Cultural Revolutions

Down But Not Out

NRA "Extremism"—down but not out. A year ago the National Rifle Association's internal politics, by tradition kept out of the public spotlight, erupted into the mainstream press. According to NRA management and Beltway spin doctors, a group of extremists on the NRA Board of Directors was trying to fire NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre for the sole purpose of replacing him with NRA First Vice President Neal Knox, a "no-compromise" stalwart when it comes to the Second Amendment. The NRA's p.r. campaign was so successful that even the New York Times got into the act, describing Knox in a February 3, 1997, editorial as "a dark force in the NRA," David Brock then covered the story with an exhausting nine-page article in the American Spectator, in which he described me as the NRA's "kamikaze" board member.

Though Knox took himself out of the race for NRA Executive Vice President in January 1997, NRA management succeeded in keeping him the central theme of its campaign and described, to Associated Press reporter James Rowley, Mr. Knox's supporters on the NRA board as "assassins," "henchmen," and "dissidents." LaPierre's old friend Charlton Heston was brought in to run against Knox and defeated him in the race for First Vice President by a scant four votes. Newly crowned, Vice President Heston wasted no time in assuring the...

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