Liberty Report contributor and Patriot News Podcast host Michael Cummings took some time to sit down with Willes Lee of the NRA Board of Directors. With the NRA elections in Dallas and left always attacking liberty, it is important to have strong leadership on the Board of Directors. The United States faces threats to the First, Second, Fourth, and Tenth Amendments constantly. Willes has a strong background in defending the Consitution. He is passionate about defending the Second Amendment.
Mike: Willes, thank you for taking the time to sit down for an interview.
Willes: Thank you Mike, and a shout out to LibertyReport.co for having me as the first NRA Board member interview.
Mike: How long have you served as an NRA Board member?
Willes: It was an honor to move onto the National Rifle Association of America Board of Directors when a vacancy occurred in January 2017. Three months later, many of your friends and readers helped elect me for a two-year term. Thank you. I’ll ask for help again for the 2019 Board elections.
A Little History
Mike: Tell us a little about how you became involved with firearms. Was it from a young age or a bit later in life?
Willes: As an Army brat growing up on military bases in Europe, I went hunting with my father. The military and firearms were a constant in my life; through my teens, at West Point, and during an Army career as primarily an Armor officer. I have an affinity for “big” guns, such as the M1 tank’s 120mm smoothbore cannon. What I didn’t have until later in life was the time to focus specifically on the Second Amendment and firearms. Now, with constant attacks on our civil rights, I never have enough range time, ever. One reason I do this Board work is so that everyone else has time to devote to their particular firearms interest.
Mike: How did you become involved with the NRA?
Willes: Interestingly, it wasn’t through shooting. The shooting was a normal, routine family activity. It was after high school when I woke to the political fight over the Second Amendment. I join the NRA for a year because in my naivety I thought this was plain stupid – how could anyone be confused about the affirmation of God-given rights in the Second? That led to a five-year membership, which led to Life, and more. Now, I’m here with you.
Willes Lee- LTC and NRA Board Member
Mike: Can you explain your decision process the first time you ran for a board position?
Willes: Sort of. I was raised to serve, my entire family did. That is different, good, story. Several years ago, as a GOP state party chairman and RNC member, I connected with some NRA leadership. The NRA President offered and appointed me to an NRA Committee. That became multiple committees and the call to serve kicked in. Running for a Board seat is a big decision. The role is important, but the election as a grassroots candidate not specifically from the firearms community is daunting. We’ll discuss the election process another time. That first year, I placed high enough on the “loser’s list” to move onto the Board, then was elected on the second attempt. I want to do better in next year’s election because, and I say this humbly for our readers to tell if I am incorrect, I am well-serving all facets of our membership, the NRA, and the Second Amendment. However, must add, to do this “job” right, it is a lot of hard, time-consuming work, and this volunteer life gets very expensive. When you’re around committed people such as Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox, and Josh Powell, you want to have their back.
Understanding One’s Political Opponent
Mike: With all the political rage against the NRA, how does the Board and leadership plan to use the anger of the left to its advantage?
Willes: The NRA represents our five million members and 120 million firearms owners and all Second Amendment supporters. They, one-third of our nation, are leading the movement against anti-gun billionaires, politicians, and judges because their, our, civil rights are being infringed. On the legislative side of the house, we help find and elect candidates, organize to support good legislation and to fight against bad, and constantly keep supporters informed. Our ILA folks are incredible, especially in such a divisive environment these days. That’s my comfort zone, mostly, because I came here from the political world.
But, don’t lose sight that the NRA does so much more than legislative work. Two-thirds of the NRA effort is education, safety, competitions, hunting, training, conservation, shooting sports, and more. The NRA remains the Gold Standard in all things Second Amendment. I love and work with all our 2A brothers, but no one else, no one, can claim that.
Mike: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me. I look forward to talking with you again soon.
Willes: Always. Next go-around we can dig deeper into issues and positions.
The NRA is, collectively, ours. If you support the Second Amendment and if you believe in civil rights but are NOT an NRA member, then you are hurting the movement. Thank you.
You elected Willes Lee to the NRA Board of Directors, where he serves on five committees. Willes is a co-chairman of the Trump-Pence Second Amendment Coalition. He is President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, and on the American Conservative Union Foundation Board, hosts of CPAC. Lee is a retired Army combat veteran, a West Point graduate, an Airborne-Ranger Armor officer. Willes is running for Board reelection in 2019.