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Is New York Really Going to Get Rid of the NRA?

The topic of the second amendment and gun rights has been a hot one over the last few decades. While there are many opinions on either side of the argument, there are organizations that have been created in order to uphold different amendments. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a long history in the United States. It was founded during the reconstruction period after the Civil War with the intention to improve marksmanship. In 2021, the NRA has expanded and developed its mission statement into “the heart of the NRA Foundation’s mission is preserving the core of our American values and traditions in our steadfast effort to Teach Freedom” (NRA Foundation). This simply means that on top of educating members of the NRA on firearm safety, the foundation also actively works to protect and uphold the second amendment. The NRA Foundation is a “501 (c) (3)” nonprofit that was started in the 1990s. “501 (c) (3)” is defined as a “particular nonprofit organization has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization.” (Foundation Group) Having the status of a nonprofit and charitable organization, the NRA Foundation is able to “raise millions of dollars to fund gun safety and educational projects of benefit to the general public.” (NRA)

Since August of 2020, the NRA has been facing legal action. The New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA. AG James filed to disband the NRA as a whole as well as specific charges to specific individuals within the organization. James is pressing charges against the organization because of the “diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty.” (NYS Attorney General) James’ press release took place in 2020 and details many different examples in support of the charges. 

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The NRA responds to the attorney general’s case with an attempt to have the case dismissed. The dismissal of the case was rejected by Judge Joel Cohen. The NRA responded by claiming that they are going to move the organization to Texas and that in the state of New York “elected officials have weaponized the legal and regulatory powers they wield to penalize the Association and its members for purely political purposes.” (Politico) While all of this was taking place, the NRA was taking legal action in other areas as well. In January of 2021, the NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 is commonly known as the “reorganization bankruptcy” which in most cases allows the “debtor [to] remain “in possession,” has the powers and duties of a trustee, may continue to operate its business, and may, with court approval, borrow new money. (US Courts). Statements have been released by the NRA in which they defend the bankruptcy as a steppingstone on their road to Texas. Experts have responded to the NRA’s bankruptcy as merely a tactic “to delay, consolidate or fend off legal challenges, including the lawsuit by New York attorney general Letitia James, says John Pottow, a bankruptcy law professor at the University of Michigan.” (USA Today). 

As of May 11, 2021, the bankruptcy case was not falling in favor of the NRA. A federal judge dismissed the bankruptcy case brought forth by the NRA. The decision was made on the basis of the bankruptcy case because it was “not filed… in good faith.” (NPR) The judge continued to support his decision by saying “that using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem was not a permitted use of bankruptcy.” (NPR) The NRA was not happy with the outcome of this ruling and is still actively fighting against Attorney General James and are still trying to relocate to Texas. Executives of the organization have stated that “there is no change in the overall direction of our Association, its programs, or its Second Amendment advocacy... The NRA will keep fighting, as we've done for 150 years." (NPR)

The case that has been filed by the New York Attorney General is one that is still ongoing. James has not let up in her efforts to dissolve the NRA due to its alleged executive and financial corruption. This is a case that is still developing, but as it is currently, the NRA is quickly approaching its legal judgment day.

Sources 

(Foundation Group) https://www.501c3.org/frequently-asked-questions-2/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-501c3-organization/

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/11/995934682/judge-dismisses-nra-bankruptcy-case-heightening-risk-for-dissolution-of-group

https://home.nra.org/about-the-nra/

https://www.nrafoundation.org/about-us/

https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/summons_and_complaint_1.pdf

https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2020/attorney-general-james-files-lawsuit-dissolve-nra

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/01/21/judge-refuses-to-dismiss-new-york-ags-lawsuit-against-nra-1359159 

https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-11-bankruptcy-basics

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/01/28/nra-bankruptcy-national-rifle-association-chapter-11/6657581002/

My name is Gwenevere Ash, I am an English Major at Central Washington University. I have a cat named Luci and I love Parks and Recreation.
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