Horray for earned media. This, in John Crump’s Ammoland.com article, about #2A bills moving through the House. Including “LtCol Willes K. Lee (ret), who is an NRA board member and President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), speaking on behalf of himself said, “The Second Amendment affirms our God-given right of self-defense. National Right-to-Carry reciprocity remains the NRA, and my, number one legislative priority. It is about time Congress moved on President Trump’s campaign promise.” He then went on to say, “This is common sense legislation to make Americans safer. All the 2A community should call their congressman now. We need reciprocity, and we want to see the votes on the floor prior to the 2018 primary elections.”
this post begins w this entry at Facebook.com/WillesLeeNRA “BSA & #NRA have a long history, as do state affiliates & state BSA organizations. Hawaii Rifle Association president Harvey Gerwig invited me to view an event on the Oahu North Shore. FB Live video is at Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors. It is a Boy Scouts of America development (read $$) activity w community leaders competing for bragging rights & prizes in 10 interesting events. All fun, but got competitive. The leaders, donors, are almost all from union organizations in Hawaii. Unions are the strength behind the heavily liberal agenda in this blue state. In general, that flows into some strong anti gun sentiment. (Keyword, one of the NRA committee on which I sit is Outreach, so this seemed appropriate). This is where this post get interesting – sorry to ask you to do this, if you want more, check the blog at www.WillesLee.com. It is too much to cover here. Short story – some diverse folks in a community come together to allow less-privileged children to participate in BSA thru the Scoutreach Program. Stations include Rifle, Air, Shotgun, black powder (substituted w .22) rifle, Pistol, also archery, slingshot, knife throw, tomahawk throw, spear throw, & ninja throwing stars!! This post focuses on the HRA piece. #HRA #NRA #NRABoard #MAGA #outreach #keepshooting #pewpew #guns #commonsense Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors @WillesLee www.WillesLee.com”
This is the 12th year for this event. The Scoutreach program funds membership, uniforms and more for children who can’t afford it. I appreciate the aspect of more children participating in scouting, more liking that it kept some from perhaps participating where they can get into trouble. Participants in this event are mostly construction union-leader guys & gals so they aren’t shrinking violets, afraid to chuck a spear or blast away with a shotgun. Intended strictly to support the BSA effort for Scoutreach, it certainly serves as many purposes for HRA and 2A. Over a good cause, gun and non gun folks get to play together. The funds support BSA, i.e. another generation, which get much of it’s firearms training and safety training from HRA members who are mostly NRA instructors and safety officers. Especially in such an antigun blue state this, this collaboration with liberal (not necessarily antigun, but certainly liberal-minded) leaders and the tie to firearms awareness for the next generation is great outreach.
About 40 volunteers, 20 HRA and 20 BSA organize, set up and run the event over three days.
Side notes. Outreach-style. The new young-lady BSA development director had never shot, and openly admitted being afraid of the prospect. i.e. not just afraid to shoot, but afraid to think about shooting. After watching many others take a shot (no pun), HRA instructors (all NRA certified) had her headed to the air rifle, then .22.
Less than usual events. Sucked at knife throwing. Stuck three of ten attempts. This was fun enough and challenging that I’ll set up something in my backyard – where unlike some of you, I cannot use firearms. Spear throwing was harder than it looks. I would have been a terrible Spartan. One of five. Harvey Gerwig replaced the cheap, breakable wooden shafts with metal poles. Yeah, they were heavy, but still. I do a little work at home with a slingshot so that isn’t unfamiliar. Didn’t try the ninja stars. With the real ones, think I’m afraid of sticking myself.
MUSING About NRA – National Rifle Association of America Statement. Caution, Caution: Long read, so friggin’ long. MY thoughts. Don’t know if other #NRA are opening their page like this. Will pin for a couple days, do my best or will find answers. Responded to many w same questions, still getting to Groups. Know this is important to you.
-Encouraging input, even haters. I respect your opinion, even to disagree. If you’re not a member, please hold off a day. I value your input, but you don’t have standing. Will see if I am preaching to the choir, & of course you may UnLike. (Cursing is allowed by me. FB, dunno.) OK?
-NRA statement, Hammer’s email, & LaPierre. I canNOT & do NOT speak for the NRA or Board. It’s just ME, & what I read online.
-NRA statement is our statement. It is good. Don’t misinterpret it. Some want to make waves, or money, off it. If you read it, some haven’t, please read again … w the eyes of a congressman.
-I am politically (read the bio) #nocompromise, … but, I am not the decider. Congress is. I didn’t elect them, you did. Same folks we’re asking to pass #reciprocity & #SHARE. Some are scared by bump stocks. If they get involved, anything can happen. Wrap your brain around that – anything.
-I am right-wing. Read TWT article about my weekend speech (hint, he uses ‘fire-breathing’ for sweet ‘ole me). The hard right must counter the unconstitutional voices of the hard left who want to take all your firearms. But, neither side decides, nor does NRA (nor #GOA, nor #SAF). Congress does, & anything can happen… unless ATF reviews, where it should be.
-Some want a public internal-to-2A fight, maybe for legitimate reasons & maybe not so much. That’s your right. If you don’t support NRA or don’t have skin in the game (member), you have no business complaining, or for that matter, taking advantage of anything NRA does or has done (think #CCW, semi-autos, competitions, training, & more). It is a gift.
-Many members don’t care about the legislative side & wish we’d just let #shooting, safety, #hunting, #conservation, shows, sales, meetings, manufacturing, competitions, collecting, training, & certifying simply silently perform.
-For the legislative ‘shall not be infringed’ folks, of which I am one, imagine your gun safe/closet in four years if NRA did a ‘screw you’ & closed shop. Imagine if a few tough 2A guys hadn’t begun NRA Institute for Legislative Action in the 70’s. No FB discussion, bc you wouldn’t have a gun. ILA is a professional political organization, not blustering activists like us. Not a branch of gov’t. Not a political party. Not a multi-billion dollar corporation. Yet, they’ve saved us through repeated, huge, costly anti-gun attacks… & won.
-I’m in politics, & appreciate good political work even by liberals. They got us distracted, fighting, bailing. We’re frustrated the congress we elected won’t act, then distracted by an NRA statement. Don’t be distracted.
-Marion Hammer’s email, which not surprisingly leaked. Of course, there shouldn’t be dissent on the Board, nor employees. Nor members, but you want to vent. Never been on a team – military, business, political, family, anywhere – where we publicly dissent after a decision. No Coke Cola director complained about Coke Zero. Zuckenburg fired an employee for disagreeing w ideology. Not on the Board & not an employee, go ahead & complain. If you are, once the decision is made, move forward w all your energy & determination to #M2AGA. Sort of think you want folks at your office to do the same.
-I am full-spectrum: #guns, #life, #taxes, #immigration & more. Love our movement. I am a member of some, & very much appreciate the value of all, #2A & #conservative groups. But, opponents don’t mention them. Only. the. N.R.A. A friend wrote “hard to continue supporting the NRA”. Latest is anti’s call to abolish the 2nd. Who you gonna call? 2018, ’20 elections coming. You got a friend who does what the NRA does? Weekend w friends who carry long-haul “I do not support the NRA”. Really? Think your CCW & 13+1 double stack is here bc Ds want you to have it? Nat’l competitions, your next range upgrade, plinking in your backyard, saving our hunting culture… who are you counting on? Complain? Sure. Walk away? Maybe you don’t have the stomach for this business. Just sayin.
-Another. “LaPierre needs to go”. Don’t know where I saw that so this isn’t personal: Gotta be the dumbest thing all month. I’m strapped, CCW in my pocket from another state bc mine won’t issue. Three ARs on my backseat w a box of 30 rnd mags to go hunting on a Sunday in another state. Then, take guns & ammo on a plane to yet another state to compete in a national 3-gun, before an elem school w #EddieEagle to teach gun safety to the next generation…. bc Wayne LaPierre is giving his adult life fighting for my rights …. even before I knew they were being taken. No, I’m riding the horse that got me here & we will never, ever be able to repay Wayne (& family), Chris Cox & the tough bubbas before them for getting us this far. Do we have disagreements? Sure, but I’m not telling you. You can argue we’d be better if he’d never been here …. ha, ha ha, ha. Sorry, I shouldn’t make fun of your argument.
-What we can do: 1. Have a US Senate & two Gov races right now. Get involved. 2. About 38 are competing for 25 #NRABoard seats in 2019. Vote. 3. Support ILA, we’re in a fight.
-Now, you’ve been distracted by me, & I’ve used three hours writing. You’re reading instead of calling 535 congressmen, & all your state legislators. #Reciprocity. #SHARE. #Guarantee.
Thank you. //s// Lee, law-abiding, private citizen.
#gunrights #gunowners #DefenderofFreedom #Guns #patriot#commonsense #noexcuse #DTS #M2AGA @WillesLee www.WillesLee.com Willes Lee NRA Board of Directors
Our host for this meeting was a very generous Bass Pro Shops conservationist, fisherman, patriot Johnny Morris. One afternoon, we went to Big Cedar Lodge, outside Branson MO on the Arkansas border. The Ozark’s are beautiful and reminded me of the Shenandoah mountains. Did a golf cart for the nature trail. Then could tour their museum but .. instead had a little time for sporting clays at the Bass Pro Outdoor Academy. I’m crappy for lack of practice (I don’t) but enjoy seeing how crappy each time I get the opportunity. One of my ‘team’ was Steve Hornady (yeah, THAT Hornady. You probably have a box of his ammo in your bag.) who repeatedly told our young guide that we had time for ‘just one more’ station (we shot a lot). I missed some pigeons but you can be certain that when I broke clay … it was mostly luck. Damn, those things are fast. Pig roast was part of dinner, country music off the back of an old flatbed, cigars around the corner with the cool guys afterwards.
Unfortunately bailed on the Historic Automobiles Museum to spend more time shopping at Bass Pro Shops and shooting some video at the NRA Sporting Arms Museum.
The Professional Bull Riding Association was in town for the weekend, part of their tour to determine the finalists for the World Championship coming in November. Having joined us at yesterday’s NRA President’s reception, PBR invited us to their rodeo.
Mean bulls, crazy cowboys, and hot cowgirls. My kinda of Americans. EVERYONE bowed their head in prayer. Then, they had this 20’x15′ US flag that four veterans rappelled from the rafters, THEN, their Governor (Greiten’s is a former SEAL) friggin’ rappelled down to join us in the National Anthem for which E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. stood (and doffed their cowboy or baseball caps). Like I said, my sorta people.
I’m slow or have to figure how to do this in a more timely manner. Our meeting ended Saturday night, not writing until Wednesday. September NRA Board meeting is routinely of less scale than the others. Some because of the annual schedule of competitions, training, hunting season and such, and some because of the legislative calendar. As an example, I kept the two committees from last year and now am on five committees – Military & Veterans Affairs, Outreach, Grassroots Development, Legislative Affairs, and Federal Legislative Affairs. Only Legislative Affairs met this week, though Grassroots held a meeting by conference call last Monday (I missed while on a plane out of Milwaukee Carry Guard Expo). I am often conflicted-out of committees because of my schedule, so this time I dropped in to Gun Collectors. Over the course of four days with some 10-11 committee meetings, we conclude with our thrice-annual Board meeting for the better part of a day. In between committees, and during some evenings, we have formal (scheduled) or informal (just us getting together) activities or explore on our own. I am not often in the mid-west (Springfield MO), so lots of explore-fun. I don’t take or post many meeting photos, and the full Board meeting does not allow for photos or recordings (nor any electronic devices). One event each meeting is the President’s reception. This was pretty special. Johnny Morris, of Bass Pro Shops, graciously hosted us to a sneak preview (opens later this month) of his Wonders of Nature 300,000 sf, 35,000 animal (mostly fish species) Aquarium. Amazing. One walks for a little over a mile to experience every nature environment (hmmm, I don’t now recall the arctic). It was neat. Bass Pro and NRA, both leaders in conservation, have a solid partnership. We, the NRA Board, in turn, invited the leaders of the Professional Bull Riders Association (in town on tour) to further our partnership with them.
Now for a little business before moving to the next blog post. President Pete Brownell recounted some of the many successes operationally and legislatively NRA enjoyed recently. He focused us on the future of Carry Guard and the need to work as a team (all our committees) as we move into 2018. 1st VP Richard Childress highlighted our on-line Hunter’s Education Program and the move by PETA and Humane Society to villianize our American culture of hunting. 2d VP Carolyn Meadows recapped NRAAM with 82,000 attending. Exec VP Wayne LaPierre gave an overview of the huge amount and span of NRA staff work, including working with Interior Secretary Zinke. NRA ‘brand’ is solid, people believe in and trust us. Details of General Operations (Josh Powell) and Institute for Legislative Affairs (Chris Cox) went next. Operationally: many new and good staff changes, Carry Guard is ahead of goals, basic firearms training and CCW training is increasing, and NRA is introducing a college version of Refuse to be a Victim. Legislatively: we got Gorsuch at SCOTUS, Attorney General Sessions, rolled back the Obama social security crap and ended Operation Choke Point (those affects are going to felt for a while), Reciprocity should come to a vote this fall, Sportsman package this week (just passed out of committee). Each committee chair reported, in turn. While a lot of updates, there were few action items for the full Board to consider. Bottom line for now – NRA is in “good” post-election financial and organizational shape going into 2018, and becoming better organized for myriad General Ops functions. “Good” is highlighted because we recovered better than we thought we could following a tough 2016-2017 (this is a good thing), nor are we in ‘great’ shape. There are a couple months until the next full Board meeting, though committees meet throughout the year. For more, go Like www.facebook.com/WillesLeeNRA.
No other organization does more across the 2A and firearms spectrum as NRA. Always under heat for not doing enough (Reciprocity vs Constitutional Carry), doing too much (Carry Guard), not doing it well-enough (blended training), I’ll add this note compiled from various sources. If not for NRA stepping up in the 70’s with ILA (sort of a result of the run up to the ’68 gun control legislation) then we don’t have ANY concealed carry. In fact, at the same time we were winning Florida conceal carry, it was debated whether to altogether ban handguns. If not for NRA continued defending of freedom, we don’t have many states now with conceal carry, and more than a dozen with constitutional carry. This is on top of our self-determined mission to conduct firearms training and safety. Put all that together, and arguments over whether NRA should be in the insurance business become moot. Without NRA, there is no firearms insurance business. With NRA as the gold-standard, there is no doubt that everything will be measured against NRA training and insurance protection. Instead, this is the time for all 2A-supporting organizations to work towards the same goals – national reciprocity (constitutional carry will come), hearing protection and bringing common sense to the NFA, Sportsman package, Second Amendment Guarantee, securing hunting in our American culture.
This week is the World Championships at Peacemaker. Yeah, NRA runs that, too.
Left Nashville, in a hurry to Milwaukee for the inaugural NRA Carry Guard Expo (Renamed from the Personal Protection Expo). NRA reports 14,000 attend. It was a great success, and I am happy for the NRA & Milwaukee. Landed an immediately called BFF Amanda Suffecool (Eye on the Target Radio, and now, Concealed Carry Fashion Show guru) for dinner at Maders. I grew up in and then served eight years in Germany, our daughters were born there, love the food. We ran into favorite Jenn Jacques (from Bearing Arms, our conscience) and NRA’s Andy Lander out with the team of our (thankfully) major sponsor Crossbreed. Friday attended a couple seminars (How fast a draw is fast enough?, and Home defense.), lunch with great folks visiting CG, walked the exhibition floor. Way cool was the simulator to get schooled in a safe “threatening” environment. NRA Range had several ranges set up, Wall of Guns (still trying to find out why the Wall didn’t have actual firearms instead of just photos), Eddie Eagle, NRATV team with Cam Edwards. Brat and cheese curds and (something like) Cow beer that night.
Now getting blurry. Saturday was exhibit floor. Found a neat clip to hold back up magazines (yeah, thank you, I know the difference ‘tween a clip and a mag) in my pocket, and the husband + wife team are from down the road near Quantico. For our crowd, big names included Colion Noir, Mark Geist, Dana Loesch doing meet and greet book-signings. Protest and protestors were a bust, but these were not Antifa violent idiots. Met with NRA team, which ended when we couldn’t get the Mayweather-McGregor fight so I busted back to the hotel to watch. It was fun, room full of 2A rowdies enjoying being together off the exhibition hall floor. Note here: our NRA CG trainers are mostly former SEAL bubbas (mostly Seal Team 6, Dev Group). Those who aren’t are another flavor of US Special Ops. I’ve told others before that these are the most amazingly talented people anywhere, and you’d never know to look at or speak with them. These are good folks, doing good work.
So Sunday morning, said a prayer, and went over to go through the CG virtual reality station. Gets your attention when the instructor asks if you’re carrying and where – just so he can intervene if you go into reality mode during this virtual scenario! Geared up with head piece and earphones and plastic ‘firearm’, they put me in a convenience store when an armed robber comes in, grabs a women, puts us on our knees, asks for money. I’m waiting for him to leave the cover of the counter because I know today I can’t make the shot between the counter and the woman, the instructor is whispering in my ear “shoot him”, then it got darn near like “just friggin shoot him already”. I take the shot and, no kiddin, bad guy goes down. Here’s where the lesson begins. LEO bust in, I drop the ‘weapon’, get handcuffed, and hauled downtown. The police interrogation begins…. duh, I should have had Carry Guard insurance. Lesson over.
I tried a live Facebook from CG and the exhibit hall and floor but the stream was streaming so well, it was a fiasco. Lunch with good friend then……….. popped to the Harley-Davidson Museum. Very, very cool. Until leaving when I noticed the door sign “no firearms”. Wait. What? At Harley-Davidson? (What to do? I contacted Jan Morgan down at the Gun Cave in Arkansas, she’s reaching out to the H-D folks). Long week, including Nashville RNC in suit and tie, long weekend in Milwaukee never in suit and tie, I am way ready to get moving.
A lot more of this is on WillesLeeNRA Facebook page. Go check, Like if you like.