According to NRA members attending the organization’s annual convention in Indianapolis, leaders of the embattled gun rights group have lost their way and sense of mission, and have tied themselves too closely to President Donald Trump.
In interviews with the Daily Beast, members who made their way to the annual convention expressed dismay that the NRA is wrapped up in a scandal related to the 2016 presidential election and has become involved in political squabbles not related to their core mission: Second Amendment rights.
According to the Beast, NRA members were bombarded at Lucas Oil Stadium with messages, including, “The fight to uphold ‘Judeo-Christian values.’ There was Pence, who talked about the Green New Deal. There was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), comparing the Democratic primary to a Saturday Night Live sketch, mocking former Vice President Joe Biden (‘Joe will be offering backrubs for anyone that would like it,’ he said). And of course there was Trump, whose biggest applause line came when he talked about ‘building the wall’ and the 400 miles that would supposedly be built ‘by the end of next year.'”
Speaking with Allan Scott, 33, who drove from Pittsburgh for the gun confab, that is not why he was there.
“Didn’t really catch too much of what they were saying,” he admitted while browsing through weapons on display inside the Indiana Convention Center.
According to Scott, the messages of Trump are not issues he believes the NRA should be involved in.
“Stay away from other political issues and stick to guns, and I think you’ll get more people in,” Allan explained. “Keep your mouth shut about the wall.”
According to Ruth Wickliff, 50, “a lifetime NRA member who drove three hours to Indianapolis on Saturday,” she was upset that the leadership of the NRA is at war with each other which has come to light after involvement with the 2016 presidential campaign invited outside scrutiny.
Wickliff sees longtime executive Wayne LaPierre at the center of the NRA’s problems.
“We need to get back to defending the Second Amendment,” she said of LaPierre’s fundraising for an organization that appears to be enriching its leaders while they tie themselves to Washington politics. “He’s the one that needs to go.”
Cody Becker, 33. agreed, saying he already canceled his annual NRA contribution over his dismay with the leadership due to the change in direction and the financial scandals.
“I lost on any faith that any dollars they receive go to anything that matters,” he admitted before pronouncing sentence on the future of the organization. “They lost their way—period. They’re f*cked.”
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