Newsletter: NRA Drama Intensifies Ahead of Group’s Annual Meeting

The NRA jumped back into the headlines this week.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.) filed her new plan for what to do with the group after her attempt to have them shut down was shut down. Now, she wants Wayne LaPierre and the group’s internal lawyer removed and replaced with court-appointed overseers. She also wants LaPierre and others to repay the NRA for any misused or misdirected funds.

After the AG’s new plan was announced, current and former NRA board members announced their own plan to reform the group. They want to draft Allen West to run against LaPierre in the leadership election at the end of this month. West, who has previously served on the board and is a vocal critic of LaPierre himself, said he’s considering doing exactly that.

The NRA’s first Annual Meeting in three years, which will be held in Houston, Texas starting on May 27th, is shaping up to be another internal showdown.

We also saw the country’s largest ammo maker report huge profits this week (welcome new contributor Ben Marquis to the site with his first piece, by the way). The Georgia gubernatorial election turned back to guns as well when Democrat Stacey Abrams attacked incumbent Republican Brian Kemp over permitless gun-carry.

We’ve got a pair of deep dives from new contributor Konstadinos Moros too. He looks at how the recent murder surge emphasizes how uneven the effects of crime are throughout the country. And he examines what’s happened to Philadelphia’s homicides, justified or otherwise, in the wake of concealed carry permits becoming easier to obtain.

Plus, National African American Gun Association President Philip Smith slams Biden’s ATF shakeup on the podcast.

A placard for CEO Wayne LaPierre at the 2021 NRA Members' Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina
A placard for CEO Wayne LaPierre at the 2021 NRA Members’ Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina / Stephen Gutowski

Allen West Considering NRA Dissidents’ Call to Challenge Wayne LaPierre for CEO Role
By Stephen Gutowski

A group of current and former NRA board members want CEO Wayne LaPierre gone, and they think they may have the man to make it happen: Allen West.

NRA board member Philip Journey joined former board members Bill Dailey and Rockey Marshall in a campaign to draft West to run in the upcoming leadership election. The dissidents, who have been trying to remove LaPierre and reform the NRA since corruption allegations emerged in 2019, hope West can win over the rest of the board. They said the leadership change is necessary to bring the organization back on track as it faces serious legal challenges.

“We need a new leader who will work to resolve the outstanding litigation in New York and the District of Columbia,” Marshall said. “Only then will the NRA be able to effectively serve all members, especially in the crucial upcoming elections, and get the NRA back to serving our members and reaching out to the 7.5 million new gun owners since 2019. We think Allen West is that leader.”

Click here to read the full story.

A sign for the NRA's Great American Outdoor Show
A sign for the NRA’s Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

New York AG Seeks Court-Appointed Overseers for NRA, Removal of Wayne LaPierre
By Jake Fogleman

Fresh off the denial of her request to see the country’s largest gun-rights group dissolved, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.) is back in court seeking new penalties for the organization.

In an amended complaint filed on Monday as part of her ongoing corruption suit against the NRA, James requested that the court appoint both an “independent compliance monitor” and an “independent governance expert” to oversee the group and suggest further reforms. She also reiterated her request to have Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA General Counsel John Frazer removed and permanently barred from serving as officers.

“LaPierre, together with his direct reports, including Defendants Phillips, Frazer and Powell, instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight at the NRA,” James said in the complaint. “They overrode and evaded internal controls to allow themselves, their families, favored board members, employees and vendors to benefit through reimbursed expenses, related party transactions, excess compensation, side deals, and waste of charitable assets without regard to the NRA’s best interests.”

Click here to read more.

The Philadelphia City Hall
The Philadelphia City Hall / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Philadelphia Self-Defense Shootings Rise, Homicides Fall After Concealed Carry Permits Increase [Member Exclusive]
By Konstadinos Moros

In the first few months of the pandemic, many people flocked to gun shops based on concerns that the economic and social upheaval caused by COVID-19 shutdowns would increase crime. Sadly, those fears ended up being justified, as a well-documented surge in murder has swept the nation the past two years.  

According to the FBI, homicides in the United States increased by an astonishing 30 percent from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year increase ever. The FBI has yet to release information for 2021, but we know from data in major cities that while the increase has fortunately slowed, homicide continued its rise in 2021. 

This surge was most pronounced in major cities. Los Angeles, for example, saw 350 people killed in homicides in 2020, a 36 percent increase from 2019. In 2021, that grim figure rose to 397, an additional 13.5% jump from 2020’s already-high total 

Philadelphia, though, is an interesting case study of a city dealing with the same problems Los Angeles is, but with a new pro-gun variable thrown in. To their credit, the Philadelphia police department keeps superb records of their crime data and makes that data public with weekly updates, making the city ideal for tracking changes in murder over time.  

If you’re a Reload member, click here to read the entire piece. If not, check out our membership options today!

Ammo for sale at the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
Ammo for sale at the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Top Ammo Maker Posts Huge Sales Gains
By Ben Marquis

Vista Outdoor, which owns several popular ammunition brands, just announced a massive upswing in sales over the past quarter.

The Minnesota-based company enjoyed more than $3 billion in overall sales over its 2022 fiscal year, according to a Thursday news release. That included $464 million in total ammunition sales in the quarter that ended March 31, as well as $183 million in gross profit during that same span. Those were up 56 percent and 98 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2021.

Vista CEO Chris Metz heralded the continued “record-breaking” financial success of the company. He said the growth was driven by strong performance and high demand despite the “current macroeconomic headwinds” of rising consumer price inflation.

Click here to read more.

Podcast: NAAGA President Philip Smith Criticizes Biden’s ATF Shakeup
By Stephen Gutowski

Philip Smith of the National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) joins the podcast to discuss President Joe Biden’s recent moves to change ATF leadership.

Biden recently picked a second nominee to head the agency. Then he demoted the acting director and replaced him with a third candidate. Smith said NAAGA is unhappy that Marvin Richardson, a Black agent with 33 years of experience, has now been passed over three times for White candidates who are less qualified for the permanent director position.

Smith said Richardson is well-liked by ATF agents and the industry alike. He argued Richardson is a non-partisan with the proper skill set to run the agency in the long term. Smith’s comments were backed up by the Black Agents and Professionals Law Enforcement Association which spoke out in support of Richardson.

Click here to read more.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or watch the podcast on our YouTube channel

A Sig Sauer P365 in an inside the waistband holster
A Sig Sauer P365 in an inside the waistband holster / Stephen Gutowski

Stacey Abrams Slams Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Over Permitless Carry
By Stephen Gutowski

Democrat Stacey Abrams is not happy with the direction Georgia’s gun laws are moving.

On Monday, she attacked the new law removing permitting requirements for qualifying adults to carry concealed guns. Abrams described the new law as a “loophole” that will help criminals. She said Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who signed the policy into law last month, doesn’t care.

“If you support background checks to filter lawful gun owners from those who shouldn’t get lethal weapons, then you oppose Brian Kemp’s criminal carry law,” Abrams tweeted. “Law enforcement understands #CriminalCarry is a dangerous new loophole.”

Click here to continue reading.

Police inspect a crime scene
Police inspect a crime scene / Photo by Campbell Jensen on Unsplash

Analysis: The Shockingly Uneven Distribution of Homicide in the United States [Member Exclusive]
By Konstadinos Moros

By now, everyone is aware that the United States has been going through a crime surge that has dramatically increased homicide in our country. The overall murder rate is at a multi-decade high of 6.9 per 100,000, with around 22,735 murders in 2021. Gun-control advocates have already taken to blaming guns for this increase.

But while nearly every part of the country has seen an uptick in violent crime, what has not changed is that murder in the United States is still not spread out equally. For people who live in most parts of the country that are not dealing with a major violent crime problem, this creates a disconnect between what we hear on the news about the ever more dangerous state of the country and what we actually experience in our day-to-day lives. In that context, calls for more gun control sound not just unwise but like a solution in search of a problem, as gun violence is simply not a statistically significant threat to most of the country.

If you’re a Reload member, click here to read full analysis. Otherwise, please consider joining today to get access.

Outside The Reload

Gun bug: 33 months of 1 million-plus gun sales | Washington Examiner | By Paul Bedard

U.S. judge upholds legality of charging D.C. gun cases in federal court | Washington Post | By Spencer S. Hsu

Biden races to achieve the near-impossible: A permanent point man on guns | Politico | By Marianne Levine, Burgess Everett and Laura Barron-Lopez

Boulder, CO gun ban 2.0 is on the way | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

The NYPD Is Tracking Possible Shooters in a Secret New Database | The Trace | By Chip Brownlee and Ann Givens

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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.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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