Declaring that the National Rifle Association has been in “a perpetual state of turmoil” recently, the billionaire-backed Everytown for Gun Safety—Michael Bloomberg’s gun prohibition lobbying group—says “NRA is on its heels and we can keep it there” as Virginia lawmakers prepare for Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun control special session Tuesday.
Northam’s agenda was detailed by the Virginia Mercury in a Sunday report.
In an email blast to supporters, Everytown posted a compendium of negative news about NRA from the past couple of months. The Bloomberg group told email recipients, “You’ve helped call the NRA to account for its extreme and reckless agenda.”
Everytown seemed cheered by the shutdown of NRA-TV, and other recent developments.
That may come as a surprise to gun owners in Virginia, where the NRA is headquartered, as the GOP-controlled General Assembly prepares for the July 9 session, called in reaction to the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left a dozen people dead. The NRA was represented during a town hall meeting last week at which time spokesperson Catherine Mortensen reportedly called the session a political stunt to distract from his own political scandals, according to WCVE News.
On the other hand, an unscientific poll conducted by TheGunFeed shows overwhelming support for the notion that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre should be forced to resign.
Whether LaPierre stays or goes, Northam will likely have his hands full if he hopes to advance any part of his anti-gun agenda. He wants a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and resurrection of Virginia’s failed “one-handgun-per-month” law that was scrapped seven years ago. Still, Northam calls his proposals “common sense,” which is a stretch of credibility, according to critics.
Virginia may be a first test of the NRA since the eruption of its leadership troubles that began at the group’s annual convention in Indianapolis more than two months ago. Then-President Oliver North abruptly stepped down, there was a contentious members’ meeting over allegations of lavish spending and mismanagement, and LaPierre was re-elected as executive vice president by the Board of Directors.
Last month, chief lobbyist Chris Cox was first suspended from his position as executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and a week later he resigned.
In addition, there have been lawsuits involving NRA’s longtime public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen, and an investigation of the organization by New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
The gun prohibition lobby is hardly masking its glee at these developments. Everytown’s email, over the name of Rob Wilcox, deputy director of Policy & Strategy, stated, “This is only the beginning.”
But the NRA and its allies in the Second Amendment community are used to fighting from behind circled wagons. They’ve been pretty good at it over the years and despite the reported “turmoil,” the NRA may still have a few surprises, especially heading into the 2020 election cycle.