Standing Guard | NRA’s Legal Fights

by
posted on May 20, 2024
Andrew Arulanandam

As the interim EVP and CEO of the NRA, one of my great privileges is meeting with our members—and helping to lead the fight to defend our freedoms. In the past few months, I’ve attended the NRA Great American Outdoor Show, a ceremony with Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry to celebrate “constitutional carry” and other grassroots events.

At every stop, I am asked about the NRA’s legal cases making national headlines. This column provides a report on our most significant matters.

Standing Up for Members—In the Highest Court in the Land
In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the NRA v. Vullo case. As you may recall, Vullo is the former financial regulator in New York who tried to “financially blacklist” the NRA in 2018. In response, the NRA sued Ms. Vullo and her boss, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, under the First Amendment.

At oral argument, all nine justices heard how Cuomo and Vullo targeted the NRA to suppress our speech and harm our members. Weaponizing New York’s power over financial institutions, they coerced banks and insurers to avoid doing business with “gun promotion” groups, especially the NRA, under threat of a regulatory crackdown.

Justice Alito wondered aloud whether these scathing facts presented “even a close case” under the First Amendment. Of course, they don’t: New York heedlessly shredded the Constitution to destroy a political enemy. As testament to the gravity of that abuse and the importance of this case, the NRA was joined by the American Civil Liberties Union (yes, the ACLU), numerous legal experts, constitutional scholars and 25 states in support of our claims against Vullo.

We expect that the Court’s decision, forthcoming in June, will affirm that government regulators violate the Constitution when they wield their power to suppress the speech of those they oppose. This case is the most important First Amendment case in the nation. I could not be more proud of the NRA for, once again, taking the fight to the enemies of freedom.

Committed to Good Governance
The NRA recently took center stage in a New York courtroom, fending off what began as a “dissolution lawsuit” by the New York Attorney General (NYAG) in August 2020.

You will recall that New York Attorney General Letitia James made a campaign promise to “go after” the NRA’s banks and donors, vowed a fishing expedition into our corporate governance, and swiftly fulfilled these corrupt promises upon taking office. James’ ultimate goal was to close the NRA’s doors, seize our assets and redistribute them to charities of her choosing.

Citing the First Amendment, the court struck down that gambit in March 2022. This winter, a jury heard remaining claims, mostly concerning alleged historic misconduct by former officers and vendors.

What emerged at that trial is a story you may not hear about from the mainstream media. After vowing to use her power to destroy the NRA, the NYAG was reduced at trial to the opposite posture: suing to recover funds for, not from, the Association. James did manage to obtain a jury verdict of $6 million for abuses by former officers. But, the NYAG was forced to drop every single allegation of “whistleblower retaliation” against lower-level NRA employees, along with several allegations concerning insider transactions. Of the transactions the Audit Committee reviewed, the jury found that nearly all were properly analyzed and ratified.

Although the jury was not allowed to rule on whether the NYAG’s actions were driven by political bias, the NYAG did not dispute this at trial.

The jury did find statutory violations that the NRA takes seriously, but is confident that these have already been redressed—as we will continue to demonstrate in the upcoming, second phase of the trial this summer.

Never Back Down: Taking On the Enemies of Freedom
The NRA recently earned a legal victory against the U.S. Department of Justice and ATF—as a Texas court enjoined a controversial and unlawful “pistol brace rule” from going into effect against NRA members.

The legal win safeguards freedom for NRA members across the nation who seek to utilize a pistol brace to safely stabilize a firearm. This includes many lawful gun owners with disabilities.

The NRA successfully argued its members face irreparable harm from the new rule, which subjects law-abiding gun owners to penalties, fines and potential prison sentences for the use of a legal plastic apparatus on some firearms.

Under the ATF’s rule, they were being forced to modify their firearms, destroy them, register them or surrender them to the federal government under threat of criminal prosecution.

With your support, we are winning courtroom battles, defending freedom and advancing our mission.

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