Kudos to NBC News for actually publishing a pro-Second Amendment take by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who pulls no punches in a fiery condemnation of the current attacks by Democrats on the right to keep and bear arms; from the Biden/Harris campaign’s anti-gun agenda to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit to dissolve the NRA. Rutledge says that at a time when Americans are embracing their Second Amendment rights in record numbers, Democrats are making it clear that they want to write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution.
The left has long attacked the Second Amendment, as they believe it is antiquated and unnecessary, and have assured us they can protect us better than we can protect ourselves. But in a time of crisis, many of them have revealed that they won’t actually use law enforcement and even support defunding the agencies that protect and serve all communities. Now they are attacking a private organization that’s trying to do the same.
Just three months before a presidential election, New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the NRA and several members of its leadership, seeking to have the gun rights organization dissolved. This lawsuit, filed in New York state court, is the apex of a longstanding feud between the NRA and the Democratic state attorney general. James attacked the NRA while she was a candidate for attorney general, calling it a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.”
Rutledge says New York’s AG has the right and a duty to investigate claims of fraud and corruption at the NRA, since the organization is chartered in New York. Still, the Arkansas Attorney General argues that her colleague’s attempt to dissolve the NRA “speaks volumes about her real motives.”
As state attorneys general, we are tasked with protecting the interests of consumers and holding bad actors accountable. Since the NRA is based in New York, James’ office has the jurisdiction to investigate this organization, like any other charity or nonprofit. But while the lawsuit alleges that NRA leadership misused the organization’s funds for their own personal gain, no NRA executives have been charged with any crimes, though James has threatened criminal charges pending the outcome of her office’s investigation.
Moreover, James doesn’t seem to be too worried about protecting the interests of the “consumer”: those who are NRA members. If successful, the lawsuit could permanently bar the strongest Second Amendment advocate from raising funds for its cause and ultimately dissolve the multimillion member organization. Instead of holding the alleged bad actors accountable, James seems to believe she has found a way to finally rid the left of one of its greatest political adversaries — and, possibly, its least favorite constitutional amendment.
That last point by Rutledge is absolutely key. If James were really interested in the best interest of NRA members, as she claimed when she announced her civil suit against the organization, she wouldn’t be trying to kill it off. Even critics of the Second Amendment organization like Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post say it’s a mistake for James to attempt to dissolve the NRA entirely.
The NRA has a First Amendment right to its misguided understanding of the Second. Forcing its dissolution has disturbing implications — made even more disturbing by the fact that the attorney general seeking that step is a Democrat who vowed during her campaign to “take on the NRA” and labeled it a “terrorist organization.” In this country, we don’t go after entities because of what they advocate.
Marcus sees the danger of where James’ witch hunt would lead. Based on her previous comments, it’s clear that James didn’t go into her investigation into the NRA with an open mind. She started her investigation with the intention of destroying it. If she’s successful at doing so, the First Amendment would suffer as much as the Second. There’s also the fact that red-state AGs would inevitably start to target left-wing non-profits for the same destruction that James wants to impose on the NRA, and non-profits on both sides of the aisle would likely be dismantled in a legal war of attrition. Even if you don’t like the NRA, that should worry you. Letitia James could have handled her investigation with professionalism, but instead, she’s clearly engaged in a political fight to destroy the NRA while claiming she’s doing so to protect its members.