I have had the distinct honor to serve as your president during the past year. It is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly—leading the millions of men and women of the oldest civil rights organization in America. During the last 12 months, my travels have taken me to all corners of our great country, and I have had a chance to meet with many NRA members along the way. One takeaway from interacting with members and gun owners alike is that there isn’t enough information in the public sphere about the Board of Directors and its activities.
As president, I am the chairman of your Board—one of the 76 people on that body who are elected by the voting membership; 76 of us out of 5 million have been tasked by our fellow members with guiding the Association on a continuing road to success and growth. Our Board’s purpose is to bear responsibility for the association’s affairs and the management of its resources. It is humbling for all of us entrusted by so many good people, a charge we take with all due seriousness. The Board is a decision-making body and can act only as a body. Many decisions are made on matters originating from NRA committees, officers or staff. To be an active and responsible Board member entails many hours of work and a commitment to being part of a team, and showing both leadership and discretion.
The NRA Bylaws establish 37 standing committees which advise, govern and interact with senior staff on an ongoing basis throughout the year. These committees cover important areas of responsibility or interest, including Audit, Legal Affairs, Gun Collectors, Military & Veterans’ Affairs, Clubs & Associations, Finance, Membership, Education & Training, Collegiate Programs, Disabled Shooting Sports, Youth Programs, Women’s Policies and Hunting & Wildlife Conservation. There are also Pistol, Shotgun, High Power Rifle, Air Gun, Black Powder and Range Development committees. Most committees are appointed by the president shortly after each Annual Meeting.
The Board as a whole meets three times each year, typically: in early January, during the Annual Meeting in April/May and again in September. But our work does not stop when those meetings are adjourned. The devoted Board directors dedicate countless hours volunteering for our association—from recruiting members to speaking at gun clubs or political events and raising funds for critical election activities. You can probably catch a director from your state at a local Friends of NRA event, or at your home range. In addition, many committees meet via phone or in person, not in conjunction with a regularly scheduled Board meeting. I am sincerely grateful to all those who serve on our Board and committees for the time and energy they put into representing the 5 million members of the NRA and all Second Amendment supporters.
While the Board structure and makeup has evolved since our founding in 1871, our mission has remained the same. Every elected member of the Board of Directors takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the inalienable right of every law-abiding American citizen to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of and enjoy the use of arms for many purposes, including to exercise their God-given rights to defend themselves and others. That is our cause. And I can say with 100% certainty that my fellow directors spend every waking moment in defense of our Second Amendment freedoms.
The Board and others in the leadership team are very busy working for the Association behind the scenes in our day-to-day business activities. Serving as your NRA president, I’m privileged to have an important role within the Association, to see first-hand all the vital work done for our members, along with countless examples of how NRA members contribute to the well-being of the organization and to the good of our nation.
But it has not been easy, and will be an even tougher task going forward. Our Association and cherished freedoms are under constant attack across this country, especially this election year. The future of America is at stake.
Whenever I see NRA members on my travels, I make a point to thank them for their support and encourage them to be more active in helping to enliven and enrich our Association. If you meet a Board member, I encourage you to find out more about their specific interests and what they are doing for the cause of freedom, and thank them for their service to the NRA. The entire NRA—from those within the leadership to staff and volunteers to individual members—must work harder than ever in 2020 to ensure that all like-minded, freedom-loving voters get to the polls and vote for candidates who share our values. We have a country to save.