Liberty, Arizona, USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- In a surprise move, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre sent a notice to the NRA Board of Directors today, announcing that the Association is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to reorganize the Association in the state of Texas, abandoning its almost 150 year charter in New York.
The announcement came in the form of an email from NRA Secretary John Frazer, addressed to the members of the NRA Board of Directors and the Executive Council.
That in itself would seem problematic, since such a major decision about the NRA and its future, should have been made by the Board of Directors, not the paid staff, but the court filing in Texas answers that concern, to some degree. Apparently, the NRA Board passed a resolution during their meeting on January 7, reconfirming that EVP LaPierre has the authority to “exercise corporate authority in furtherance of the mission and interests of the NRA, including … to reorganize or restructure the affairs of the Association.”
There was also a vote at the January Board meeting, formalizing the creation of a Special Litigation Committee consisting of Carolyn Meadows (NRA President), Charles Cotton (First Vice President), and Willis Lee (Second Vice President), and authorizing that committee to hold “corporate authority” in regards to any matter involving the legal cases of NY v. NRA, Washington DC v. NRA Foundation, and NRA v. Letitia James.
So, with those two votes at the January Board meeting – one of which was apparently done in Executive Session, behind closed doors – the Board of Directors abdicated their authority and responsibility, by delegating it directly to LaPierre and the three top officers of the Board.
I have to wonder how many of the Directors who voted on those two resolutions, had any idea that they were giving so much power and authority to these four people?
It’s clear that plans for all of this were being worked on for at least the past couple of months, and perhaps there was some private conversation among Directors about making this move, but there was no mention of the idea during the Members’ Meeting in Tucson in November, nor in the Board meeting that followed the Members’ Meeting, nor in the Board meeting a couple of weeks ago.
While I have no doubt that the majority of the current Board would have gone along with whatever plan LaPierre and the other officers presented to them, I think it’s pretty sketchy that LaPierre and company would make this move without any formal vote of the Board on the matter. After all, filing bankruptcy, even just for purposes of reorganization, isn’t an insignificant thing. In fact, it’s one of the most significant actions the NRA has taken in decades, yet there was no formal discussion, much less a vote by the Board. And there certainly wasn’t any discussion with the Members.
Along with moving the charter from New York to Texas, it looks like LaPierre is also planning to move some of the NRA’s operations from Virginia to Texas.
Remember that moving the charter has no impact on the physical operations of the Association. The NRA has been incorporated in New York since its inception, but its operations have been in the Washington, DC area for decades. It might make sense for the Association to move some operations to Texas, where the cost of living is lower and recruitment would be easier, but the location of their corporate charter has no bearing on that at all, raising the question of why LaPierre is trying to incorporate a physical move into the effort to move the corporate charter. Perhaps he’s hoping to finally get that mansion on the lake outside of Dallas that he claimed he wasn’t trying to get NRA to buy for him, even though the Association paid $70k toward the purchase of it, and there were decorating notes from Susan LaPierre… We’ll see.
One thing we don’t have to wait to find out is whether attorney William Brewer – who is based in Dallas – is going to make even more money with this move. We’re actually informed in the court filing that Brewer Attorneys and Counselors will be representing NRA on all matters beyond the actual bankruptcy case.
In his announcement to the Board, LaPierre stressed that this bankruptcy filing is not based on any financial troubles, but is just a tool for reorganization.
He reassures the Board that NRA is financially sound and not having any money troubles. That’s probably true. Gun owners are pretty worried right now, thanks to the results of the 2020 elections, and when gun owners get worried, many of them tend to express their concern in checks to the NRA.
There’s a possibility that this move and reorganization of the NRA could result in some positive opportunities for those of us who have been calling for reform within the organization. Unfortunately, any opportunity it might create for us will also be opportunities for others, like LaPierre, Brewer, and Cotton, to solidify their power and make true reform even more difficult.
I’m sure I’ll be having many conversations with attorneys in the coming weeks, looking at ways to prevent any further abuse of the Association, and try to make the leadership more accountable to the Membership. I’ll keep you posted as to what I find. In the meantime, I encourage you to ask Directors whether they knew this was happening, and why they would turn over their responsibility to LaPierre, Cotton, and company.
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 a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.