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Editor’s Notebook

NRA Annual Meeting Report

by Gila Hayes

We were delighted to renew acquaintances with many long-time Network members at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis last week. The chance to put faces with names and extend a personal word of thanks and share a friendly handshake with the folks for whom we created and maintain the Network was truly a joy.

In addition, we signed up many new members whom we are now proud to count among the nearly 8,000 armed citizens who share our concerns about what happens in the legal system after one of us acts in self defense. We explained to many NRA members the Network philosophy of education, getting to know the attorney you would call after self defense and the financial support the Network provides its members to be sure the member’s legal defense has all the bases covered — effective counsel, knowledgeable expert witnesses and trial strategy guidance to only identify a few.

We had to tell some of the folks stopping by that the Network is not able to do it all for them. If that sounds like an odd sales pitch, please understand that we take great care to accurately describe Network membership benefits. We will NOT just tell the potential customer what they want to hear! Because each member has the potential to draw considerably large grants to pay legal expenses, we are adamant that members understand exactly what the Network’s role is in their legal defense.

The Network starts each new member off with over eight hours of lecture on DVD to be sure our elite group is educated far and above common standards. We continue this effort each month with this eJournal, and each year we produce a new DVD lecture program on topics that help members understand and prepare better to participate in the second stage of self defense — their legal defense.

Legal defense is not an effort that you can just pay someone else to do for you. Members have to be knowledgeable and able to communicate effectively with their attorney. Members have to understand the issues, so they can accept or refuse strategies their attorney proposes.

While the Network certainly provides guidance, and is, of course, involved financially to pay attorney bills and other legal costs, we cannot make critical decisions on behalf of the individual member.

It was interesting to hash out these realities with so many NRA members and armed citizens. Not all were pleased that they simply could not just pay their money, leave all the hard decisions in the hands of someone else and never worry again, while others nodded thoughtfully, indicating that while post-incident management concepts were new to them, they understood the gravity of the issues. We are deeply committed to truthful advertising and establishing realistic expectations among the men and women who lined up at the NRA meeting to join the Network.

Having just spent three days discussing the mutual responsibilities shared between the Network and its members, I really appreciate all the armed citizens who took the time to ask questions, listen to our responses and who are now new Network members. A warm welcome to each one!

Below: [L-R] Gila Hayes and Kathy Jackson compare notes.