The National Rifle Association announced Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to reincorporate in Texas in the latest chapter of its ongoing problems with the State of New York.
The organization filed its motion with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division and will reorganize the association as a nonprofit in the Lone Star State, TheGunMag.com is reporting. NRA has been incorporated in New York State since it was founded in 1871.
News of the action raced across the Internet and newswires. According to CNN, “New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit last summer accusing the NRA’s senior leadership of violating laws governing nonprofit groups and using millions of dollars from the organization’s reserves for personal use and tax fraud. James responded to the group’s bankruptcy announcement Friday, saying: “The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt.”
The announcement came in a message posted at the NRA’s website in which NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre asserts much of the organization’s problems are attributable to “the toxic political environment of New York.”
Reacting to the NRA’s announcement, Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
“I’m sorry to see the NRA filing for bankruptcy at a time when our gun rights are under the greatest assault,” Gottlieb stated. “I want to assure the gun rights community that the Second Amendment Foundation and CCRKA are not only financially stable but are in a growth period at this critical time.”
SAF and NRA have cooperated in the past on various legal actions and are currently involved as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, Washington for violating that state’s preemption statute.
As reported by the Washington Times, “The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom,” said Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president and CEO. “This is a transformational moment in the history of the NRA.”
In his message to members, LaPierre wrote, “We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas.” There are some 400,000 NRA members in Texas.
To reassure NRA members about the financial stability of the organization, LaPierre wrote, “You know that our opponents will try to seize upon this news and distort the truth. Don’t believe what you read from our enemies. The NRA is not ‘bankrupt’ or ‘going out of business.’ The NRA is not insolvent. We are as financially strong as we have been in years.”
NRA has been under attack from NYAG James for more than a year, and she sued last August. James had actually vowed on the campaign trail to go after the organization and take it down.
LaPierre’s message insists “today’s announcement makes us bigger, stronger and more prepared for the fight for freedom.”
“We are leaving the state of an attorney general who, just a few months ago, vowed to put us out of business through an abuse of legal and regulatory power,” he says. “In fact, the gross overreach of the New York Attorney General and New York Governor has been resoundingly criticized by powerful national groups like the ACLU and a host of prominent legal scholars.”
“Under this plan,” LaPierre explained, “we seek protection from New York officials who illegally abused and weaponized the powers they wield against the NRA and its members. You can be assured the Association will continue the fight to protect your interests in New York – and all forums where the NRA is unlawfully singled out for its Second Amendment advocacy.
LaPierre’s message acknowledges this move is “subject to court approval.”
“We have no immediate plans to relocate,” LaPierre stated, “but we are forming a special committee to explore our strategic options in this regard.”
NRA headquarters is in Fairfax, Va.
“The NRA will continue to promote its Second Amendment advocacy, sponsor firearms training, and work with its network of instructors and volunteers in furtherance of its mission,” LaPierre’s message assures. “This plan actually streamlines all of the NRA’s activities and improves our operational processes.”
Parts of this story also appear in TheGunMag under Dave Workman’s byline. He is editor-in-chief of that publication.
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