While the National Rifle Association publicly trumpets what it calls astounding growth in membership during its strident opposition to any efforts to tighten laws on gun ownership, reports from within the organization’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia reveal growing concern over member backlash against leader Wayne LaPierre‘s hard-core stances.
“A growing number of letters, emails and phone calls question our stance on the issues and the actions of Wayne,” admits one staff member, who asks not to be identified.
Fueled by public reaction to growing concerns by TV talk host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman and gun owner, the cries to at least put a muzzle on LaPierre or — at most — fire him are growing.
Capitol Hill Blue has learned that NRA’s board of directors has met secretly to discuss the problem and LaPierre’s public appearances have been limited since his response to the December 14 shooting of first grade students and teachers at Sandy Hook Clementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
It’s not the first time that LaPierre’s actions have come under scrutiny or demands for his dismissal have surfaced in the NRA.
“Wayne is a lighting rod,” says one NRA Capitol Hill lobbyist. “That’s a big part of his job.”
Scarborough has called for LaPierre’s removal and says the NRA chief is hurting the organization and the image of gun owners with his blistering remarks.
LaPierre has come out against any changes in gun laws in the wake of recent violent shootings and claims President Barack Obama wants to “limit American freedoms.”
Scarborough calls LaPierre’s actions “shameful” and his co-host compares the NRA leaders to Sarah Palin for his “stupid remarks.”
During his tenure in Congress, Scarborough earned an “A plus” rating from NRA for his positions on gun issues.
Scarborough says his positions haven’t changed but the NRA has changed, going too far in its stridency.
Besides, Scarborough says, the NRA’s claims that it represents average American gun owners is a lie.
The NRA, Scarborough says, exists to support the money-grubbing gun industry and doesn’t live a damn about those who own guns and obey the law.