some friends together and plan a road trip, whether to Springfield, Dallas, or DC. Share travel and room costs. Participate in trying to save our Association.
Stay tuned to AmmoLand News and www.FirearmsCoalition.org for updates and other 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.