During my 40-plus years with your NRA, we’ve fought some tough and spirited battles. We’ve beat back renegade anti-gun legislation, overcome villainous attacks on our collective character, and defeated deep-pocketed elitists trying to run roughshod over your constitutional freedoms.
But we’ve never seen anything like what is happening in New York.
Left wing politicians have cynically weaponized their legal and regulatory powers to try to take down our Association. As a result, the NRA recently filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General (NYAG) Letitia James to confront her partisan campaign against the NRA.
Our lawsuit notes that, under the guise of protecting New York’s NRA members, the NYAG’s motive is nothing more than a gross misuse of regulatory power to undermine us as a political adversary.
In 2018, James infamously vowed to "target the NRA" and "investigate the legitimacy of the NRA as a charitable organization" while on the campaign trail, before spending even one day in office and without any evidence of compliance failures. She called us a “criminal enterprise” and a “terrorist organization.”
Therefore, it was no surprise when James undertook an investigation of the NRA immediately after assuming office.
And now, despite an avalanche of evidence regarding the financial stability of our Association, years of clean audits by independent CPAs, and commitment to good governance, James filed a legal action against the NRA. She seeks to dissolve our Association and force us to close its doors.
It’s all so pathetic. And predictable.
In fact, years ago, NRA board member Tom King was privately warned by then NYAG Eric Schneiderman that an attack was being engineered against the NRA. An “investigation” of our Association – from the highest levels of government – was on the horizon. That seems like a political nightmare that could only happen in a place where people live without our constitutional freedoms. But it happened right here – in America.
Having been through personal attacks and knowing that powerful billionaires and politicians were doggedly trying to raze the NRA, I took the Schneiderman forewarning seriously. I authorized an enterprise-wide review designed to improve our financial stability and ensure we could stand up to any scrutiny of our organization.
If there was any wrongdoing, I took swift, decisive action.
We terminated vendors and removed disgraced former partners and employees who abused the trust that was placed in them by the NRA. Many of these bad actors threatened me with a smear campaign, and then had the nerve to execute it when I would not succumb to their demands. I certainly paid a heavy price in the public arena.
These were hard but principled decisions. And I stand by every decision we’ve made in support of you, our members.
To be clear, the NYAG’s actions are an affront to democracy and freedom. This is an unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA, the fiercest defender of America’s freedoms.
As NRA President Carolyn Meadows observes, you could have set your watch by it: the NYAG “investigation” of the NRA was going to result in a lawsuit filed right as we began to shift into high gear for the 2020 election cycle.
It’s a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda. This is a naked power grab by a political opportunist, a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta. If only it ended with the NYAG.
Politics Over Principles: Trying to Silence the NRA
The NYAG’s failing crusade follows an investigation of the NRA that began in 2017 by the New York State Department of Financial Services, who selectively pursued the NRA for its involvement in the Carry Guard insurance program.
The NRA never administered this insurance program – Lockton did. But that didn’t stop regulators trying to silence (and harm) a political foe.
An unbridled regulatory attack ensued. This was, in part, because the attack was being driven by the machinery of billionaire anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg. It was at his urging that state regulators came after us – simply because he opposed our point of view.
That was followed by yet another campaign, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “blacklisted” financial institutions for doing business with the NRA. Imagine that, an elected official tries to strong-arm legitimate businesses simply because they associate with a law-abiding organization. The governor openly vowed to “put the NRA out of business.”
We filed a lawsuit against the governor and his state insurance regulator.
None other than the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) came to our side – recognizing that elected officials can’t abuse their power simply because they disagree with someone’s political point of view.
Above the objections of the governor, a court ruled in our favor. Our case will go forward.
I know many of you are following these fights, and you are as troubled as me that we have to have them.
But the NRA is well governed, financially strong, and committed to good governance. We will not back down during this time: this is our moment of truth.
Recognizing the partisan nature of New York’s anti-NRA campaign, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) wrote, “Lawless liberals have hit a new low” and “the New York Attorney General is shamefully abusing her power to target a political adversary. This action is no different than what Democrats did during the shameful impeachment of President Trump: an attempt to use the levers of government to go after political opponents."
RAGA believes the American people can read the tea leaves of the NYAG lawsuit: “It is a partisan hit job aimed at empowering the mob and endangering law-abiding citizens, who respect the Second Amendment.”
It doesn’t matter if it is the First Amendment or the Second. These are your constitutional freedoms, and we will defend them with energy and passion. You have a right to free speech and free association with others who share your desire to preserve the right to keep and bear arms. These are the freedoms that define you … and define the spirit of America.
New York’s corrupt politicians sorely underestimate the spirit of the NRA. We are fighting back with the might of more than 5 million patriots.
There can be no place in our country for the rank behavior of elected officials who target enemies, violate public trust, and use their offices to fuel personal political ambition.
Let’s not allow Cuomo and James to weaponize government and turn this nation into a place where those in power can shut down any organization or silence any voice with which they disagree.
We need to fight back against this attack like we’re fighting for the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our freedom, because it’s ALL on the line.
If we win this battle – and I’m confident with the continued support of our millions of members like you, wewill win – you and I will score the biggest victory for freedom in the history of the NRA. We’ll make an everlasting mark on the Second Amendment and the First Amendment that will be remembered and revered for generations! We will save our freedom, and because of that, we will save America. In New York and beyond, the NRA will keep fighting. We will always represent you – and the freedoms in which you believe.
To Letitia James and the other government officials who seek to dismantle the NRA, we say this: We’re ready for the fight. Bring it on!