Newsletter: Board Member Suggests Trump Jr Could Take Over NRA

We have an exclusive story to start this week’s newsletter off.

But, before I get to that, a quick reminder that we’ve got our 3rd Anniversary Sale going on. Take advantage today and get 20 percent off a membership!

Alright, back to the kind of reporting that makes The Reload worth funding.

The NRA’s recent turmoil has left it leaderless. Well, we’ve obtained an email from one board member who says a high profile political figure is interested in taking over: Donald Trump Jr.

We also got new gun action from the Supreme Court. It agreed to take up the case against ATF’s “ghost gun” ban. I explain some of the strong signs that point to where the Court might be headed in that case.

Speaking of the NRA, we have updated political fundraising numbers, and they aren’t great for the gun-rights movement. Gun-control groups have once again outraised the NRA and all the other pro-gun groups combined.

Kostas Moros is back with another analysis piece, too. This time, he explains why some of the arguments Illinois has made in defense of its AR-15 ban could provoke the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to it. After that, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman reasons through whether a new report finding hundreds of millions of “large capacity” magazines are in circulation will have a real effect in court.

Plus, data analyst Jeff Asher joins the podcast to examine the continued downturn in murder and mass shootings.


NRA Headquarters
NRA Headquarters / Stephen Gutowski

Trump Jr Interested in Running NRA, Board Member Says
By Stephen Gutowski

As the NRA searches for new leadership in the wake of Wayne LaPierre’s resignation, one board member suggests a big-name replacement: Donald Trump Jr.

After longtime leader Wayne LaPierre announced his resignation, Bill Bachenberg emailed his fellow NRA board members to suggest fixes for some of the group’s problems. One of those problems is who could fill LaPierre’s shoes. Bachenberg, a prominent Pennsylvania Trump supporter who has been accused of trying to fabricate evidence Joe Biden stole the 2020 election and helped arrange a Trump 2024 rally earlier this month, told the other board member’s Trump’s eldest son has previously expressed interest in a leadership role at the NRA. He offered to pitch Jr. on stepping into LaPierre’s place.

“A couple of years back Don Trump Jr contacted me if NRA was looking for a National Spokesperson, he saw the need,” Bachenberg wrote in a February 26th email obtained by The Reload. “He did preface, ‘I don’t want to deal with any of the operational bullshit.’ I’m not sure what he would say today, but when the time is right I can ask him if he might be interested if requested by the board.”

Click here to read more.


The façade of the United States Supreme Court
The façade of the United States Supreme Court / Stephen Gutowski

Supreme Court Takes Up Biden ‘Ghost Gun’ Case
By Stephen Gutowski

The nation’s highest court will decide if the ATF exceeded its power by trying to ban the sale of unfinished firearms parts.

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced it would take up Vanderstok v Garland. That case challenges the ATF’s rule against so-called “ghost guns,” which the agency adopted at the behest of President Joe Biden. A three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found the rule “contrary to law” and ruled against the agency in October.

Now, the Supreme Court will have the ultimate say in whether the rule can stand.

Click here to read more.


Polymer 80 unfinished gun frames on sale at the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
Polymer 80 unfinished gun frames on sale at the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Where Will SCOTUS Come Down on ‘Ghost Guns’? [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

The Supreme Court is set to consider a challenge to the ATF’s unfinished frames and receivers rule, and there are some clues as to how they might rule.

On Monday, the Court agreed to take up Vanderstok v. Garland. The case centers on whether the ATF overstepped its authority by significantly expanding its interpretation of what constitutes a “firearm” under federal law. The outcome will determine the viability of selling unfinished parts, such as “80 percent” AR-15 lowers, without a federal gun dealing license. It will likely have a major impact on the homemade gun market that commonly uses those precursor parts.

The Court’s decision to grant cert is the result of a government appeal against the ruling of a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lower court sided with gun-rights plaintiffs and found the rule was likely “unlawful.”

Taking up a case that went in favor of the gun-rights litigants could be a sign that the Court wants to reverse that lower court decision.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access!


Former President Donald Trump speaks at the 2024 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the 2024 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Gun-Control Groups Outraise NRA, Gun-Rights Movement in March
By Jake Fogleman

The country’s largest gun rights group continues to fall behind its ideological opponents in political fundraising in 2024, new federal records show.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (PVF), the group’s political action committee, raised just under $660,000 in March, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. The group’s super PAC raised an additional $25,000 last month. Meanwhile, the political fundraising arms of the country’s three major gun control groups together raised more than $880,000 over the same 30 days.

Click here to read the rest.


AR-15s on display at SHOT Show 2024 in Las Vegas
AR-15s on display at SHOT Show 2024 in Las Vegas / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Illinois Tempts Fate in SCOTUS Defense of AR-15 Ban
By Kostas Moros

Illinois may have just increased the odds the Supreme Court takes up an “assault weapons” ban case sooner than later.

Predicting when the Supreme Court will grant certiorari is generally a fool’s errand, as most petitions for review are ultimately denied. When it comes to appeals from preliminary injunction rulings especially, the high court tends to be loath to get involved because it prefers to wait for final judgments and circuit splits. Those are the tough circumstances facing the several Second Amendment-related cert petitions currently pending before the Court, and no one should be surprised if all are ultimately denied until they come back up with final judgments.

However, some recent arguments raised in the legal fight over an Illinois AR-15 ban may tempt the Court to intervene.

Click here to read the full analysis.


Podcast: Crime Data Analyst Jeff Asher Explains 2024’s Murder and Mass Shooting Decline
By Stephen Gutowski

The murder rate is falling again, and mass shootings have been absent so far this year.

This is good news, but it’s also a bit confusing. Why is the murder rate dropping after several years of increasing? Is the same effect happening with mass shootings? Does the data show the two are connected?

That’s why we’ve got data analyst Jeff Asher back on the show. He runs AH Datalytics and collects his own crime statistics.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the episode is available on our YouTube channel.

Plus, on this week’s news update, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss Maine’s new waiting period and background check laws, a new Iowa Bill allowing armed teachers, and an update on Colorado’s push to ban “assault weapons.” We also cover a new industry study showing the popularity of so-called large-capacity magazines, and why the government of Washington D.C. just settled its lawsuit against the NRA. Audio is available here. Video is available here.


Ammo magazines on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting
Ammo magazines on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting

Analysis: Will Ammo Magazine Report Move the Needle in Court? [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

A new industry study provides clear evidence that magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds are ubiquitous in the United States. Whether that finding affects magazine ban lawsuits moving forward is less clear.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released its Detachable Magazine Report last week. Using more than 30 years of ATF research and manufacturer survey data, it estimated 963.7 million rifle and pistol magazines entered the commercial firearms market between 1990 and 2021. Of those, 717.9 million, or 74 percent, were found to have a capacity of 11 or more rounds.

“The data establishes that law-abiding gun owners overwhelming choose magazines that have a capacity to hold more than ten rounds for lawful purposes including self-defense, target shooting and hunting,” Larry Keane, NSSF’s General Counsel, said of the report.

The report’s findings, and Keane’s comments, take direct aim at the legal fight over bans on those magazines.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this piece and hundreds of others!


Outside The Reload

Supreme Court Commissioner: WA’s high-capacity magazine ban staying in place | The Center Square | By Brett Davis

Gun rights group begins legislative push for permitless carry in NC | NC Newsline | By Clayton Henkel

Tennessee passes bill to let teachers carry guns | The Tennessean | By Melissa Brown

Tennessee Governor signs bill preventing credit card codes for gun sales | The Center Square | By Jon Styf

Why haven’t blue states rushed to join Newsom’s call for constitutional amendment on guns? | The Mercury News | By John Woolfolk

White House launches emergency response protocol for mass shootings | Politico | By Myah Ward

Iowa Governor Signs Bill Outlawing Use of Merchant Category Codes for Gun, Ammo Sales | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

Hundreds notified their NM concealed carry licenses are no good | ABQ Journal | By Colleen Heild


That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear expert analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get our exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Thanks,
Stephen Gutowski
Founder
The Reload

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