After Passing of Director Dave Butz, Tait fills void NRA Director position

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

The sad news broke of the passing of NRA Director Dave Butz on Friday November 4th, 2022. Butz was a former NFL Defensive Tackle and served on the NRA board for over twenty years. The unfortunate passing of Butz left a void in many hearts, and Executive Vice President of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, spoke highly of him, “Dave Butz was larger than life—in every sense of the word.” LaPierre also acknowledged Butz’s commitment to the shooting sports, “To the NRA family and to shooters all across our great country, Dave was an outstanding coach, trainer and mentor.” The empty Director position is going to be filled by Frank Tait.

Tait has run for NRA Director a few times, with his most recent run in 2022. His last run left him quite close to securing a position in the organization. Tait did not quite make the number of votes needed during the last election to fill a Director position that was open due to the passing of Todd Rathner. 

During the annual meetings, eligible members who are present can vote on someone to serve a one year term known as the 76th director. That spot is lobbied over by any runners up in the regular election. Tait missed out on the 76th director spot during the annual meeting, with it going to Isaac D. Demarest. In the regular election, Tait actually got more votes than Demarest, but missed the mark at the meeting. Due to his status as the most recent runner up, Tait has been tapped to take over Butz’s seat.

Tait said in a blog post early November 8th that, “With the unfortunate passing of NRA Director Dave Butz last Friday (excellent summary in the American Rifleman here), as the only remaining unelected candidate from the 2022 election, I am now on the NRA Board.” He further explained the length and regulatory elements of his seat:

My positions are clear, and I intend to follow through during my tenure on the board. Per Article IV, Section 2 of the By-Laws, as a candidate filling a vacancy, I will only serve until the conclusion of the 2023 annual meeting of Members.

I will attend the Board meeting in January in Dallas and the NRA Annual meeting and board meeting in Indianapolis on my dime.

Now that I am on the board, I have a fiduciary responsibility to the NRA. I will share what I can.

I turned on the chat feature for this blog and will be as responsive as I can.

It’s been a rough road for Tait and this is not the ideal way to find one’s self on the board. Tait’s first blog post in March of 2021, he stated his intentions in running for NRA board. He’s a self-described “reform” candidate, and has been very vocal in revealing his opinion on the need for a change at the NRA. In the past he’s mentioned the following about his proposed path forward should he find himself elected:

I am running on the agenda of protecting ALL of our second amendment rights and the positions outlined by Save the Second with these objectives:

  • Reduce the size of the board to a manageable level;
  • Term limits for board members;
  • Exercising appropriate oversight of management;
  • Refocus on LISTENING to the membership; and,
  • Get back to our roots of firearms training and education.

Why – to address items such as in this referenced lawsuit Dellaquila files Class Action Lawsuit and the actions by the New York Attorney General.

Tait’s position statements have resonated with many members, but up until the present moment, just not quite enough. I’ve been following the progress of Tait’s former campaigns, and all indications are that his heart and mind are in the right place. What he’s going to be able or willing to share going forward is not yet known. I took the opportunity to reach out to Tait about this latest announcement, and he cut straight to discussing the business that’s at hand:

With the pressure from the ongoing lawsuits, declining membership revenue and out of control legal costs, this is a challenging time to start as a new member of the board of directors for the NRA. One of the major items for the January board meeting will be adopting a budget for 2023 that addresses these challenges.

In Tait’s post, he noted that “I will only serve until the conclusion of the 2023 annual meeting of Members,” but did not indicate if he’d be looking to run again prior to his term expiring. I did not think to ask that question of him. We’ll certainly be able to find out soon enough though, as the 2023 annual meeting is scheduled to be held April 14-16 in Indianapolis.

I certainly wish Tait nothing but the best in his endeavors on the board. He’s worked for it and I’m sure he’ll be sharing what he can during his tenure.