NRA Hits Back With Federal Lawsuits
Written by Guest Contributor,
in Section Gun Politics
Asserting that New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association is “motivated and substantially caused by her hostility toward the NRA’s political advocacy,” the association has filed a countersuit in federal court and is asking for a jury trial.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney William A. Brewer III of New York in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany.
The 19-page lawsuit names James as the only defendant, both in her official capacity and, significantly, as an individual. But the lawsuit clearly has other targets, not the least of which are New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, anti-gun billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun prohibition lobbying group.
“To create air cover for their campaign against the NRA (which had begun to attract bipartisan criticism),” the federal lawsuit alleges, “Cuomo and James coordinated actively with Everytown for Gun Safety (“Everytown”). Richly endowed by Michael Bloomberg, Everytown is an activist organization whose explicit political mission is to oppose the NRA.”
As if to underscore the allegation, Everytown wasted no time in the hours after James filed her lawsuit in New York Supreme Court by firing off a fund-raising email appeal to supporters. In that email, Everytown declared, “After years of contributing to America's gun violence crisis and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from gun violence, the NRA and its leadership deserve nothing less than the end of their malicious organization.”
“The real cost of the NRA’s corruption isn't money; it's American lives,” the message continues. “The NRA has peddled fear to sell more guns and fought lifesaving gun laws at every turn, doing everything in its power to preserve an America where gun violence is the rule, not the exception.”
Joining the effort to exploit NRA’s legal troubles—reported here by AmmoLand—the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, another billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group supported by wealthy Evergreen State elitists, launched its own fund raising effort. In an email to supporters, the Alliance asserted, “For years, the NRA has had a stranglehold on our political system, blocking commonsense gun safety measures in Congress and endangering American lives. But they are finally being exposed as a breeding ground for corruption and illegality.”
One paragraph later in their funding appeal, the Alliance acknowledges, “This lawsuit is an opportunity to defeat them once and for all.”
The Alliance frequently gloats about passing two gun control initiatives in Washington—defeating the NRA in the process—to reduce so-called “gun violence.” But one look at homicide trends in that state suggests both measures have been failures. There are more murders and shootings, not fewer, according to annual FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
According to the website Law & Crime, one week before James was elected to the attorney general’s post in 2018, she asserted during an interview with Ebony that the NRA is “a terrorist organization.” The full remark to Ebony was this: “The NRA holds [itself] out as a charitable organization, but in fact, [it] really [is] a terrorist organization.”
The New York Post story covering James’s civil lawsuit against the 5-million-member organization noted, “James made a campaign promise to investigate the NRA’s legitimacy as a non-profit organization and carried that torch after she was elected for the AG post because she disagrees with its politics, the suit charges.”
The lawsuit also asserts, “James is maligning the NRA in the press (including by calling it a ‘criminal enterprise’ that merely ‘masquerade[es] as a charity’), and harassing the NRA and its business counterparties and stakeholders with invasive subpoenas, and the NRA has been and continues to be damaged by James’s actions.”
James’s lawsuit was filed almost simultaneously with a similar civil action in Washington, D.C. court by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine. That action focuses on the NRA Foundation and how its funds have been allegedly mishandled.
The timing of both lawsuits, even though it was widely expected within the firearms community that legal action was coming because of the New York investigation, is already raising alarms among NRA supporters. Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham suggested James may be out to bankrupt the NRA.
“This moved against the NRA,” Ingraham said during a 9 ½-minute monologue titled “Gunning for Your Rights” that aired Thursday evening, hours after the lawsuits were filed, “is a test run for broader efforts to frighten and intimidate people for exercising their God-given rights.”
Fox News’ Sean Hannity, during an exchange on his program with frequent guest Dan Bongino, posed a rhetorical question: “Timing awkward to you, because it’s certainly suspicious as hell to me.” He suggested the lawsuits may be designed to eat up NRA funds that might otherwise be used to help during the national elections this year.
But could this effort backfire?
It was once written in the pages of a now-defunct award-winning outdoor tabloid—Fishing & Hunting News—that the NRA “fights best from behind circled wagons.” While there has been much discussion over the past 18 months on social media about NRA’s financial troubles, the alleged lavish spending by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and other organization officials, when the NRA is under attack, it translates to the Second Amendment being attacked. American gun owners have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to fight vigorously to defend their rights.
As Alan Gottllieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation observed in reaction to the lawsuits against the NRA, “the strength of the NRA is not only in its leadership but in its members. Its members will not abandon the fight to protect Second Amendment rights.”
This article first appeared on Ammoland by Dave Workman