NRA Reformers Win Seats on Board of Directors

Townhall Media

When I reached out to Kansas judge Phillip Journey yesterday to see if he could join me on Bearing Arms Cam & Co, my plan was to talk about his involvement in a new federal lawsuit challenging the ATF's revised rule on who is "engaged in the business" of dealing firearms. Journey's a named plaintiff in the litigation brought by 21 Republican AGs, and that litigation was the first order of business during our conversation, but most of the discussion centered around some breaking news that Journey shared with me: his return to the NRA's Board of Directors, along with the election of four other candidates running as reformers. 


Journey says in addition to his own election, Jeff Knox, Rocky Marshall, and Dennis Fusaro were all elected to three-year terms, while current board member and reformer Owen "Buz" Mills won re-election for another three-year term. As John Richardson notes over at Only Guns and Money, the election also resulted in several long-time board members losing their seats. 

There are some real surprises here. First, that two ex-Presidents, David Keene and John Sigler, did not get elected. Second, that Kim Rhode was not elected given her Olympic history and that she was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the State of California. Third, that a sitting officer, David Coy, finished in 22nd place and “Friend of Susan” Janet Nyce in 24th place.

I am not sure why Carolyn Meadows who was too ill to testify in either person or by video in the New York trial finished in the Top 10. It could be name recognition or it could be a sympathy vote. It is my understanding that Wayne Anthony Ross of Alaska is also rather ill.

These results were all one could ask for and more. There were some who won that I’d rather not see on the Board but they are more than balanced out by Phil, Rocky, Buz, Jeff, Rick, and Dennis.


I'm disappointed that Gun Owners Action League executive director Jim Wallace wasn't re-elected, and I hope that he runs for the 76th Board Member seat, which will be chosen during the upcoming NRA Annual Meeting. But as an NRA Benefactor Life Member who's been incredibly frustrated with the troubles that have plagued the NRA over the past five years, I'm also heartened that members elected every one of the candidates on the reform slate of candidates. 

So what's the next step? 

"If we're all standing out in a field by ourselves, we're not going to get much done," Journey told me. "But the pressure from the lawsuit [brought by New York AG Letitia James] is on them, and though I know the judge will not disband the NRA, he very well could dissolve the board or put a special master in charge of us; overseeing us to make sure no one's buying quarter-million dollar suits or flying on Gulfstreams again." 

"I think the upcoming board meeting and the Annual Meeting will determine what we try to do in the New York court. So if everything goes well, if everyone is on their best behavior, if we get real change in the board meeting, which I'm hoping we do, then we can go back to the court and say 'you know, I think we've got this from here'."


Journey adds that while allowing the NRA to govern itself is important, if the organization can't bring back members who have departed over the last few years the legal battles won't really matter. 

"If the membership does not come back, if we can't clean it up to their satisfaction, I doubt it will survive. So we have to clean it up, we have to be transparent, we have to be open and honest with members, and we have to right the ship and rebuild services. I don't think the NRA has any political power inherent in itself. It all flows from the membership. And when we lose members, we lose power."

Journey predicts that this year's Annual Meeting could result in the biggest shakeup of the NRA since the 1977 meeting in Cincinnati, where the organization's "old guard" was ousted in favor of new leadership that was more focused on defending the right to keep and bear arms in the political arena. The NRA's politics won't be the primary issue this year. Instead, it will be the association's governance that's under the microscope, including the search for the next generation of leadership. 

The Second Amendment community is better off with a strong NRA, and while the election of the reform slate doesn't guarantee that the ship will be righted, I believe it's a big step in the right direction. 


Check out the entire conversation with Phil Journey in the video window below, and stay tuned for the latest developments. The NRA Annual Meetings will take place in less than a month, so in just a few weeks we'll have a much better idea of where the organization is headed in the near future. 

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