The Attorney General of New York is trying to get rid of the National Rifle Association, not by prosecuting them, but by outright dissolving the organization via civil suite, including taking their assets to distribute to charities as the state of New York sees fit. The Summons also asks to bar them from soliciting or collecting funds and void transactions entered into or proposed by defendants.
Also, the complaint they filed has exactly 666 allegations!
How and why?
How: New York can get away with this because the NRA was chartered in New York and can’t just reincorporate in another state, but to gain the permission of the Attorney General to dissolve and transfer its assets. They are doing this via civil suite because the threshold for guilt is lowered “from ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ to ‘a preponderance of the evidence.’”
Why: The leadership has been accused by people within the gun community and the NRA itself of using the NRA as a personal piggy bank and appropriating funds for their personal use. Since it appears likely that a good amount of this could be shown with “a preponderance of the evidence” the leadership has not only exposed themselves but the entirety of the NRA to punishment, including total dissolution and confiscation of assets.
For this reason, many in the gun community are cheering on the death of the NRA! They are cutting of their nose to spite their face.
“Look, guys, the largest 2A lobbying organization in the country being dissolved is great for us! Bloomberg won’t be totally uncontested in that space now, because we like to pretend that Southern Valley Gun Enthusiasts sending one letter a year to their local state comptroller can just slide right in and take over for the NRA.
“Also, the only nationwide training certification organization going down will be nothing but great for gun owners. Not to mention all those ranges closing because they just lost the entity that provided them the start-up loan and insurance!
“But most of all, what we really want to celebrate here is that a rabidly anti-gun state can ultimately succeed at dismantling a nationwide organization when their other attempts – such as prohibiting insurers licensed in the state from doing business with the organization – fail. That’s the kind of power we want anti-gun states to have.”
There are complaints, of course, by people who think the NRA does nothing, always caves, and otherwise doesn’t push hard enough for gun rights. This ignores that the NRA is more than just fighting political fights and has the breadth, history, and prestige that no other organization has.
How bad is this?
“Organizations such as NRA, that grade votes and communicate overall grades nationally, absolutely have an impact on both votes and getting politicians on topic. Lobbying organizations like NRA tell politicians when a vote is graded beforehand when it’s something very important (like voting against UBCs) — and politicians impacted by the grade will ask if they think the vote is graded and haven’t been told (i.e. politicians that might vote in our favor ARE worried about voting right). Even if NY doesn’t dissolve NRA, freezing its assets likely completely removes NRA as a factor in the first legislative session of 2021.
“That doesn’t just cripple the corrupt morons like Wayne, it cripples the passionate and effective people that work at NRA now. Do you honestly think those people will be able to find a new organization to move to, move to it, and establish themselves enough to have a voice in less than a year? What organization would you propose? Don’t so GAO, I can only laugh so hard.
“Even ignoring all that, a politician using the courts to dissolve a political opponent would be an extremely frightening precedent we do not want. It would be one thing if the AG went after the bad actors (who they clearly named!) and required the NRA’s board to appoint new people and report on solving the problem. Attempting to dissolve the organization is different and way worse. What’s to stop a well placed Republican from dissolving Planned Parenthood over the actions of identified executives that are equally replaceable to NRAs?”
Furthermore, no other organization has the resources that the NRA has.
“Just to be clear about the situation: Freezing the assets of NRA as an organization appears in the complaint. Given how slow the wheels of justice turn, this very likely puts NRA 100% out of commission for the first legislative session of 2021. NRA was the only organization dealing with federal legislation effectively. GOA delivers a lot of red meat but little else. SAF only deals with fighting legislation that has already been enacted.”
Even if the NRA isn’t dissolved, frozen assets would mean the NRA wouldn’t be there to stop new legislation in 2021 or longer if this really drags on.
If the NRA is dissolved, its assets would be given away to charities with the “mission set forth in the NRA’s certificate of incorporation”.
“If they get dissolved, NY takes all their assets including branding and holds it hostage, carves it up and gives it away. Imagine bankruptcy court. You said “gun safety” was a mission? Here’s this non-profit called ‘Everytown’ that has same mission in their name; let’s give any excess assets to them”.
“So maybe starting up in another state would be possible after they’re cleared to use the trademark, and they’ll start from zero-dollar bank account, with a near complete loss of institutional knowledge, and I’ll be one of the first to join, but it would suck – that’s not the ideal path here.”
Oh, they’ll also have a full list of the NRA’s members and information the NRA has on said members.
So, yes, now is the time to hit the panic button.
The complaint can be read below:
People of the State of New York v. The National Rifle Association by ThePoliticalHat on Scribd