At its recent convention, the board of directors of the National Rifle Association of America elected Alabama lawyer James W. Porter II as the 62nd president of the nation’s oldest and largest civil-rights organization, founded in 1871 and boasting over 5 million members.
There is increasingly a two-front war over the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. On one hand you have legislative fights over gun-control laws. And since the Supreme Court held in 2008 that the Second Amendment is an individual right for Americans who are law-abiding and peaceable citizens, it’s no surprise that the second front is now in the federal courts.
Both of these arenas have become supercharged since the terrible Newtown shooting. Anti-gun politicians have been pushing gun-control measures since December. While the NRA delivered President Obama a humiliating defeat in his efforts to change the federal law, some states like New York, California, and Illinois are so dominated by the far-left that new gun control measures have passed in those bastions of liberalism. In those states, the only route to vindicate Americans’ constitutional rights is through the courts.
Enter Jim Porter. He’s an experienced litigator who is also a trustee on the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund, which supports and helps coordinate lawsuits that protect the Second Amendment.
The NRA bylaws limit an NRA president to two terms. Political strategist David Keene finished his last term, and the board was effusive in its praise for Keene’s savvy and skillful handling of the national political and media issues that arose during the debate that followed the Newtown tragedy.
Realizing the critical role of litigation over the next few years, the NRA turned to Porter, previously First Vice President, to chair the board of directors and increase the organization’s focus on how best to defend the Second Amendment in court. He is also the son of Irvine C. Porter, a former NRA president in his own right, who led the storied gun-rights organization from 1959-1961.
The NRA board also elevated Allan Cors–a longtime veteran of Capitol Hill and a well-known competitive shooter and gun collector–as First Vice President. The leadership team from the board is rounded out by new Second Vice President Pete Brownell, the young and dynamic president of Brownells, Inc. (a third-generation family business in Iowa that has become a major player in the firearms industry), representing part of the next generation of leaders among American gun owners.
Longtime NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre was reelected as the chief executive of the nation’s flagship organization for hunters, sportsmen, and Second Amendment supporters. LaPierre then reappointed Chris Cox to continue leading NRA’s political and lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA).
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is an NRA Life Member and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law.