The National Rifle Association faced the most serious crisis of its modern existence. Dissidents within the NRA directly challenged Executive Director Wayne LaPierre’s leadership. Not only had the nation’s oldest gun group’s net worth declined by more than $60 million, exacerbated by stagnant membership numbers, but LaPierre stood accused of wasteful spending, as had the NRA’s public relations firm, Ackerman-McQueen. One former NRA insider accused both of “financial bloodsucking.” Worse, the NRA suffered political reversals at the polls, and their reputation was further tarnished in the aftermath of a devastating massacre, and the organization’s maladroit public comments. The crisis came to a head over a celebrity brought in to improve the organization’s image and save LaPierre’s job. This crisis moment for the NRA came not last year, but over twenty years ago. LaPierre weathered that storm, including political losses in the 1992 elections and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, thanks in part to LaPierre’s installment of actor Charlton Heston to beat back the insurgents and improve the NRA’s tarnished image. The ploy worked, and the NRA went on to help elect gun-friendly president George W. Bush, paving the way for the enactment of its top policy priorities. [full article]
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Bob Rogers is the Editor and Publisher of GunPro Plus, America’s premier daily digital gun news portal. After a successful 20-year career as the Editor for a major magazine in the gun industry, Bob launched GunPro Plus to bring his industry expertise on gun news into the digital realm.