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Day 1 of NRA Board committee meetings September 2022
Back in Tysons Corner VA
I forgot my hearing aids, so please excuse any errors as I may not have heard accurately…
Before I get into the meeting, I heard that the lawsuit between the NRA and Under Wild Sky’s trial got started on Monday. I understand that Woody Phillips actually provided testimony beyond taking the 5th. Hopefully the indispensable NRAinDanger blog will follow this trial and provide updates.
After a 3+ hour drive and fighting through the beltway rush hour traffic and following Waze’s frequent route changes, I made it to the Hyatt for the meetings.
As usual, the committee meetings started with the ByLaws and Resolutions committee chaired by Carol Frampton. The meeting was well attended with directors, Cotton, Lee, Coy, Craig, Freedman, Bach, Swartz, and Journey and Secretary Frazer present.
The first order of business was a request from the executive committee to amend the by-laws to remove the language permitting exceptions to the 5 year membership requirement, the so called “Heston Rule” in Article 4, Section 2. President Cotton noted that the 5 year rule was implemented to block anti-gunners from trying to buy their way onto the board. He said that the only waivers granted were for then currently sitting directors who would not have been eligible for renomination. I recall at a 2019 or 2020 board meeting the board approving Mark Robinson as a candidate under this provision. After much discussion, and since this item is not time sensitive, the item was deferred to the January committee meeting. John Frazer was asked to do additional research for how to handle another “Heston/Moses” situation.
The committee then took up the members resolution from the annual meeting regarding pistol braces, bump stocks, frames and receivers and red flag laws. The resolution directed the NRA to file suit against these issues. The committee discussed that this is a management issue and that it is unnecessary as there is already being addressed through ongoing litigation on these matters. Also the soonest this could be put on the ballot for a vote by the members would be for the 2024 election cycle. The committee then discussed how to communicate back to members on the disposition of resolutions. No clear decision on how to communicate was reached.
The committee also discussed a resolution for Bill Bower (sp?)
As usual, the committee went into recess to be recalled if any items come up before the board meeting on Saturday.
The next meeting was Clubs and Associations chaired By Herb Lanford. This was also well attended, with management attending Debergalis, Frazer, Ouimet, Halbrook, and directors Heil, Freedman, Lee, Cotton, Coy, Beck, King, Swartz, Craig, Hiltunen, Hammond, Vaughn, Rumple, Carter, Nyce, Ellis, Walker, Miller, and Vaughn.
Dave Halbrook reviewed the association update. 9 state associations applied for grants this year, this is up from 4 in 2019. Kansas launched a successful branded license plate program that has funded an executive director position for their state association. Pennsylvania is starting to move out of the 19th century and get online instead of being paper based. Mississippi lost their association with the death of their leader. Mark Vaughn was elected director of the Oklahoma association and is starting to revitalize that association. Other that Mississipi being defunct, there are associations in all other states and Puerto Rico. The guidelines for state associations date back to 1981 (they need to be modernized…..)
Freedman reported that no new awards were awarded at this time. King reported that grants of $16,372 were awarded this year.
The representative of Lockton reported on insurance coverage. The transition away from Lloyds completed on May 31. The decision to end the NRA coverage was a decision of the Lloyds board of directors. The program was profitable for the underwriters. The new insurer IEP (sp?) is an A rated insurer and handles all coverage lines. Note that the free Arms Care firearms insurance program has ended for all members. Coverage is still available, but at a cost.
The Lockton insurance is available everywhere except NY. Clubs are renewing their insurance at the same frequency as before the switch from Lloyds. There is a small price increase in the general liability premiums to cover the increased costs from litigation over lawsuits against retailers for selling firearms used in crimes. Currently there are 10,322 clubs and associations using the coverage.
The community engagement report was next. There were 98 NRA days so far this year (only 50 last year). Eddie Eagle presented to 112,000 kids so far this year. There were 213 Refuse to be a Victim seminars for 164,000 students. There are 6,000 Refuse to be a Victim instructors. Hunter Education has 16,000 students so far this year from the 16 participating states. Alabama is coming on shortly as is the native American Fish and Wildlife group representing over 200 tribes. Youth Hunter program ran 32 events with 3,859 participants. hunters for the hungry program provided $60,000 in grants to food processors for donated game that is sent to homeless shelters. The Range Services book was updated in 2021 and is available. 83 students took the online course so far this year. The NRA Public Range fund provided 4 grants totaling $85,000 this year.
After lunch the committee discussed creating an association mentoring program to help grow membership (first time I heard anything about growing membership since I’ve been coming to these meetings). Other than family, clubs are the greatest source of new members and members that consistently renew membership. The associations will get a survey later this year asking them to identify their top 2 capabilities and the results will be discussed at the January meeting. The mentoring program will be refined based on those results and the January discussion.
I skipped the Foundation Committee meeting as it has gone into executive session after calling the roll the last three times I attended and it conflicted with the Youth meeting.
The last meeting of the day was the Youth Committee chaired by Patricia Clark. This was also well attended, with management attending Debergalis, Howard, and Simon, and directors Nyce, Ellis, Swartz, Fleeman, Rumple, and Journey. Joe Debergalis noted that they are still short staffed and that much of the work is being done by the feew staff they have and volunteers. The NRA is starting to work with USA Clays with their 44,000 student athletes. There are active discussions with the CMP as well. John Howard reported that the NRA is back working with USA SHooting for youth programs and that the new online shotgun coach program is developing assistant coaches.
There was extended conversations about the challenges of youth programs in California and New York as thise programs are effectively shut down until there is action on the lawsuits to stay those new laws. As an example, all of the Boy Scout shooting programs in New York are shut down. The committee discussed that engaging with the youth programs are a source of members and that the Anti-firearms groups are trying to cut off the youth from experience with firearms and subsequently to cut off youth from joining firearms rights groups. Family and scouts are a major source of NRA members. Hearing the Board talk about growing membership is long overdue!
Aother challenge for the youth programs is getting enough volunteers. Rising inflation and the cost of fuel are blocking many volunteers having the resources to support programs with their in person and on location time.
The endowment that is youth specific has a balance of $141,114. Funding for 2023 shold be the same as 2022, but the volatility in the market will likely reduce the funds available for 2024
The Committee then reviewed the submissions for the youth awards. I stepped out at that point.
That’s all for today. Back again tomorrow.