Misleading reports exist about several legal matters involving the NRA. This website presents key documents and facts — to set the record straight and allow the public to judge for itself.
NRA Moves to Expedite State Court Action Against NYAG Letitia James
June 4, 2021 – The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) today announced that it is taking steps to expedite resolution of its Constitutional claims against New York Attorney General Letitia James. To accomplish that objective, the Association voluntarily withdrew its action against NYAG James that had been pending in federal court in Albany, New York, in favor of pursuing the same claims against James in New York State court in Manhattan.
This procedural step is significant and important because it will ensure that the NRA’s claims against NYAG James will be tried in the same court and by the same jury that will hear her lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA. That lawsuit, which the NRA alleges is politically motivated, was filed after outrageous threats made against the NRA – even before Ms. James was elected and before she had seen a single shred of evidence.
According to the New York State court filing, dated February 23, 2021 “James’s threatened, and actual, regulatory and civil reprisals are a blatant and malicious retaliation campaign against the NRA and its constituents based on her disagreement with the content of their speech.” This wrongful conduct threatens the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners and all Americans.
The NRA is confident that a jury will conclude, as a federal court in Dallas did after weeks of testimony earlier this year, that the NRA is committed to complying with its governance and internal controls, and that its diligence in that regard began long before NYAG James commenced her misbegotten case.
In a decision dated May 11, 2021, Judge Harlin D. Hale wrote, “In short, the testimony…suggests that the NRA…understands the importance of compliance. [T]he NRA can pay its creditors, continue to fulfill its mission, continue to improve its governance and internal controls, contest dissolution in the NYAG Enforcement Action, and pursue the legal steps necessary to leave New York.”
Those findings by the federal court in Dallas, where the NYAG made the same claims she made in New York, have laid bare the NYAG's purely political gambit to dissolve the NRA as lacking any basis in law or in fact.
“Given the record that was established regarding the NRA’s commitment to good governance, the Association is eager to expedite the adjudication of all the claims before the New York State court,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The NRA will aggressively pursue its Constitutional rights in that forum. Today’s move will ensure that the NRA’s claims proceed promptly to discovery and a full vindication of its members’ rights.”
NRA Lawsuit Over “Blacklisting Campaign” to Proceed
March 15, 2021 – The NRA’s lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Maria Vullo, and the DFS continues to move forward.
In a long-awaited decision, dated March 15, 2021, the Hon. Thomas J. McAvoy, sustained, yet again, the crux of the NRA’s lawsuit – its First Amendment claims. The remaining claims in this important case are: (1) the First Amendment claims against Gov. Cuomo in his individual capacity, (2) the First Amendment claims against Ms. Vullo in her individual capacity, and (3) the First Amendment claims for injunctive and declaratory relief against Ms. Vullo in her official capacity.
The NRA’s lawsuit arises from a series of public statements and enforcement actions by Gov. Cuomo and New York’s chief financial regulator, the DFS, during 2017 and 2018. At Gov. Cuomo’s direction, in April 2018, the DFS sent “guidance letters” to banks and insurance companies. It wrote, “The Department encourages its insurers to continue evaluating and managing their risks, including reputational risks, that may arise from their dealings with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations… The Department encourages regulated institutions to review any relationships they have with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, and to take prompt actions to managing these risks and promote public health and safety.”
The NRA believes and alleges that these actions amount to a “blacklisting campaign” — an effort to intimidate the NRA’s potential business partners, choke off its access to financial services, and retaliate against it based on the viewpoint of its speech. The NRA commenced its lawsuit on May 11, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
In today’s opinion, Judge McAvoy writes, “…it was plausible to conclude that the combination of Defendants’ actions, including Ms. Vullo’s statements in the Guidance Letters and Cuomo Press Release as well as the purported ‘backroom exhortations,’ could be interpreted as a veiled threat to regulated industries to disassociate with the NRA or risk DFS enforcement action.”
This decision reaffirms that all public officials, even Gov. Cuomo and Ms. Vullo, are accountable under the First Amendment. It will allow the NRA to pursue discovery and bring important evidence to light – to expose the communications and coordinated efforts of New York officials and others to harm the NRA and impinge its Constitutional freedoms. The message is clear: the NRA will stand up to those who unlawfully interfere with its Second Amendment advocacy.
The NRA’s First Amendment lawsuit has become among the most high-profile cases of its kind. Numerous legal experts and constitutional scholars, including the ACLU, have supported the NRA. In August 2018, the ACLU filed an amicus brief supporting the NRA and its legal action.
At that time, David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, wrote: “Because we believe the governor’s actions, as alleged, threaten the First Amendment rights of all advocacy organizations, the ACLU on Friday [August 24, 2018] filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the NRA’s right to have its day in court.”
NRA Responds to NYAG Lawsuit, Countersues for NYAG Trying to Dissolve 'Political Enemy'
February 23, 2021 – In a legal filing, the NRA today responded to an August 2020 lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The filing responds to the contrived narrative by the NYAG, and alleges that the case she filed is part of a crusade to silence a powerful political opponent and its commitment to Second Amendment advocacy.
As reported by Reuters, “ The National Rifle Association has filed a countersuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying she lacks authority to invoke state laws governing nonprofits to dissolve ‘political entities’ such as itself.”
According to the filing, “James’s threatened, and actual, regulatory and civil reprisals are a blatant and malicious retaliation campaign against the NRA and its constituents based on her disagreement with the content of their speech. This wrongful conduct threatens to destroy the NRA and chill the speech of the NRA, its members, and other constituents, including like-minded groups and their members.”
The NRA will continue to confront the NYAG’s weaponization of power – to the benefit of the Association, its millions of members, and all who believe in constitutional freedom.
READ THE FILING. (Counterclaims begin on page 136)
NRA Files Motion for Leave to File
Second Amended Complaint Against
Ackerman McQueen, Mercury Group
February 11, 2021 – The National Rifle Association of America ("NRA") today filed a motion for leave to file a Second Amendment Complaint against Ackerman McQueen, Inc. ("AMc"), its subsidiary, Mercury Group, Inc., and individual defendants. The motion was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.
The NRA seeks to amend its complaint to add a new claim for trademark infringement and to add new allegations uncovered during discovery that are specific to fraud and conspiracy charges against Mercury Group.
As stated in the Second Amended Complaint, "Since the NRA terminated its relationship with AMc in Spring 2019, text messages, emails, and former-employee testimonials obtained through discovery and otherwise have made two things regrettably clear. First, AMc exploited decades of trust in order to siphon assets from the NRA, lining its pockets at the expense of its client and in violation of the law. Second, AMc has gone to outrageous lengths to sustain and conceal its grift, deploying scorched-earth tactics against anyone who scrutinized its activities or spending."
The NRA filed its original lawsuit against the Defendants on August 30, 2019. That lawsuit sought to enjoin the agency's further misuse of the NRA's brand for its own marketing purposes.
NRA alleges that Ackerman breached its fiduciary duties, engaged in fraudulent billing, and failed to maintain adequate books and records – all in an effort to enrich itself at the expense of the NRA and its members.