The National Rifle Association is a Royal Charter Charity (1859) being investigated by the Charity Commission for breach of trust, bullying and misrepresentation. Andrew Mercer NRA CEO appears to be at the centre.
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It is true that in a democracy people get what they deserve, and quite often they do not deserve good leaders . . .Joseph de Maistre
Skeletons in closets
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The Charity Commission, led by Baroness Stowell, is investigating the National Trust and questioning whether the Charity is losing sight of its objectives. Christopher Hope, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT of the Telegraph reports on 23 October 2020
This is a stark reminder of the fact that the National Rifle Association remains under strict scrutiny by the regulator (see here for background) who has already deemed civilian shooting to be outside its charitable remit. With the recent acquisition of Bisley Clay Shooting Ground, this further begs the question as to whether funds are being spent in the right direction. Why is the NRA not focussing more on the desperate need for more, and better ranges throughout the country in order to promote marksmanship? This is what members expect and deserve.
Furthermore Baroness Stowell stressed that ‘she wanted charities to look at taking action to curb excessive executive pay. Earlier this year, the commission asked charities to submit information on all salaries above £60,000 in bands of £10,000, with the evidence forming the basis of a major report on charity executive pay before the end of the year’. A source said the report was about “shining a light on pay and reminding charities that the public on whose support they depend expects them to be able to explain and justify when they are paying big salaries”.
In which case how can the NRA justify paying several staff in excess of £100,000 a year. How is it that Andrew Mercer himself is said to have boasted that he personally made £180,000 in 2018. Have these individuals all taken a pay cut during COVID to avoid redundancies and support the Charity? Will their pay be scrutinised and reduced? Members have the right to this transparency. It is ironic that Andrew Mercer’s actions since being Secretary General have done so much harm to the fabric and atmosphere of Bisley Camp. Arguably it was his terrible treatment of members and Bisley tenants that first brought the Charity Commission to investigate. How is it therefore possible to justify his salary, or even his seat?
“The NRA remains subject to close scrutiny by the regulator due to the seriousness of this issue”.Charity Commission report 7th February 2020
Stubborn: ‘having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so’. This, mixed with the manipulative determination to grasp to power, seems to describe General Council member John Bloomfield. This individual needs no introduction, see link, and is using his lockdown time to try to weazel his way back onto the NRA Board of Trustees. The NRA may be desperate. COVID is taking its toll, the Charity is under ever-growing scrutiny from Members and the Charity Commission is deeply unimpressed with the vast amount of funds spent on litigation. The NRA deficit is also alarming. Two Trustee spaces are available following the departure of James Harris and Alice Gran. The question is who want want to join, only to face the pending scrutiny? The tragedy is that, now more than ever Bisley needs saving and the Charity needs honest individuals with high integrity to step up and represent.
The results of the 2020 NRA General Election show few ballots were returned. This is particularly concerning given the NRA offered members a secure online ballot. Under a quarter of the NRA’s membership took part in the election; less than one member in four. Why would 3 out of 4 people not vote? They may feel there was not a good enough reason to justify them taking part in Council Elections. They may, as we have been hearing, feel that not voting is a form of protest. There remains a sense of despair – the feeling of so many members is that no matter how one votes, the same élite clique will remain in control at the NRA, doing whatever it wants regardless of the the wishes of the members, or the best interests of the members. It is a tragedy that the UK NRA has such similarities with its American counterpart. As we all know, New York is suing the NRA in a lawsuit that alleges a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight at the NRA that was illegal, oppressive, and fraudulent. Perhaps the Charity Commission enquiry will mirror the thoughts of New York. What good has the NRA then done for its members?
As the NSRA is discovering right now, more and more NSRA and NRA members and individual Club members are realising that their so-called “National Governing Bodies” neither deserve support, nor can justify much of their expenditure. When less than a quarter of the NRA membership even bothers to return a cost-free ballot paper, the writing is on the wall. So be it.
NRA CONTINUE TO SELL OFF THEIR ‘INCIDENT’ AMMO
Back in 2019 the NRA were looking to profit from selling ammunition they knew was causing, in their words, an ‘unacceptable number of incidents’. Here they go again… more details here. Caveat emptor!
Andrew Mercer says John Bloomfield’s work on the GGG ammo is “impeccable”. Given Mercer’s complete lack of shooting background, how could he possibly know that? In any event, it is a certainty that the recent batch of GGG ammunition passed all CIP proof tests for 308 Winchester / 7.62x51mm, before being released. The problem in UK is that a huge proportion of the RIFLES, “target rifles” (as defined by NRA), have been DELIBERATELY chambered BELOW MINIMUM PERMISSABLE by CIP / SAAMI, including many that are chambered ‘tighter’ even than the NRA’s “Rule 150” dispensation. THIS SHOULD BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. IT IS NOT SAFE.
Many so-called “rifle smiths”, including ex-trustee and new council member John Bloomfield, earn money by making up rifles which THEY KNOW WOULD NOT PASS any test for 308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm. Bloomfield has a financial business interest in this matter, and for that reason alone he should have been excluded ‘ab initio’ from involvement in all and any testing and decision-making. Why are the NRA Trustees turning a blind eye to this? The present situation is that a ‘poacher’ continues ‘poaching’ while being paid to be a principal adviser to the ‘game-keeper’! It is both absurd and obscene, but it is nice work if you can get it. Regarding the most recent cap failures, before saying a word about it being an ammunition fault, one would want to see the rifle’s BOLT, to weigh its striker moving parts, and check the strength of its firing pin spring, in addition to all the other standard tests for the type. These cases look absolutely typical of the effect of the striker being light-weight, and/or the firing pin spring being rather weak. Further, the firing pin tip of the rifle that fired the cases displayed recently, seems to be an excessively loose fit in the hole in the boltface, which is also a SERIOUS FAULT liable to lead to cap-piercings, and indentation discs separating from the base of the cap. These little discs are then often blown back through the firing pin hole and into the bolt body. These metal discs may then baulk the firing pin fall of all succeeding shots, until the bolt is stripped and properly cleaned of this metallic debris.
This is one cause of ‘light strikes’ and so-called ‘misfires’. The combination of a light striker, inadequate spring and loose firing pin fit in the bolt-face simply may not have the mass-inertia , spring force and firing-pin fit to hold the primer dent down and the cap intact, till the pressure has dropped. These are RIFLE FAULTS ; they are not problems with the ammunition. Unless or until ALL ‘target rifles’ (as defined) are chambered, and bored and grooved, at worst very close to MINIMUM PERMITTED by CIP/SAAMI this problem will continue to manifest itself in ‘vulnerable rifles’. And yes, some designs of target rifles are more vulnerable than others. Sooner or later there will be injury. What then? The NRA might successfully opt out of liability by its recent disclaimer, which clearly suggests the ammunition comes with risks ; that is, it seems the NRA actually believes it is selling ammunition which MAY NOT BE SAFE, to its own members. To repeat the phrase, ‘it is both absurd and obscene’. Doubtless the usual “expert” John Bloomfield has again been consulted, and been paid substantial fees for his, according to Andrew Mercer, “impeccable” pronouncements. In the meantime, the members, as always, are the losers.
NRA Take Over Bisley Shooting Ground
The NRA have taken over Bisley Shooting Ground, the family business run by father and son Anthony and Alexander Roupell. The announcement was made on the NRA website as follows:
NRA & Bisley Shooting Ground
We sincerely hope that this is good news. The NRA have a history of aggression towards tenants so this appears to be a positive step. Making the most of mediation in order to avoid wasting further funds on litigation is a good start. We know for the NRA’s 2019 accounts that “The litigation instigated by Bisley Shooting Ground Limited in June 2019 has had a significant financial effect on the NRA“. Why are the accounts not showing what the amount is? We will be watching developments closely.
NRA AGM 30 May 2020
Martin Osment asks Chairman David Lacey the following with regard to NRA auditors. The Chairman suggests that treasurer Andrew Reynolds speaks, but then reverses and refuses to answer the questions.
1. Hayes Macintyre are only reappointed auditors if the accounts are reissued with a note explaining what the professional spend on the Bisley Shooting Ground Limited matter was to December 2019 and to April 2020, and an estimate of potential spend.
2. The trustees must include a note explaining which RICS and legal firms are advising them in this matter. They should confirm that the advice they have received meets the Charity Commission definition of commerciality. The trustees shall include in their note the estimated benefit of winning this action.
3. The trustees shall undertake to produce annual audited service charge accounts the first of these shall be also certified by a competent RICS firm.
4. The trustees shall issue an analysis by individual lease or other matter of the last 5 years professional spend.
There is growing concern that the professional spend on the matter with Bisley Shooting Ground Limited is spiralling wildly out of control. The 2019 NRA accounts state “The litigation instigated by Bisley Shooting Ground Limited in June 2019 has had a significant financial effect on the NRA“. Why are we not being told what the amount is?
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS…
BAD NEWS – As per the 2019 NRA Accounts “the net deficit in our general funds for 2019, which do not include investments, was £60,002, largely due to an increase in expenditure of professional fees”. No doubt this is the tip of the iceberg given the amount of litigation the NRA finds itself in. The accounts also fail to include the £25,000+ paid for the arbitration with the Artists Rifles. Why was this missed out? New Treasurer Andrew Reynolds (Appointed Feb 2019) has his work cut out, particularly as he was banking that “organic growth in the 2019 budget is largely centered on the full opening of the Pavilion facility” – Coronavirus has put a stop to that. To view the treasurers speech at the 2019 AGM click here.
GOOD NEWS – The NRA has put in place procedures with a view of opening up after 4th July. Dull details here.
BAD NEWS – At a time where the NRA are in dispute with tenants for, potentially criminally, overcharging for electricity, it seems some are getting it for free. Is not the first time we have heard that individuals are getting free electricity. Last time it was ex-trustee and current General Council member John Bloomfield, now it is someone else. These pictures were taken in 2020 of a grotty caravan taking electricity from the car parking area adjoining the NRA vehicle compound. It is not the only electricity supply post feeding into the wooded area. The caravan is inhabited by a man who was seen in it and appears to be tapping free electricity and water. Who is this man? If he is an NRA employee, what is his role? Does his P11D reflect the benefits in kind? Perhaps Mr Mercer would like to comment and let membership know what is going on.
BAD NEWS – Although Andrew Mercer proudly announced (April Update) that the National Clay Shooting Centre shooters “will see the benefits of significant maintenance of traps and other infrastructure…and an extensive clear up of wads and clay debris, which coupled with soil improvement and re-seeding, has resulted in newly sown grass growing greener by the day. This appears not to be evident…
GOOD NEWS – In the same April update Mercer comments that Richie Vallance “has completed the transfer of NCSC members to a new database”. No doubt this justifies his NRA salary, paid for by us, particularly as the NSCS also has its own Manager. As a reminder Vallance has been employed by the NRA since 2019 but with apparently nothing to do as he was hired to take over sporting clays at Bisley Shooting Ground, currently in litigation with the NRA). Link to Richie’s bio here.
NRA Disciplinary Committee – Andrew Mercer acted “contrary to the long established principles of natural justice” 24.02.2020
There are few tragedies of justice or actions that unveil the self-serving values that the NRA’s Officers, Trustees and Disciplinary Committee adhere to, than their treatment of ex Chairman Dr. Robin Pizer. This is a rare occasion where the NRA’s victimisation, bullying, and injustice is admitted by the organisation, albeit it took over 2 years of pleadings of innocence before they capitulated.
There is significant documentation showing the shameful way in which the NRA conducted itself on a sham trial of Dr Pizer, bullying him for over 2 years, largely at the behest of Mercer, covered up by the Chairman, Trustees and Iain Robertson (NRA Safety, Legal & Technical Officer). We are in the process of going through many documents and will publish more in due course. Sadly they show how the NRA has lost its way, allowing certain individuals to act so reprehensibly and dishonestly, without any oversight from Trustees. This is one of the reasons of why this website currently remains anonymous.
In the meantime the link to the recent NRA Disciplinary Appeal Committee decision, where the unanimous decision was that the “original decision of the disciplinary panel should be quashed” can be found here.
Unfortunately the majority of the issues at the NRA all lead back to the CEO. These include:
- Missing opportunities to expand outside Bisley
- Failing to promote target shooting throughout the country
- Bringing Disrepute to the Charity
- Unwanted attention from the Charity Commission
- Wasting significant funds on questionable legal costs
This individual appears to have a history of unsettling the charities he works for. See below.
NRA Employees review the Charity online, calling the NRA “Toxic”, “Arrogant”, “management take part in scheduled competitions and then cheat”, “Basic management principles not met”… click here for full details.
Does the NRA take members for fools with their spun response 7.02.2020 to the updated Charity Commission report?
Further to the Charity Commission report the National Rifle Association issued a Press Release on their website on 7th February 2020 which, like all NRA communication was mostly ‘spin’. We look at comments from the Charity Commission and respective extracts from the NRA Press Release here.
Click any of the links below for more information.