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Controversy points to value of NRA director transparency, gun owner involvement

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Heated divisions among activist gun owners have surfaced with a December 2 announcement on Facebook by Brandon Webb, a former SEAL and author, that he is considering running for the National Rifle Association Board of Directors. Webb’s statement and reactions to it were noticed by The Patriot Perspective, which took him to task for, among other things, his assertion that the NRA was “not willing to compromise and create gun legislation that makes sense.”

The continued back-and-forth between Webb and his critics has become increasingly acrimonious, as the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog exhibited in a Sunday post and Monday follow-up.

For his part, Webb, writing on the SOFREP website, disputed the conclusions some were drawing.

“Some think that I’m automatically talking about Americans giving up their right to keep and bear arms, and 2nd Amendment compromise,” he protested. “They couldn’t be more wrong.

“I’ll be happy to address more specific questions when I go forward with a petition to get on the 2012 board ballot,” Webb advised readers of his blog, presumably meaning “2015.” But what he included under the heading “A snap shot perspective of my views on gun ownership & the 2nd Amendment” may be specific enough for some voting NRA members, especially advocates of “shall not be infringed.” Follow that link to read them.

That said, Webb has already done more to specifically nail down his positions than most current NRA Board members, particularly those given a boost by the powerful Nominating Committee, which typically only provides a brief and general biographical statement to include gun-related background information that often focuses more on sporting and training achievements than on rights. This column has been advocating for years that greater transparency on the selection and voting process is needed to determine exactly where a candidate stands on the right to keep and bear arms, and designed a questionnaire to elicit specific nominee responses, where any avoidance, weasel-wording and equivocation would be readily detectable, as would pledges broken at a later date.

Unfortunately, gun owner interest in finding out such information is practically nonexistent, as is the interest of the vast majority of NRA members in determining who leads the Association.

“It is an embarrassment that the greatest political action organization in the country generally gets participation from only about seven percent of their members eligible to vote, but that’s the case,” Jeff Knox of The Firearms Coalition has observed.

What this means is Board members can continue enjoying virtually no accountability to the membership for even something as basic as their understanding of the Purposes and Objectives of the Association. Those are set down in NRA Bylaws, especially in the prime directive “To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States especially with reference to the inalienable right of the individual American citizen guaranteed by such Constitution to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of, and enjoy the right to use arms in order that the people may always be in a position to exercise their legitimate individual rights of self-preservation and defense of family, person, and property, as well as to serve effectively in the appropriate militia for the common defense of the Republic and the individual liberty of its citizens.”

Agree or disagree with Webb’s opinions, support or reject his speculative candidacy if and when he makes it official, gun owners would be better served if all NRA Directors were so open about where they stand, and importantly, so accessible to receiving communications and so committed to providing feedback. That is, assuming they’re interested in learning such information and engaged enough to actually do something constructive with it.

Most clearly are not, to the peril of us all, and that’s the real story here.

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When it comes to gun laws, the antis love them so much they’d like to make a patchwork quilt out of them. The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Preemptive Strike.”

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