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New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the National Rifle Association, seeking to dissolve it over multiple incidences of fraud and mismanagement.
And the thing is, her case is pretty strong, in my opinion. Really, really strong. Wayne LaPierre has been the effective head of the NRA for decades now, and his … questionable financial decisions appear to have been made without the knowledge of the Board of Directors, who should (should) have oversight on such matters. This quote in particular jumped out at me:
Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.
Let’s look at the number in context. The NRA is not the only nationwide gun rights organization. There is also the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which specializes in targeted legal cases to advance the right to keep and bear arms, the Gun Owners Of America (GOA), which claims to be the only “no compromise” gun group out there, and also the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). They all do good work. The Second Amendment Foundation in particular created the legal strategy which won both DC v. Heller and Macdonald v. Chicago, two pivotal cases for American gun owners.
But as noted firearms trainer Claude Werner pointed out on Facebook, the resources all three of those organizations have at their disposal pales in comparison to what the NRA can bring to the table.
The (literal) bottom line is, if the NRA were to go away tomorrow, America’s gun owners would be in a world of hurt. The $64 million dollars the NRA is accused of mismanaging is over six times the combined annual budget of all three of these groups. We may not like the shenanigans of the current leadership of the NRA, but no one has the clout of the NRA when it comes being able to shape the future of gun rights in America.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The federal lobbying and GOTV efforts of the NRA-ILA will actually be the easiest things for another organization to replicate. Where in NRA really shines (and where they get their victories) is on the state level, lobbying against restrictions on gun owners and similar efforts. Those functions will be harder, much harder for another group to accomplish. I am NOT a fan of the deal Marion Hammer has with the NRA, but she is the one who is knocking on the doors of the state government in Tallahassee, not any other state-level group. On top of this is the training branch of the NRA. Most states specifically state than an NRA class is one of the preferred options obtaining a concealed carry permit, and many states have hunter safety courses that run on NRA content. Lose those two things, and you lose American gun culture.
Reform the leadership of the NRA. Remove the current leadership. Put some teeth into the Board of Directors, and let them perform the oversight role they are meant to perform. As I said before, I don’t want my right to self-defense tied to just one political party, and I especially don’t want it tied to just one President. Let the NRA return to its roots as an advocate for ALL American gun owners, especially the millions of Americans who have bought their first gun this year. Make the NRA all about the safe ownership and use of guns, and the votes will follow.Published in