- - Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The spate of ugly attacks on the integrity and effectiveness of the National Rife Association’s leadership have understandably confused the millions of Americans who cherish the right to keep and bear arms.

Some of the attackers are ill-informed. Others are attempting to carry out their carefully planned and coordinated scheme to hijack the NRA, the premier civil rights organization in America. 

Some attackers, including some of the NRA’s own members, have created an outfit that calls itself “Save the Second.” 

The organization is most definitely not about saving the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

It is about destroying the National Rifle Association. Save the Second has never done anything to save the Second Amendment. It was created to oust NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and take control of NRA. 

Save the Second maliciously encourages the harassment of NRA board members who oppose attempts to oust NRA leadership.

Let me be clear: I support Wayne, who is America’s pre-eminent guns-rights leader, because I know he did nothing wrong. As an NRA board member and a former president of the association, I have fought alongside Wayne for more than a quarter century to keep the crazies and the charlatans from taking over, and to stave off the forces that want to deny law-abiding citizens the means to protect themselves.  

Behind the latest attack is a former NRA contractor who has made Wayne LaPierre the subject of a malicious, deceptive campaign. 

Why? Because Wayne ordered the contractor to comply with a financial review.

The contractor refused.  

People questioning Wayne’s leadership might want to take the time to read beyond the anti-NRA propaganda. They’d learn that some of this contractor’s other large clients are also reviewing their bills following NRA’s lead.

In April of this year, this same contractor, in an effort to keep the NRA from pushing for the financial review of the contractor’s billings to NRA, delivered to Wayne LaPierre an ultimatum in the form of this threat: Either resign immediately or the contractor would attack him publicly. 

This information is all available in the public realm. People seeking the truth should read the court documents rather than listen to people who have an agenda to take down Wayne.

Again, let me be clear, neither Wayne nor any other officer is compromising away our gun rights. In my personal opinion, the only people who would compromise away our gun rights are no longer at NRA.

I support Wayne LaPierre but not because of his monumental and significant accomplishments on behalf of the NRA and our cause in the past.  

I support him because of what I know he can do for our cause moving forward and because of what will happen to the NRA if he leaves — especially during this critical time.

Leaving the NRA in the hands of a bunch of novices who haven’t done 1 percent of what Wayne has helped the NRA accomplish is a pure recipe for disaster.

You may think they’re well-meaning but they likely couldn’t figure out how to run the NRA or a 50-state legislative operation, period.

From all appearances, Save the Second is just an extension of the 22-year-old failed coup attempt against Wayne by led by the late NRA board member Neal Knox, whose son is gun-rights supporter Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition.

It’s the NRA that has been fighting and winning against gun bans, ammo bans and gun registration schemes, and has helped pass numerous pro-self-defense and pro-gun laws.

Where would we gun-rights defenders be without the NRA and Wayne LaPierre? You really don’t have to go that far back to find that there was a supposed pro-gun group — Alan Gottleib’s Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms —  that agreed to Barack Obama and billionaire gun-confiscator Michael Bloomberg’s terrible scheme for a universal background check after Sandy Hook.  

Universal background checks prevent common, innocent acts like a grandfather giving a family firearm to his 12-year-old grandson without the absurdity of a background check.

And, while that group put out sweeping press statements and declarations, the reality is that it can do so only because no one of consequence takes the group seriously.

The only pro-gun group that really has the wherewithal to protect our Second Amendment rights is the NRA. So, I would advise everyone to think long and hard before siding with anyone else.  

We need the NRA. Our country needs the NRA. And Wayne LaPierre is the only person who can lead us through this hate-storm.

• Marion Hammer served as the first female president of the National Rifle Association. She has been a member of its board since 1982 and helped enact in Florida the nation’s first law requiring a conceal-carry permit to any applicant who has passed a background check and has requisite training. 

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