Sunday, May 07, 2023

NRA Annual Meeting, 2023: Thousands Line up to hear President Trump, Knife Rights Helps Out

NRA Annual Meeting, 2023, thousands line up to hear President Trump at Leadership Conference. 

You may have heard: The NRA leadership is in the middle of significant legal problems. It appears to be true, with severely biased, politically motivated prosecutors, going after the NRA. An obvious reason is:  the NRA has been a very effective political organization.  It has also been a very effective fundraising organization. Many believe the funds have not been spent wisely.

The NRA leadership has not helped with what appear to be significant favoritism, cutting legal corners, lack of transparency, and a reluctance to allow any but a tiny few see the books on who gets what for what. The lack of transparency is like a red flag to motivated prosecutors, and those who believe unethical shenanigans have been ongoing.

The good news is the strength of the NRA has never been in its leadership. The leadership of the organization had to be dragged into the political fight, kicking and screaming.  It has always been ready to cut a deal. Cutting deals is sometimes required. Many believe the deals cut could have been much better for the NRA membership.  Neal Knox, one of the most effective leaders this correspondent has ever known, was driven from the organization because he criticized the deals which were made. Unfortunately, Neal died in 2005.

The strength of the NRA has always been:

  • First: the upwards of a hundred million U.S. Citizens and residents who see the NRA as a champion fighting for their natural, Second Amendment guaranteed, rights.
  • Second: the probably 5- 20 million members who identify as NRA members, and have had official status as a member, some time in the last 60 years.
  • Third: the organizational roots and bureaucracy to develop and administer training programs on gun safety and gun use to tens of millions of students.
  • Fourth: The NRA as a media instrument to aid the gun culture in keeping and spreading the traditions and methods of Gun Culture (versions I and II) in the USA and abroad.
  • Fifth: the NRA, using the Institute for Legislative Action, as a lobbyist for rights protected by the  Second Amendment, the Constitution, the rule of law, and the Gun Culture.

These strengths were on display at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in April of 2023. As this correspondent approached the Indianapolis Convention Center, an hour earlier than anything was supposed to be open, the lines were already long at the fifty yards of registration counter. Tens of thousands of attendees are expected.

Later, thousands of people were in line, waiting for hours to be processed through the limited jurisdiction of the Secret Service, to attend the Leadership Forum, scheduled for 2 PM. There was only space for 3,000 attendees. Processing of attendees took a long time because everyone was screened for potential weapons. Knowing the animus which exists for President Trump, it is an absolutely essential precaution.

Knowing that people often forget they are carrying a well used pocket knife, often with considerable monetary and/or sentimental value, Knife Rights started a program several years ago, partnering with the NRA, to have a Knife Check. At the Knife Check, people can check their items instead of wasting hours in line, only to face a Hobson's choice: give up your valuable property, or lose your place in line!

A credible source who demanded anonymity, told me at the last NRA meeting, nearly 2000 items were checked with an attendance of about 3000 at the Leadership Forum.

This year, it appeared the NRA ran the knife check, with assistance from Knife Rights.

Knives and guns can be openly carried at the Indianapolis NRA annual meeting. In this limited space of the Leadership Forum, for a limited period, Second Amendment rights were superseded by the need for physical security of a former president and presidential candidate. There is a long tradition of this sort of extremely time and space limited sort of sensitive area in United States history, particularly in courts, legislatures, and military controlled areas.  Private venues, of course, can insist on this sort of exclusion as well.

The NRA is a national institution. It is revered by tens of millions. Given the right leadership, it can regain the confidence of the gun culture, and become the powerful rights-protecting Second Amendment advocate demanded by the times.

In times of great stress, leaders sometimes rise to fill the need. It can happen.



 ©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The NRA caved in 1968. Since then they have pandered to the powers.