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Individuals wanting to see some change at the top of the NRA after months of media reports related to the organization’s finances and the relationship with their main PR firm were probably hopeful that these would be addressed by the Board during their meeting after the close of the just completed 148th Annual Meeting and Exhibits in Indianapolis .  We likely won’t find out what happened in the Board Meeting beyond what we already know, that Wayne LaPierre was unanimously reelected to his position as CEO and there is a new NRA President, longtime board member Carolyn Meadows.  Charles Cotton replaced Richard Childress as 1st Vice President and Virginian and Virginia Shooting Sports Association member Willes Lee was elected 2nd Vice President.  Almost the entire nine and a half hour meeting was held in closed session.  The public and NRA Members are not likely to know what transpired during that time because notes are not taken in meetings held in closed session.  I sit on two boards, the VSSA Board and my daughter’s school board and I previously held a position on a board of a Virginia public university.  All that is placed in the minutes related to things discussed in executive session are things like “the board went into closed session to discuss a personnel issue(s)” or similar matter.  For a complete run down on what transpired yesterday, I recommend Stephen Gutowski‘s Free Beacon article.

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The Richmond Times Dispatch had this Op/Ed by Lori Haas, the Virginia director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and mother of a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech Shooting.  In the opinion piece, she says that Virginia Republicans have lost every state wide election since 2009 because they refuse to consider gun control, and that the NRA isn’t the legislative force that it used to be:

I’ve watched year after year as members of the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee have routinely ignored the pleas of gun violence survivors and prevention advocates by defeating popular, commonsense gun reform proposals.

It has become a disgusting and ludicrous ritual: the public pleads for change, subcommittee chairman Tommy Wright holds a moment of silence, and then the bill is defeated without further debate.

But the political landscape is changing. It’s been a long while since a National Rifle Association (NRA)-endorsed candidate has won a statewide election in Virginia.

In fact, by the time the commonwealth’s Senate and House of Delegates elections are held next year, it will have been a decade since an NRA-backed statewide candidate in Virginia has given a victory speech.

This is a dramatic shift — especially in the NRA’s home state. But it’s not necessarily surprising; Virginians are sick and tired of daily gun violence in their communities. The majority of Americans — including most gun owners — support stronger gun laws. It’s the people versus the NRA, and the people are winning.

While the gun lobby’s influence is withering, the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement in Virginia is stronger than it has ever been.

 

She goes on to detail that three pro-gun U.S. Representatives were defeated by women who were loud gun control supporters.  While I only saw the ads in one of the districts (VA 7th), other than Jennifer Wexton in the 10th, who had a long history of supporting gun control in the General Assembly, I don’t know that simply talking about it on your web site qualifies as being loud supporters.  Yes, they were all supported by the gun control groups but there were no gun control ads run for or by Abigail Spanberger in the 7th District and believe me, and I saw a lot of Spanberger ads during the campaign.

Yes, the demographics of Virginia are changing.  That just means that pro-rights supporters need to be proactive in our efforts to reach out to those folks and be smarter about our advocacy.  It doesn’t mean that we abandon the most effective pro-rights organization in the country.

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Remember back in 2014 when Bloomberg promised to spend $25 million in the mid-term elections to defeat pro-rights candidates and push gun bans?  The NRA responded with a campaign of its own:

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Well, Bloomberg is back again with another promise to spend $25 million to defeat National Concealed Carry Reciprocity.  Politico has the story here:

Everytown for Gun Safety, founded and funded by the billionaire former New York City mayor, is hiring several new top staffers and turning much of its attention to state legislatures, while moving to a defensive posture in Washington as it tries to stop what’s known as “concealed carry reciprocity” from becoming law. That will include starting to score Congressional votes, like the NRA does, to guide spending decisions more directly.

Don’t be surprised to see Bloomberg get involved in Virginia’s state-wide elections this year.  In 2015, Bloomberg spent over $3 million on two state senate races, winning one and losing the other, trying to switch the Virginia Senate to an anti-rights majority.  With current Governor Terry McAuliffe having vetoed every substantive piece of pro-rights legislation over the last four years, Bloomberg is likely to spend heavily to keep the Virginia Governor’s office in the hands of an anti-rights occupant.

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Wayne LaPierre has just released a new video message on NRATV titled, “NRA: Donald Trump’s Strongest Ally.” In it, the NRA Executive Vice President and CEO discusses how gun owners and patriots defied the media and their elitists friends to send Donald J. Trump to the White House. “This election was a grassroots rejection of the elite class that wants to rule America. And the only organization that has fought that fight without apology is the National Rifle Association of America,” LaPierre says. He also notes that “But the time for celebration is over. Our moment to make history begins now … Already, the forces that conspired to keep Donald Trump out of the White House are coming together to sabotage his administration.”

LaPierre then calls upon “the tens of millions of patriots all over this country who stood by our side in defense of Donald Trump—to stand by our side once more.” LaPierre states that “Our time is now,” and asks freedom loving Americans to stand with the NRA to help Donald J. Trump “put a pro-2nd Amendment majority on the Supreme Court,” among other things. “Together, we will truly make America great again,” LaPierre says.  Supporters are asked to share the video using #OurTimeisNow.

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In this election, not just the White House is at stake.  We must keep the House and the Senate to stop an assault on our rights.  NRA reminds us that Freedom Runs in Every Race.

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To protect our rights, we need every gun owner engaged in this year’s election.

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