Posted: 2/28/2001 5:58:27 PM EDT
Ok. My March 2001 American Rifleman magazine contained the ballot for this year's selection of NRA directors. Reading the "point" - "counterpoint" between Mr. Neal Knox and Mr. Charlton Heston was enlightening, more so than in years past.
Mr. Knox's proposed amendment "calls for one director per state, elected by mail ballot of Life and other voting members from within his or her state; plus 24 directors elected "at large."
"Patterned after the U.S. Constitution, it assures both geographic representation (like the U.S. Senate) and high-population representation (like the U.S. House)."
To which Mr. Heston offered the following rebuttal: "This is not about democracy - that's a smoke screen. It's about self-interest, pure and simple. That's why NRA's Board of Directors voted unanimously against this amendment.
It would mandate that directors come one each from 50 states instead of all NRA members voting nationally for the best choices regardless of residence. This is yet another self-serving Bylaw Amendment that would throw out NRA's current election procedures and install a scheme to Mr. Knox's fancy."
Last time I checked, we elect precisely two U.S. Senators from each of the 50 states, regardless of population density. So, what is wrong with selecting one Director from each state, plus 24 "at-large" directors as proposed by Mr. Knox?
This year, a total of 64 nominees were presented to the 10 member NRA nominating committee. Of the 64 nominated, the committee threw out 34. That's 34 who never made it to the general membership ballots.
Of the 30 candidates "approved" by the nomination committee, we will elect 25.
In simple terms, the NRA national membership will, in effect, "vote against" a mere 5 nominees. The nominating committee, in effect, "voted in" 83% of this year's directors - 25 out of a pool of 30.
Some choice the general membership has. Voting "against" only 5 nominees. The balance, or some 59, were decided by the NRA nominating committee alone.
So yes, I will vote for the Knox amendment. Because I agree with Mr. Knox's statement - " NRA can never be damaged by representing its members."
The breakdown of the current slate of 30 nomineees, by home state, is below. Also noted is which candidate was carried by said home state.
Alabama - 1 - Bush
Alaska - 1 - Bush
Arizona - 1 - Bush
California - 4 - Gore
Florida - 1 - Bush
Georgia - 1 - Bush
Iowa - 1 - Gore
Illinois - 2 - Gore
Idaho - 1 - Bush
Kansas - 1 - Bush
Maine - 1 - Gore
Massachusetts - 1 - Gore
Michigan - 3 - Gore
Missouri - 1 - Bush
New Jersey - 1 - Gore
Oklahoma - 1 - Bush
Pennsylvania - 1 - Gore
Texas - 5 - Bush
Utah - 1 - Bush
Virginia - 1 - Bush
Very illustrative. Look at Illinois, Michigan, and California. Al Gore carried all 3 states, and yet we have 2, 3 and 4 nominees who reside in each state?
Mr. Heston, Mr. LaPierre and company, I am an active competitor and 8 year member of the NRA. Each year I have basically voted in sync with the recommendations put forth by the board of directors. However, this year, I will not follow suit. There is nothing wrong with our current U.S. senate election procedure, and I see no wrong in what Mr. Knox advocates.
Fellow AR-15 posters, feel free to post your comment and or opinion. I rest my case.
I live in rural Michigan, so here's my take on this state. The only reason that Sore carried MI was because of the liberal people in the population centers, ie. Detroit, etc. Also, the unions decided to back Sore too. I've got no idea why either. The rural areas did not vote for the DemocRATs. The problem is, big cities are hard to overcome when it comes to voting. Why else would Billary want to get rid of the Electoral College? The thing that I can't figure out is this, why are you painting all of MI with a broad brush? Hunting is a VERY big business in this state. SamC NRA Endowment Member
Sam C, the focus is not the NRA members of any one state. The focus is to realize just what effect the rank and file NRA members have in electing directors.
I am located in Louisiana, a state which voted for Bush last November. However, none of the 30 candidates are from Louisiana. So in my view, why the heck should California, which went for Gore, get 4 candidates on the ballot?
By blasting Mr. Knox's proposed amendment to adopt an election procedure based in part on our U.S. Senate election procedure, Mr. Heston in effect blasted the procedure of how we elect U.S Senators. Not too smart, in my opinion.
The fact of life for rank and file NRA members such as myself, is that we will collectively vote a mere 5 candidates "off the island". The 10 member NRA nominating committee has already voted 34 candidates "off the island", in trimming the candidate list from 64 to 30.
No wonder the member vote participation is so low. 25 of the current list of 30 have a "slam-dunk" seat on the board, courtesy of the 10 member nominating committee. Kinda like voting in Russia, with only 1 candidate on the ballot.
Let's see: 30/25 = 1.2 candidates to choose from, with 1 getting elected. Some choice.
If anything, the more aware members are of the election process, the better the chance for meaningful change.
I personally plan on voting for both bylaw amendments simply because they make sense. I haven't agreed with Neal Knox's opinions in the past as for what to vote for and against in the NRA elections, and I suspect we'll have divergent viewpoints in the future. In this election, though, I think he's right on both bylaw amendments.
There is a difference between the NRA board and the U.S.Congress.
We need equal representation protection in the congress because congress has the ultimate authority to use force on us. They can tax us, shoot us, decalare laws that effect our lives and possessions.
NRA has no such authority over its membership. We need to be free to elect the most effective leadership, even if they all live in the same state or even the same city. NRA is an association based in ideals; we should have a commonality of interest which transcends locale. This is not true of the states and districts represented in the congress where there are competing factions and interests. Certain interests in the congress are bound to location.
Furthermore, NRA is a corporation. I have not seen any corporate bylaws in which shareholder votes are apportioned by state or district. And that is a key difference. Corporations do, or at least should, elect the most effective board they can to achieve their goals.
To apportion votes by state or district guarantees conflict within the board. Certainly the representatives from an occupied state (from a gun rights standpoint) like New York will have a different take on an issue than the representatives from a free state like Georgia. For example, what difference does the Brady Law make to some who lives in DC? They are screwed regardless. So we need a board that looks at the big picture in balance rather than attending to local interests. Otherwise, the board might factionalize -- and divided we fall.
I opposed the amendments.
AmmaGunNut, I don't care what state the NRA Directors come from, as long as they are qualified to do the job. Are we to vote for someone just because they live, or don't live, in a certain state? That would be ridiculous, to say the least. Perhaps, you should suggest to Ted Nugent that he should move to LA. The place of residence has very little to do with being on the NRA Board of Directors. Furthermore, this has nothing at all to do with a national presidential election. SamC NRA Endowment Member