Freedom is best expressed through our actions, deeds and words. And so, in that spirit, I am proud to write today to address the actions we are pursuing to ensure the NRA remains vital in the fight to protect America’s first freedom.
The recent announcement of the restructuring of the NRA as a not-for-profit in the state of Texas is exactly the action needed. In short, we are “dumping New York”—our home for 150 years—because, in our opinion, its leaders have corrupted its legal and regulatory environment.
Despite our long and proud history as a New York public-service corporation, its current leaders seek to harm our Association and our members.
Therefore, we must write a new chapter for the NRA.
We seek to reincorporate in Texas, allowing us to abandon the burdens of a politicized regulatory environment in New York. We are putting down stakes in a state that celebrates your freedoms. And we will grow our national platform.
In the process, we will increase our membership, revitalize our advocacy and passionately defend the freedoms in which we all believe.
In my 40 years with the NRA, I have never been as proud of our work together. This bold, decisive action allows us to confront a New York political machine that is rotten to its core—zealous in its campaign to hurt us and the values we represent.
Under a new plan that involves the protections of the United States Bankruptcy Court, we will evolve and expand. We will promote firearms safety and training, advance our public programs and fortify our Second Amendment advocacy.
This is a transformational moment for the NRA—one that honors the trust you have placed in the Association and positions it to remain the most effective voice in the conversation about our constitutional freedom.
Dumping a Corrupted Regime By exiting New York, the NRA abandons a state where elected officials have weaponized legal and regulatory power for the express purpose of penalizing the Association and its members for purely political purposes.
In the summer of 2018, then-New York attorney general (NYAG) candidate Letitia James vowed that, if elected, she would use the powers of her office to investigate the “legitimacy” of the NRA.
Without a shred of evidence to support the claim, she called the Association a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.” After she was elected, she launched—as promised—an “investigation” into the NRA. Predictably, the NYAG filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA just prior to the November 2020 election.
Imagine that—an elected official targeting a perceived enemy because they have a different political point of view.
I have always said that some people may not appreciate our commitment to constitutional freedom, but that gives them no right to trample it.
In response to these partisan attacks, the NRA filed a lawsuit against the NYAG in August 2020, on the same day she filed suit against your NRA. This is similar to our lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services, filed in 2018, for attempting to “blacklist” the organization and its financial partners in violation of our First Amendment rights. As many scholars and freedom lovers agree, the conduct of defendants in that suit has no place in America—it is unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Under our new plan, the NRA’s legal challenges to those activities will continue. But the NRA’s future is defined in a new way: on our terms.
NRA members can be assured the Association will continue the fight to protect their interests in New York—and in all jurisdictions where the NRA is unlawfully singled out for its Second Amendment advocacy.
We will reincorporate in Texas—home to more than 400,000 NRA members and the site of our 2021 Annual Meeting, to be held in Houston.
We will reincorporate in Texas, home to more than 400,000 NRA members. In its elected state officials, we will have dedicated partners to protect your Second Amendment rights. Under our plan, the NRA’s future is defined in a new way: on our terms.
In the elected state officials of Texas, we will have dedicated partners in our efforts to protect your Second Amendment rights. And we are poised to be free of a tyrannical government regime that has schemed to shut us down.
Top elected officials outside of New York recognize our course of action is in the best interest of the NRA. In December of last year, attorneys general from 16 states voluntarily sided with us by filing briefs in support of our constitutional case against the NYAG.
In doing so, those states proclaimed that the “New York AG cannot be allowed to wield the power of her Office to discriminate against the NRA simply because she doesn’t like its members’ political views, advocacy, and defense of a fundamental constitutional right.”
Their words echo what legal experts and constitutional scholars have long recognized—NYAG James is misusing the power of the office she holds.
In an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, ACLU national legal director David Cole wrote on Aug. 26, 2020, “You may have your own opinions about the NRA, but all Americans should be concerned about this sort of overreach. If the New York attorney general can do this to the NRA, why couldn’t the attorney general of a red state take similar action against the ACLU, the AFL-CIO, Common Cause, or Everytown for Gun Safety?”
Cole continued, “There is simply no precedent for such extreme action against an organization like the NRA, which, whether you like it or not, has been serving charitable purposes very effectively (indeed, many of its opponents would say, too effectively) for a century and a half.”
The Promise of New Horizons As we look to the NRA’s future, please know we are considering all strategic options that work in the best interests of our members. The special committee we formed is exploring relocating segments of our business operations from Fairfax, Va., to other states.
The Association will analyze whether we can gain efficiencies, strengthen operations and broaden our services from other locations. In the meantime, the bulk of our general operations will remain in Fairfax. I hope that when we emerge from the current health crisis, you will make plans to come visit.
Bold & Brave: Confronting a Health and Economic Crisis On a closing note, I would be remiss if I failed to comment on 2020—and to thank all who helped us overcome the challenges we faced.
There is nothing I do for the NRA that gives me greater joy than meeting with our members. Nonetheless, the safety and well-being of you and our staff is among our highest priorities. Therefore, we were, unfortunately, forced to cancel many national events and local programs during the past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
These events help generate revenue but also do much more: They bring us together in the spirit of patriotism.
Our leadership team and thousands of grassroots volunteers helped us address challenges posed by the pandemic. We emerged from this crisis in outstanding financial shape. We are secure and well-positioned for a bright future. I can think of few, if any, organizations that have done a better job weathering the current storm.
It is the fellowship we share—and the freedoms for which we fight—that galvanize the NRA and make it special. Our members define this organization. They give life to our advocacy and ensure the protection of Second Amendment freedom.
I am confident we will celebrate that freedom together in the year ahead, and I look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Annual Meetings and many local events to help usher in a new chapter for this organization.
As our membership continues to grow, our future is as secure as the Second Amendment freedoms we cherish.