The National Rifle Association has revoked the credentials of Texas-based NRA Senior Training Counselor and Chief Range Safety Officer Fredd Bergman after he used off-color language during a phone call with members of NRA’s Training Department.
To be clear, Bergman’s credentials were not withdrawn for swearing in front of students. They were yanked after he used some salty language during a call that he said involved “discrepancies and unwritten procedures that have been adopted by the department without genuine regard for Training Counselor business, consistency and the code of conduct in general.”
Bergman called Training about two key concerns: the newly enforced mandatory minimum of four students before an instructor class can be conducted, and issues with an assistant instructor student who had to retake a Pistol Instructor course.
“During this rambling, disjointed and profane phone call you admitted to having not conducted the pre-course qualification for this student, and that you had simply accepted her Basics of Pistol Shooting certificate with a Level 4 qualification,” NRA Training Department Manager Brett Simon wrote in the letter revoking Bergman’s credentials. “Finally, you stated to one of the staff ‘It’s your invitation to shut the fuck up now.’ This statement was witnessed by five separate Training Department staff, including myself.”
Bergman disputes Simon’s characterization of the reasons for the call, but he does not dispute dropping an F-bomb. He said the Training staffers were screaming at him as well during the call.
“They were yelling over each other,” he said. “They were climbing over the top of each other to yell at me.”
Punishment was swift.
“Due to your ongoing derogatory conduct toward NRA staff in emails and telephone conversations, this most recent infraction combined with the admission to not upholding NRA policy is cause for grave concern. The Education and Training Division no longer has confidence that you are capable of proper conduct as a Training Counselor,” Simon wrote in the letter. “In light of the situation, the NRA Training Department has revoked your status as an NRA Certified Instructor and Training Counselor.”
Bergman strongly disputes admitting to any policy violation or to not upholding policy.
“They’re lying about that,” he said.
This isn’t his first clash with training. Not too long ago, Bergman received an email stating that his credentials were suspended, but after talking through the issues with Training he was quickly reinstated.
Eric Frohardt, NRA’s director of Training and Education, said in a statement that Bergman was a “good training counselor for many years.”
“That is why his recent erratic behavior was deeply concerning,” Frohardt wrote. “Our trainers are on the frontlines representing our Association and we will always work hard to ensure that we continue to deliver the best training to all.”
If the delicate snowflakes in Training were offended by Bergman’s F-bomb, perhaps they should realize that sometimes this is how men talk.
And perhaps they shouldn’t screw up so often.
Remember, these are the same folks who brought us the blended training debacle, because they thought it would be a good idea for students to learn basic pistol skills from a computer rather than a live instructor.
Bergman also pointed out, rightfully, that the Training staff forget that the instructors are their customers, and that the staff work for the customers.
“They’re acting more like an enforcement organization,” he said. “I challenge their ridiculousness and their answer is to boot me?”
This is a common theme among many of the Training Counselors and instructors I speak to about the Training Division.
They’re tired of the way they’re being treated.
It’s not hard to understand the root cause.
There are about a dozen folks in the Training Department, but there are more than 100,000 instructors.
That is a recipe for disaster.
Bergman is only the latest instructor to draw Training’s ire.
And he is the wrong guy to be disciplined for bruising a couple of egos.
Look at his bio. He’s a a seasoned Training Counselor with a host of certifications, appointments and accomplishments and volunteerism, including “serving as Chairman of Alamo Area Friends of National Rifle Association for five years, as well as a delegate on the NRA Foundation South Texas Grant Fund Committee. He performed as NRA Institute for Legislative Action’s Election Volunteer Coordinator for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District 2003-2012.”
He’s also an Army veteran — a disabled veteran — which should still mean something to the good folks on Waples Mill Road.
I hope that cooler heads prevail in this matter.
I’ve sent this story to all NRA board members, who I hope will take swift action since I’m sure this isn’t an isolated case.
Bergman’s credentials need to be restored — period.
He’s spent 20 years advocating for the Second Amendment, training students and instructors, and raising funds for worthy causes such as the NRA Foundation.
He deserves another chance.
And it appears that a couple Training staffers need to be reminded that the membership does not work for them. They work for the membership.