About those VNRA membership numbers

[Vichy] NRA Memberships Bounce Back In 2018
The report, which was handed out during the group’s latest annual meeting, shows dues went from $128,209,303 in 2017 to $170,391,374 in 2018—an increase of $42,182,071, or 33 percent. It also shows contributions rose from $132,879,299 in 2017 to $165,075,288 in 2018—an increase of $32,195,989 or 24 percent. The rise in dues came ahead of the NRA announcing it had reached 5.5 million members, a record number.

Just as a thought exercise, let’s pretend that all those memberships were $45 annuals.

170,391,374 / 45 = 3,786,474.97

Maybe someone familiar with financial reporting can help me out here. Do multi-year (and life) membership dues paid up front get reported in full for the year in which the money was received, or is it “amortized” over the membership period for reporting purposes?

I’m trying to reconcile that dues number with the claim of 5.5 million members. There could be another 1.8 million members who made their payments in a previous year.

I do find it interesting that my 3.7 million figure matches the 3.7 million magazine subscribers found by Mother Jones.

‘Twould be nice if the VNRA simply issued a report of member totals broken down by type, and how many opted not to take a magazine subscription.

VNRA’s “Intern”

LaPierre seemingly had Ack-Mac paying $4,500 a month in rent for his “intern’s” apartment.

Forty-five hundred bucks. Per month.

First, offhand I can’t recall seeing an internship that provided a free apartment. And did Allen declare that $13,804.84 payment in-kind in her tax filings?

Second, that rent seemed high to me but I don’t know what Fairfax rents are like. So I looked up The Ridgewood II by Windsor. Nice place. The listed rents run from $1,710 (1BR, 1BA) to $3,460 (3BR, 2BA) per month.

For the mathematically challenged, the rent billed to Ack-Mac, and passed on to the NRA to be covered by gullible members, was $1,040 more than the highest rent listed for the place. (There are larger apartments for which you have to “call for rent.)

Not a bad deal for a summer “intern.”

megan-allen
Nice intern if you can afford her. Oh, wait. VNRA MEMBERS paid for her.

Rehabilitating the NRA?

Since I have previously made my opinion on the Vichy NRA pretty clear, I was reluctant to weigh in on the latest controversy. Two columns finally prompted me to speak up.

The starting point for all this — just in case you haven’t kept up — was Mike Spies’ report on the NRA’s financial woes. It appears to confirm many things people have warned of for decades.

Jeff Knox spoke up on the matter.

NRA’s Dirty Laundry Exposed as Pro-Gun Group Cleans House
While the NRA is a powerful communication tool between rights supporters and their elected servants and losing that central conduit would be a significant blow, it would only be a temporary setback.

Mr. Knox focuses on the apparent corruption. He’s overlooking a major point which Mark Walters touches on.

To NRA or Not to NRA
I have disagreed with the NRA many, many times over the years over many issues and no doubt I will in the future. In fact, I nearly tossed my membership a few years back when the NRA here in the state of GA refused to support the GeorgiaCarry.org effort to remove the 140-year-old ban on carrying firearms at a “public gathering.”
[…]
I’ve seen far too many posts on social media, which to me is a joke anyway, from chatroom warriors that are calling for the destruction of the NRA.

Both columns are worth reading in full, but the snippets I quoted are my point of contention.

If the VNRA BOD finally gets off its collective ass and cleans up the financial corruption, it is entirely possible to save the organization. They should not save it.

Yes, I am one of those calling for the end of the VNRA, because financial fraud is the least of the problems. That can be fixed by firing the appropriate people, suing to recover funds, and — I strongly suspect — criminally charging a few.

The real problem is how that “powerful communication tool” and money have been used.

Mr. Walters finally noticed the problem when the NRA wouldn’t help with Georgia SB308. For him, that wasn’t quite enough to make him quit, possibly because it was largely passive inaction by the organization. OK, sometimes one must pick and choose where to dedicate one’s resources. Judgement call; I’d be with Walters on this one. But what Walters didn’t notice until nine years ago is something I’ve been about for decades.

The real issue with the VNRA isn’t corruption or not doing enough to push rights. The problem is what the group actively does to violate rights. NFA ’34, GCA ’68, FOPA ’86. Everyone knows those. It shows how long the rot has existed.

They tried to keep HELLER from going to SCOTUS. They actively killed constitutional carry legislation in New Hampshire. They wrote an “assault weapon” ban in Ohio. They sabotaged an RKBA/free speech case in NH.

I could go on, but let’s skip ahead to 2017, when the VNRA called for the ATF to regulate bump-fire stocks as NFA items because they make semi-autos work like machineguns. (And despite their weasel-worded defense, I haven’t seen a single court challenge from them.)

Then there’s the VNRA’s support for no-due process ex parte protective orders.

Yes, the VNRA is politically powerful. But they aren’t using that power to advance rights. They push gun control. And then they fundraise for cash to “fight” what they imposed on us.

Arguably, the last thing the VNRA did for gun owners was sunsetting the national waiting period… by saddling us with an ineffective NICS which violates the rights of millions of innocent people while still passing thousands of prohibited persons. And making us pay for the “privilege.”

The Vichy National Rifle Association is inherently anti-gun. It sacrificed rights for political power and money a long time ago. That’s what it does. Forcing it to transparently and honestly spend gun owners’ money to violate their rights isn’t “fixing” anything.

For decades, I called on the group to change its ways, and really work for our rights. I made very specific suggestions (and never, ever once received any reply from anyone at any level). Quite a few election cycles later, it hasn’t improved. It got worse.

If reformers haven’t managed to “repair” the VNRA by now, after decades of trying, they aren’t going to succeed now. Many gun owners have an emotional attachment to the idea of the NRA, but it’s time to admit that ideal is gone.

It’s time to pull the plug.

ATF: Volitional vs. Nonvolitional Movement

As we have seen, the ATF, in ruling bump-fire stocks to be machineguns, explained that fingers are triggers, and it’s a machinegun if the finger isn’t moved volitionally. Some folks are confused, because they assumed that the volitional — and coordinated — movement of the off arm to cause the trigger firearm thingamajiggy to engage the finger trigger should count.

No prob. The PhDs in Anatomy and Physiology at the ATF have that covered: It’s only volitional when we say it is.

Thus, as explained in federal court to a science-challenged impaired… oh, hell… fucking idiot judge who bought it:

Volitional Movement

 

Not Volitional Movement

When you get down to it, it ain’t much more of a stretch than the shoestring machinegun.

Thanks, VNRA.

Semi-Auto vs. Full-Auto

Lunatics and liars — i.e.- federal attorneys and judges — matter-of-factly state that fingers are triggers, and the only difference between a machinegun and a semi-auto is whether the finger is moved volitionally.

Some people don’t quite grasp that, so allow me to illustrate.

Under the new definition, this is a semi-automatic trigger group.

finger moving volitionally

And this is a fully automatic trigger group.

finger not moving volitionally

I expect the ATF to kick in my door over that NFA finger any time now.

Thanks, VNRA.

Should you be confused why the volitional movement of the off arm doesn’t count, the ATF has that covered.

VNRA Inventing New Members? Again?

Oh, joy. The Vichy NRA is playing games with membership numbers again.

NRA is back, ‘highest ever’ membership
The National Rifle Association has recovered from a membership drop after President Trump’s 2016 election and is now at the highest levels ever in its history.

New figures put the membership at approximately 5.5 million.

Uh huh. Right. Post-Parkland, the VNRA claimed they had reached nearly 6 million. After commenting closed on the bump-fire ban NPRM, the VNRA claimed they were “up” to 5.5 million. In an informal poll after that 40% said they were “done with the NRA” and would revoke their memberships.

At a point when the VNRA was claiming 5 million, magazine circulation numbers suggested a mere 3.7 million.

And then the VNRA angered more people over it support of ex parte “red flag” laws. We’re to believe that they saw an increase (for some definitions of “increase”) after screwing over gun owners? Gun owners who said they’re tired of the Lairds of Fairfax exercising droit du seigneur over us?

Bump-Fire Ban: Protecting Yourself

With the “bump stocks = machineguns” ban now in effect, folks are looking for legal cover. For instance, the Virgina Citizens Defense League has suggested:

1. One of the other groups fighting the ban, the Firearms Policy Foundation, got the DC Circuit Court to apply a stay to their members only. The good news is that you can join the Firearms Policy Foundation for as little as $1 and be covered by their blanket stay.

Some points about that:

  1. The stay order referred to ‘current’ members. That may limit it to those were already members at the time the order was issued. Frankly, the court would have to clarify that.
  2. There is some case law that limits groups extending memberships. If you had donated/joined prior to this, you may be covered. But still don’t count on it.
  3. Whether a member or not Firearms Policy Coalition is working their asses off on your behalf. Donate. They’re trying to protect you, member or not.

While I am pessimistic about the outcome, the Guedes et al case (along with several others) are far from over. The latest unfavorable decision from the SCOTUS was only about a stay pending a preliminary injunction pending an actual ruling on the merits of the case. Either way the ruling eventually goes, it is likely to be appealed by our side or the government.

In short, there’s still a long battle to fight. I know FPC is willing to take this to the Supreme Court, if necessary, but that takes a lot of work from attorneys who need to be paid (attorneys need to eat and pay bills, too). Without you and me kicking in, their resources will be strained.

DONATE TO FPC NOW 

You can also help by spreading the word. Or maybe you have useful research skills. Let them know you’re willing to help. Because you are, right?

For your rights?

FPC is helping you. Help them to do that.

And if the VNRA asks your help… just remember those bastards caused this.