Recent weeks have seen an unusual and highly public airing of dirty laundry from the National Rifle Association (NRA). While staunch supporters of the Second Amendment have known for decades that the NRA isn’t really a principled defender of the right to bear arms, that realization is only slowly beginning to trickle out to the masses of NRA members. In fact, it’s actually leftists who believe that the NRA is a hardcore gun rights organization, as they constantly state in their attacks on the organization. Those who actually support the Second Amendment understand that the NRA doesn’t take the Second Amendment seriously and is only too willing to compromise.
Cracks in the NRA’s public facade came about recently with the NRA’s lawsuit against its long-time PR firm, Oklahoma-based Ackerman McQueen. Ackerman McQueen, or Ack-Mac, is the force behind much of the NRA’s recent success and its public image. The company guided NRA’s public relations efforts and created the image of the NRA and its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, as committed defenders of the Second Amendment.
But as those who have followed the saga between the NRA and Ack-Mac know, that was merely an illusion intended to part gullible and uninformed gun owners from their hard-earned money. Ack-Mac created a public image of the NRA as the defender of the Second Amendment that was calculated to bring in millions of dollars in fundraising every year to enrich top NRA executives and their families. Much of that money flowed to Ack-Mac too, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars per year.
Now the NRA has filed suit against Ack-Mac, claiming that the company failed to provide properly detailed invoices to NRA and failed to allow NRA to inspect Ack-Mac’s financial records to ensure that the payments made to Ack-Mac were legitimate and proper.
Former NRA President Oliver North attempted to oust LaPierre at NRA’s most recent national meeting, accusing him of financial impropriety. And while there is every indication that LaPierre may in fact be guilty of that charge, North is also an employee of Ack-Mac, leading to charges that he was leading an internal coup on the part of Ack-Mac to keep the money flowing.
LaPierre fought off the attempt to oust him, and rumors have circulated that NRA has cut off its relationship with Ack-Mac. The whole sordid affair is playing itself out in public, with details trickling out into public discussion. Even the New York Attorney General is looking into NRA’s finances, as the organization has been chartered in New York since its founding in the 19th century. If the allegations of financial impropriety are substantiated, NRA could face severe penalties at the very least, and disbanding at the worst.
The financial hit from fines could put the NRA out of business, and a formal disbanding due to illegal activities would show the NRA to be nothing more than a paper tiger, an organization that exists today more to fund itself and keep donations flowing than to actually engage in any firearms education or defending of gun rights.
It’s clear to anyone who has read about the saga that the NRA is facing severe difficulties and that without a wholesale cleansing of leadership at the top that the organization faces an uncertain future. The organization could be a force for good, but in order for that to happen the membership needs to wake up and hold NRA leadership accountable for both its financial misdeeds and its recent moves to compromise on the right to bear arms.
Image: Gage Skidmore