Why Save NRA? Why Now?

Phillip B. Journey

Restore the NRA was created to give NRA members the means to stem the flow of NRA’s reputation, assets and programs from going down the drain.

It was created to provide a means to address the courts with cases involving the NRA — to raise the funds to pay legal expenses resulting from efforts to save and restore the NRA. Our efforts during the NRA bankruptcy, requesting the Court appoint an independent examiner, were cut short when the New York Attorney General won her motion to dismiss the NRA bankruptcy.

If we had succeeded getting the order appointing an examiner, NRA’s executive leadership would have been removed from office. At the time of the bankruptcy hearing, we were drafting the reorganization plan. That plan called for the NRA to be operated by a small committee of members vetted and approved by the Court. It would have required the oversight of a “Special Master,” appointed by the Court of the Management Committee.

So, Why Now?

The Committee would be tasked several goals. It would:
– Act as a Search Committee for executive and management talent.
– Review all contracts in force at the time of appointment.
– Review and rewrite the corporate governance structure; simplify and clarify the bylaws; restore access to be on the Board of Director’s ballot by petition, with a reasonable signature requirement and a fixed number of signatures; restore the Board of Directors’ oversight; and require staff to respond to direction and supply information.
– Train staff, Board members and officers in the law, the bylaws of the association and their proper application to situations likely to present themselves to the leadership.
– Seek financial restitution for the benefit of the membership and punish those who have misappropriated NRA assets.
– Assess the true state of NRA operations, determine shortcomings and rectify them.
– Complete an inventory of NRA Assets, especially in the National Firearms Museum.
– Begin the process of addressing decades of neglect at the NRA HQ in Fairfax, VA.

Time flies. After dismissal of the bankruptcy, it took time to regroup. While a deviation of the original plan after the New York Attorney General sued NRA, the diversion to attempt restoration of NRA in the bankruptcy case presented an opportunity to address the panorama of wrongdoing inside NRA. It also would have been much faster than proceeding through the New York civil courts. The other requirement that mandated my entry into the bankruptcy case was the set of ethics rules I must follow as a sitting judge.

When a fraud perpetrated on any court is known by a judge, it must be reported. When an attorney violates his or her own ethics rules, it must be reported (I am still working on those ethics complaints). The failure of NRA counsel, Wayne LaPierre, and the three presidents to inform the Board of the plan to file bankruptcy — after months of preparation and, then, a week after that Board meeting, filing the bankruptcy with a sworn statement that the bankruptcy was approved by the Board of Directors — was an act of fraud and perjury. Deceiving the Board to approve creation of the Special Litigation Committee, and not revealing why it was created, was a lie of omission. According to press reports, senior NRA staff and counsel spent the annual dues of 400,000 members trying to escape the clutches of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit with their harebrained legal strategy. After the bankruptcy ended with an Order of Dismissal due to it being filed in bad faith, it was time to regroup, go back to my day job, and determine the best path to take from there.

The efforts of Frank Taite and Rocky Marshall to intervene in the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit also needed to be taken into consideration. I wanted to give them a clean shot at becoming active litigants in that case. I did not want to hurt their chances in any way. Sadly, they came up short. I could not enter into their attorney’s contract, as presented, due to its provisions that I believe would have violated the rules for judges.

Why Ever?

Many — too many — believe NRA is not worth saving; that the sins of executive management warrant such, and they assume other organizations would pick up the slack. One thing I observed watching this case unfold is that many individuals believe they should be Wayne LaPierre’s successor. I have no such desire. I also observed that while many wish to have NRA’s money and political power, no one wants to take up the mantle of things like competitions, youth programs, and many other responsibilities that NRA shoulders, or at least used to. Others don’t want those tasks because they are “loss leaders.” They are NRA’s core missions. They are the things that never make the news. They are the things the future of shooting sports is completely dependent upon.

Every day that passes is an opportunity lost and NRA’s financial condition deteriorates further. While Judge Cohen in Manhattan, NY dismissed the New York Attorney General’s plea to dissolve NRA so she can’t keep her campaign promise to destroy the NRA, she can get there by other means. If she ignores her statutory duty to protect the membership’s interest and, as she has requested, gets to choose the Special Master, she can intentionally choose someone to run it into the ground, then go back to the judge and say she tried and keep her promise. After all, who would donate to an NRA run by an anti-2nd Amendment politician.

I believe this is the last exit for the NRA Board of Directors. After watching the 12-day bankruptcy hearing, I have come to the realization that the New York Attorney General will meet her burden of proof in the New York court. If the Board does not choose LTC West to be the next EVP, I believe the court will choose Wayne LaPierre’s replacement for them. Re-electing Wayne LaPierre on Monday will prove to the court that this Board is wholly captured by Wayne LaPierre and will be disbanded by the Court.

The truth is, if you care about shooting sports, I need your help.

If you care about youth and beginners’ programs, I need your help.

If you care about our heritage, the national matches or your state association, I need your help.

If you want to preserve our 2nd Amendment rights, you must help.

If you know a better or less expensive way to accomplish the goal of restoring the NRA, I am all ears.

If NRA falls, many other things we all care about will begin to fall like dominoes. We cannot allow that to happen.


— Phillip B. Journey