NRA Disinvites USCCA from Annual Meetings and Exhibits

Last week, the National Rifle Association disinvited the United States Concealed Carry Association from the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits.

I was a bit taken aback by this.  I have an affinity for the NRA and it’s no secret that USCCA is one of GunsAmerica’s great partners (You should check out our “Should I Shoot?” collaboration, a series that discusses all the what-ifs concealed carriers face on a daily basis).  So, like a small child caught in the crossfire when Mom is yelling at Dad for seemingly no reason, it left me wondering what was behind the abrupt decision approximately two weeks out from the big show.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.  Tim Schmidt, the Founder and President of USCCA, had a similar reaction.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little perplexed myself. The truth is, I don’t really know the motive behind the NRA’s move. I mean, the USCCA has ALWAYS had a great relationship with the NRA. And the way I see it, we’re all in this together,” Schmidt said.

USCCA said the two groups had met twice over the past few months to discuss the shared goals of each organization.  Everything seemed to be fine until it suddenly wasn’t.

“If I had to guess, I’d say that perhaps this is a strategic business maneuver,” added Schmidt. “I mean, the concealed carry market has really exploded over the last decade — just look at how long the USCCA has been around! Maybe the NRA recognizes us as the frontrunner in providing the absolute best education, training and self-defense insurance in the industry. And perhaps they’re starting to see us less as a partner and more as a competitor.”

Bingo!  There it is.  It’s about money.  USCCA is uber successful.  They’re doing really, really well.  They’ve grown leaps and bounds over the past several years to the point where they now have hundreds of thousands of members. The reason USCCA is so successful is because they provide a great service.  Funny how the free market works.  You offer a great service.  People will sign up for it en masse.

NRA took notice of their success and, as Schmidt indicated, began to see them as a friendly competitor instead of a cherished partner.

“Thank you for contacting us. It was a business decision,” said the NRA in response to inquiries.  “We’re launching what our members want in NRA Carry Guard. Please visit for more information. Thank you for your support!”

USCCA is definitely taking the high road in this situation.  There’s no doubt that Schmidt and his team had already spent money on airfare, travel, and logistics for the meetings in Atlanta.  With such short notice, I wonder how costly it was for them to cancel their show plans.  Yet, despite this, Schmidt has promised to continue to support NRA.

“As much as it sort of stings that we got ‘booted’ from the NRA Show, I believe that this sort of competition is a good, healthy and even exciting thing — especially from a goliath like the NRA,” observed Schmidt.

“Whether or not the NRA supports us, we will continue to support them,” Schmidt said. “We will continue to believe in their mission. We will continue to respect the historical significance of what they have done to preserve and protect our God-given rights. And we will always support their legislative and lobbying efforts. I personally will continue to donate to the NRA as a proud Lifetime Member.”

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Edward Glenn April 29, 2017, 11:47 am

    I emailed the NRA to protest this move, and that I will have to rethink membership renewal, which expires 12-17. Their response should be interesting. I did opt out of their incessant notices so I don’t get mail, or email, unless I contact them. This can be done under your membership account settings, if I remember correctly. I did this several years ago, and the mailings stopped. I’ve been a NRA member over 65 years.

  • SNAFU April 29, 2017, 1:15 am

    USCCA has been growing and increasing revenues. The NRA has been selling various insurance products for years and decided to compete for that business instead of giving it away.
    Competition is good. If they offer a good product that can get some of that market, more power to them. The only beef I have with the NRA is the high pressure approach they use to shove stuff at you.

  • Randy V April 28, 2017, 11:25 pm

    As I said earlier, I disagree with the way the NRA handled the situation with Tim at USCCA. I also agree USCCA’s email (5-today alone) is a big pain in the butt however, we can all learn something from the way Tim has handled himself and remains a firm supporter and believer in the NRA. Tim’s a smart man and knows if it were not for the NRA chances are there wouldn’t be a USCCA. We need all the help we can get so let not throw the baby out with the bath water because of a mistake made. I’m sure we’ve all made our share but what’s important is we learn from it. Let’s also not forget, chances are if it were not for the help of the NRA we would be dealing with another Clinton / Obama in the White House. This is no time to divide and conquer but a time to join hands for the protection of our 2nd Amendment. If not, WE ALL LOSE.

  • Just1Spark April 28, 2017, 6:50 pm

    The NRA are lobbyists. lol And the chickens are slowly coming home to roost.
    There are rights and there are privileges.

    You were born with your rights.
    And when you contract someone to fight for those rights for you (like a lobbyist) you just forfeit your rights, and they then become only privileges. Should the legislation not pass in your favor (no matter how hard your lobbyist tried) you have no recourse.

    • Hydguy April 29, 2017, 5:22 pm

      Huh.. guess we didn’t have rights until the FFs ‘bestowed’ them on us, huh?

      Get out of here with your garbage

  • PaulWVa April 28, 2017, 6:28 pm

    Having received this months American Rifleman (NRA) magazine I now get it. I couldn’t figure out why the NRA would start this kind of infighting. Especially now after the victories we’ve won over the wacko leftists in the last year. The NRA is bringing out there ground breaking “new”, never seen before program of CCW insurance. Yeah right. Their day late and a dollar short program has less coverage and costs more. I belong to both organizations but I have to wait to see how this is handled before I renew any memberships in the future. If this turns out to be all about money and the NRA just not wanting the competition in the market, I will be VERY disappointed in them. This looks terrible from here. We must stand together against the Obamas and Clintons to come and this is very divisive and hurts the cause for everyone.

    • eva April 30, 2017, 3:26 pm

      I have US law shield on myself, my husband and 15yr old son. very happy with them.

    • Joel F May 7, 2017, 12:06 pm

      I agree with you Paulwva The NRA has been good at defending the 2ND amendment, but for them to dump USCCA a supporter still is wrong WE are all in this together I thought.

  • Tom April 28, 2017, 2:15 pm

    I got on board with USCCA when they first kicked off, but got so very tired of their constant emails and snail mailings about this gimmick or that. Their win a free gun contest was a ruse I think to pick up more members. However, What USCCA does is smart business and while many of us find it extremely annoying to get swamped by the constant emailing and such, we probably have not expressed our dissatisfaction over these issues collectively. So in fairness to Tim at USCCA, we need to speak as one and simply let them know that one email or possibly two per month or when something new that we NEED to know comes up or out is quite sufficient.
    On the other hand, the NRA is about as heavy handed as the Jack Booted Thugs they supposedly fight against in Congress. However a good personal friend was recently elected to Congress, He IS a hardcore 2nd Amendment supporter and believer. He and I were talking not long ago about the NRA’s lobbying and what he said was disheartening to put it mildly. The leadership at the NRA rake in millions each year off members AND through special programs from the very government they supposedly fight against.
    I am a card carrying member of the NRA and now a former member of USCCA. However, that will likely reverse now that I know the NRA leadership ARE NO different than the very ones they espouse to fight against in the halls of Congress. The one thing I can’t stand in anyone is hypocrisy and for the leaders at the NRA to be schmoozing and butt kissing politicians is very distasteful. USCCA is also annoying in all the soliciting they do and as of yet, I have not seen or heard of any under the table dealing from Tim as the NRA does on a regular basis. I have not actually realized any major differences between the USCCA,NRA or the GOA.
    The one thing that is a constant and what I think we all should be acutely aware of, IF the NRA is truly working backroom deals and compromising the 2nd in any way we should hold them accountable immediately and completely. The same goes for the other two orgs as well. IF we don’t like the constant solicitations from the organizations then we need to speak in one or a unified voice and tell them so. Once their membership numbers begin to decline, they will change their focus back on the members and how to retain them other than through gimmicks and sales scams.
    The NRA has gotten far too politically correct, they HAVE compromised too many times the 2nd Amendment protections and it’s time for a real change in leadership with them. USCCA and GOA are still relatively new in comparison, both have come on very strong and have gotten stronger and to date, as far as I know they both have stayed solid in fighting for 2nd Amendment protections. But I also recognize that in order to stay viable all have to schmooze to a certain extent. It’s just when I found out that Soros actually sits on the boards of several gun and or ammo related companies and knowing what we do about him and the NRA has NOT done anything about that my red flags scream to full attention.
    All three organizations are still worth our support I believe and at the same time, all three need to be more open to us and understanding in our desires to NOT be bombarded with gimmicks, solicitations and massive amounts of email and snail mail intrusions.
    It was flat wrong and bad form for the NRA to wait until this close to their convention to dis-invite USCCA for the sake of business. That was just flat stupid business on their part. IF they are not fearful of competition then open the freaking doors to the USCCA at the convention and let the MEMBERS decide on which plans they like best…It’s not up to the Board of Directors at the NRA, USCCA or GOA to decide what is best or desired of it’s members. So to Wayne at the NRA shame on you for such underhanded practices. Do the right thing and admit you are afraid of USCCA’s competition and that it was a mistake to do them the way you did. Invite them or pay for their travel arrangement cancellations and booth space fees. But better still admit you screwed the pooch in this action and extend your hands of apology for the screw up and GLADLY welcome Tim and USCCA back to the Convention and let the M E M B E R S decide what is best for US.

    • Douglas Neal April 29, 2017, 9:32 am

      Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments and thoughts on this. You put into words what so many of us are thinking. Unfortunately, I have felt like the NRA has just become an Inside the beltway behemoth. I personally quit my membership in that org. And have thrown my support at the NAGR. Thanks again for your eloquence!

    • Greg May 1, 2017, 8:02 am

      You lump the GOA in with the NRA and USCCA which I believe is wrong. I’m life NRA member but no longer support them because of their compromise attitude. The USCCA turned me off because of their excessive membership gimmicks, it makes me think the money is more important than it’s members or gun rights.
      I am a GOA member, they don’t pound me with emails, I receive a monthly snail mail and action alert emails that make it easy to contact my Senators and Reps. The GOA believes in “Shall not be infringed”, the NRA believes “half a loaf is better than none”. I think the NRA has hung out with the Wine and Cheese tasting crowd in DC to long and have lost sight of who they once were. The USCCA is an infomercial, they are good at marketing, I expect a late night or Sunday infomercial soon. They might provide a service but they are annoying.
      Having said all that I think the the dissing of the USCCA by the NRA is all about the money, you would think both orgs working for the same thing would tolerate each others existence and work together occasionally. The NRA made it easy for the USCCA to take the high ground and they did, but from where I’m sitting it just looks like a fight over money.
      Korea was a compromise, nobody is happy, that’s why I support the GOA.

  • mrpski April 28, 2017, 1:05 pm

    I am a fan of any legitimate organization that supports the shooting & hunting communities. I backed away from the USCCA only because I resent all the persistent and sometimes obnoxious emails. Enough said

    • James April 28, 2017, 2:04 pm

      Then why didn’t you just unsubscribe? it’s a simple thing to do.

    • Mark Robinson April 28, 2017, 2:21 pm

      Enough said? Sounds like someone has a closed mind. I guess the NRA never sends you junk mail asking you to renew. As for emails from USCCA, while I do agree that their numerous daily spam lowers my opinion of the company, I also know how to use my spam filter. Even without using the spam filter, I guess clicking on “delete” is just too much effort for some people.

      I was about to renew my subscription to the NRA, but after this petty and divisive tactic, I will NEVER renew unless and until the NRA issues a formal, public apology to ALL those who were affected and reinvites ALL to attend their show. Is there anything more “American” than freemarket competition? We have choices for other types of insurance. If the NRA is trying to stifle competitors, then I can only assume it is because the competition is offering a superior product that the NRA doesn’t want you to know about.

      • PaulWVa April 28, 2017, 6:32 pm

        Agree ….Mark. This may turn out to be the worst self inflicted black eye that the NRA has ever done. As a 40+ year NRA member I can say this is the most disappointed I’ve been in the NRA. Sad for all of us.

      • Hydguy April 29, 2017, 5:29 pm

        Mark: the NRA annual meeting is invite only for other companies. The NRA is free to disinvite anyone they chose, or to remove anyone in attendance.

        But freedom of association is only applicable if you say so, right?

  • Randy V April 28, 2017, 12:45 pm

    What’s most important is we don’t lose sight of the objective, The 2nd Amendment. There’s room for both organizations. Competition is healthy and keep businesses on their toes. I do agree the way the NRA handled this is wrong. This should have been dealt with on a one to one basis and resolve between them. Whomever at the NRA that decided to take this route needs to have his job reviewed and lessons on customer relations. That being said, I am also tiered of all the email (2-3 a day) I get from USCCA and have blocked their email until it slows down. I’m still a “Hugh Supporter” of both organizations but there’s always room for improvements in both houses. Lets hope they both work on it, kiss and make up.

  • jjkarn April 28, 2017, 12:33 pm

    The USCCA is a very good, very professional organization that provides valuable services. On the other hand, the NRA has turned into a bunch of fear-mongering drama queens (particularly under Wayne LaPerrier). Furthermore, the NRA has thrown gun owners under the bus far too many times by supporting anti-gun legislation (supposedly out of fear of getting something worse if they failed to collaborate). If I weren’t already an NRA life member, I’d cancel my membership or allow it to expire. As it is, they will never get another dime out of me, unless it is to pay for a class I need and can only get from them.

  • loupgarous April 28, 2017, 10:36 am

    NRA is a Congressionally-chartered organization. If I were USCCA, I’d be looking at ways to attack NRA’s Congressional charter. After all, the members of USCCA are almost entirely US citizens. Denying any US citizen in good standing the ability to exhibit at NRA functions because of a “business decision” on NRA runs counter to the whole concept of enjoying a Congressional charter.

    • James April 28, 2017, 2:08 pm

      Well said!

    • Don April 28, 2017, 4:20 pm

      The NRA(national rifle association) is not chartered by congress. The NRA(National Recovery Administration) established by congress in 1933 is.

  • Jon David McNabb April 28, 2017, 10:32 am

    Frankly, I was done with the NRA in the 80’s because of their wish/washy nature and their acceptance of certain gun control legislation. I look at the USCCA as a modern albeit busy brat that exists to handhold nervous people. Frankly they both suck compared to the GOA (Gun Owners of America)! The NRA was rude (nothing new there) and the USCCA was taken aback (get used to it from the NRA). It would be nice if both of the could get along but business is business.

  • Carl Carlson April 28, 2017, 10:07 am

    Its no big deal. why should a organization who is in the business of selling insurance want to invite a competitor to a function to sell their same type of product under their nose. I wouldn’t.

  • Michael Ruhl April 28, 2017, 10:03 am

    Found out why in new Rifleman –
    NRA is offering same kind of benefits protections as USCCA
    I’m sticking with USCCA

  • Randy April 28, 2017, 10:01 am

    As a one time member of the NRA and the Texas State Rifle Association (Life Member ) , I finally got so annoyed at the NRA for its constant mailings and phone calls begging for money that I gave up my membership. I am proud of the TSRA and its work , not so much of the NRA. Feels like they consider their members an ATM that they can hit up at random and often.

    • eva April 30, 2017, 3:45 pm

      competition is good. I have US Law Shield on myself, my husband and my 15 year old.

  • Ram6 April 28, 2017, 9:39 am

    I was a member of the NRA. I got tired of the constant pestering for renewals and extensions of my membership that I allowed it to lapse. I still get pestered. I am a member of the USCCA primarily for the insurance and attorneys list available to work with should I ever need one. I found the organization to be very professional and responsive. I am disappointed in the NRA for the high handed way in which they denied the USCCA space. Not a great way to do business with another defender of the 2nd amendment as we all need to stick together.

  • Bill Cochran April 28, 2017, 9:06 am

    NRA fund raising efforts have become more and more frantic, kind of like tax increases have. Now, like a mean dog biting family members, they have suddenly and unexpectedly placed themselves (us) at odds with an organization that was a partner and friend. I can’t help but wonder what comes next simply to generate cash flow. Maybe Bloomberg or Soros as “advisors” in exchange for donations?

  • Duane April 28, 2017, 9:05 am

    I had huge problems with uscca, so much so that I told all my shooting friends about my problems with them and determined never to join uscca never again.

    I am glad that the NRA is coming out with something competitive as an option for those who’ve had similar issues with uscca.

    When I read this article I had assumed that NRA’s disinvite of uscca came from marketplace shenanigans like those I had experienced, not from any other reason…

    Having experienced the unacceptable business practices I have from uscca, I would encourage anyone to check out NRA’s alternative:

    Publishing articles in the: should I shoot series, does not make up for unacceptable business practices from a company that knows better, but insists on doing the wrong thing anyway…

    • Mike Hawk April 28, 2017, 9:53 am

      Please Elaborate what you experienced…

    • Retiredextremelydangerous April 28, 2017, 11:34 am

      I have wondered if I was the only one to observe and experience USCCA? CarryGuard is a very nice addition to NRA.

    • bison1913 April 28, 2017, 12:07 pm

      These are my thoughts exactly. Hit the nail right on the head!

    • BluNos April 28, 2017, 12:16 pm

      Duane, you sound like a shill for the NRA. You state that you have had “huge problems” with USCCA, but do not enumerate them. Then you conveniently give the link to the NRA’s similar service.

    • Arnold Vagts April 28, 2017, 12:35 pm

      What business practices are you talking about? I have USCCA insurance and watch their training videos. I dropped my NRA membership because I am not into hunting or competitive shooting, only CCW self defense so USCCA is more appropriate for me. Pretty nasty of NRA attacking “competition”. I will no longer support the NRA!

    • Tom April 28, 2017, 1:47 pm

      It would be extremely helpful if you would elaborate on your negative experiences with USCCA instead of sounding like an NRA plant to stir up contention. No I am not saying you are a plant, I am saying your hit and run sounds like an NRA operation.

    • James April 28, 2017, 2:14 pm

      You’re being pretty vague here. How about siting your examples so the rest of us can judge for ourselves? If they are indeed indulging in poor business practices, I’m sure people other than me would like to be aware. Thanks!

  • jim April 28, 2017, 9:03 am

    Don’t get your panties in bunch, folks. This probably is only a purely business decision. The NRA has developed its own gun insurance called Carry Guard. Since that will place them in direct commercial competition with USCCA it’s a choice between getting USCCA exhibitor $$ or protecting their own brand. Business is business

    • eva April 30, 2017, 3:54 pm

      There are other concealed carry insurances out there. I read the uscca emails on what to do in different active shooter situations.
      However the insurance i carry is US Law Shield. the price is good, I have myself, my husband and my 15yr old. they cover attorney costs. I have also recently added the coverage they offer for bail bondsman and expert testimony.

  • Don T April 28, 2017, 8:52 am

    The liberals have to be loving this “friendly” competition!
    My experience is the NRA is kind of aggressive with it’s recruiting and USCCA is overly agressive to the point of annoying. I guess it’s working for them?

  • Doug Moss April 28, 2017, 8:23 am

    The NRA revoked my instructor credentials when they found out I was teaching the USCCA Concealed Carry and Home Defense course.

    • Edward Glenn April 28, 2017, 10:10 am

      Well, If the NRA and the USCCA can’t work together for our common good, maybe it’s time to rethink my membership in both. IMHO, it was flat wrong to disinvite the USCCA from the NRA meets.

  • Preston Thompson April 28, 2017, 8:19 am

    This reminds me of the politicians in Washington. What’s good for me is what I stand on, not what’s good for the nation. It’s all about self.

    • Tom April 28, 2017, 1:49 pm

      AMEN to that !

  • Edgar April 28, 2017, 8:17 am

    The NRA probably got tired of getting 2 emails a day from Tim Schmidt reminding them to enter for his gun drawings.
    I know I did.

    • Ike Haze April 28, 2017, 9:34 am

      Hahahaha! Exactly what I was thinking!

      • Edward Glenn April 28, 2017, 10:12 am

        What? You haven’t won a gun, yet? Neither have I.

    • John E. Thomas April 28, 2017, 11:58 am

      There’s not much difference in getting the register to win a gun e-mail than getting a membership renewal letter in the mail every 45 days or so. I pay my membership at the first of the year and I personally don want to be bothered the rest of the year. By the way, how many thousands of dollars does the NRA spend on these constant renewal letters. I think their money could be spent wiser.
      John E. Thomas

  • Howard L Twinin April 28, 2017, 7:58 am

    This is a poor way to treat a partner in the fight to keep us safe and protecting our rights.
    Yes the NRA is losing money due to the USCCA efforts but that’s business.
    The priory needs to remain fight of the gun grabbers not each other. this sounds like a RNC playbook idea.
    I sure hope we are not are driving a wall between two very good principled groups. That will make both of them weaker.

    • Mike Hawk April 28, 2017, 9:57 am

      Well put

  • Z April 28, 2017, 7:50 am

    Little sorry, very little.
    But for me USCCA is a pyramid scheme only !
    I signed with them few years ago and immediately kicked them out.
    Probably Bloomberg new hidden agenda …

    • Mike Hawk April 28, 2017, 10:02 am

      Hidden agenda….hahaha you’re a fool Z! The NRA does a terrible job doing background checks for their instructors. Maybe because they’re desperate to find instructors that they don’t care if they hire felons. True story with proof to back it. (Mic drop)

      • Hydguy April 29, 2017, 5:37 pm


        The NRA isn’t legally allowed to conduct criminal background checks on people.
        And last I checked, NICS is only allowed for firearms transactions.

        But cool story bro…

  • Steve April 28, 2017, 7:47 am

    I am really disappointed in the NRA for this decision. Yes, I am a USCCA member and will stay one simply because of the childish way the NRA handled this situation. The NRA knew well in advance that they were rolling out this new product, but they had already agreed to booth space for USCCA. As you stated, USCCA had already committed resources and scheduling for this event. Next year I could see the NRA not allowing the USCCA, but totally inappropriate the way it was handled this year. That is one reason I will remain with USCCA land I really appreciate the way Tim Schmicht has handled this.

    Additionally, one of the leaders in the firearm industry , Andrew Branca, was also caught in the crossfire. Mr. Branca is an attorney who has written the best seller “The Law of Self-Defense” and has been an invited speaker at the NRA previously. He is been supportive and somewhat associated with USCCA and he to has been denied a booth at the convention! Furthermore, the NRA would not even extend him the courtesy of a phone call. Me. Branca is also a Lifetime member and benefactor of the NRA.

    It is really disappointing for a Big Boy like the NRA to turn its back on such loyal partners in our collective effort in the support of firearms and the 2nd Amendment when they have no problem soliciting others for time, money, and help when they feel they need it. Shame on the NRA.

  • NT Sims April 28, 2017, 7:33 am

    The amount of mail and phone calls from NRA soliciting money is insane. You join and in a week you get pestered to death to renew. It never stops. It’s ridiculous. Take that massive amount of marketing/soliciting budget and put it into education and other useful 2A programs.

  • Jon Linville April 28, 2017, 7:10 am

    Personally, I see this move by the NRA to be financially motivated. I’m a Lifetime Member of the NRA, and am concerned about this move, and the core reason for it to happen. To me, this means that I will be buried in advertisements and robocalling about why I haven’t paid for one of the CarryGuard memberships, and how I’ll wind up in court or worse without paying this monthly membership fee. I’m medically retired and on a fixed income, and am unable to pay for this new “benefit”.

    I will continue to be a Lifetime Member of the NRA, but highly question their motives with this move.

  • Justin M April 28, 2017, 6:58 am

    Sad, but not terribly sad. I have long been looking for a good alternative to the NRA, and USCCA has been filling that need for me. I still donate to ‘Friends of the NRA’ since I believe in the mission statement for that group, but the current leadership of Wayne LaPierre at the NRA proper means they won’t get my money or support. It’s nice to have the option to support an organization that more closely mirrors my values, and this move is just a sign to me that USCCA is gaining enough traction to be relevant and a good investment for my donation dollars.

  • Eric Shrader April 28, 2017, 6:55 am

    As a life member of both the NRA and USCCA, what is the NRA smoking? Rivalry or unhealthy competition is ugly and has no place for those of us that support the U S Constitution.

  • Tj April 28, 2017, 4:26 am

    Well as Chris Tucker said in Rush Hour 2 “Follow the white rich man”. I think competition is healthy and I support both organizations. I will say that USCCA has an advantage, they don’t beg for money as the NRA does.
    ” A Hero Remembered Never Dies”

    • Hydguy April 29, 2017, 5:40 pm

      I get emails from them constantly begging for money.

      But I don’t get much of anything other than ILR alerts from the NRA…

      And I’m a life member, so it’s not like they can’t find me

      • Mike S May 6, 2017, 9:22 am

        Considering all your snide posts on this subject, you should be more honest with your name. It should be NRAguy. You’re so damned obvious, it’s almost funny.

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