Former No. 2 at NRA Issues Scathing Critique

In new book, Joshua Powell backs red-flag laws and background checks
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2020 4:35 PM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2020 7:46 PM CDT
Former Top Aide to LaPierre Rips NRA
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre waves as he arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2018.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The NRA is more concerned with money than defending the Second Amendment and is run by an executive who's clueless—except for his ability to manipulate President Trump. That's the picture of the gun rights organization painted in a new book by Joshua Powell, the NRA's No. 2 executive until he was fired in January. Powell's account largely supports accusations and criticisms the organization has faced recently, the New York Times reports, including those in a lawsuit filed by New York state to break up the NRA. In his book, Powell endorses universal background checks and red flag laws, which the NRA has headed off. Inside the NRA: A Tell-All Account of Corruption, Greed, and Paranoia Within the Most Powerful Political Group in America is to be published next week. In three years with the NRA, Powell held jobs including chief of staff and top deputy to CEO Wayne LaPierre.

One reason for the NRA's success against gun restrictions is LaPierre's handling of the president, Powell says. Trump signaled he was open to new measures after the shootings of high school students in Parkland, Florida, in 2018—until he met with LaPierre and NRA lobbyist Chris Cox. "He was reminded who had helped elect him," Powell writes. "After the meeting, the president did a one-eighty, completely changing his tune." But Powell doesn't think much of LaPierre's management abilities overall, per the Times, saying he "couldn’t run an organization on a fiscally sound basis to save his life." NRA supporters call the book self-serving, pointing out that shortly before being fired, Powell was trying to get a consultant deal, writing to LaPierre, "My loyalty to the Association is without question." Over his time there, Powell writes, "I would become lost," adding that he decided that the NRA "lost its way, too." (More NRA stories.)

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