The National Rifle Association abruptly announced its decision to file for bankruptcy on Friday afternoon, announcing at the same time that it plans to reincorporate as a non-profit in the state of Texas.
In a letter to members, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre explained the decision as a “restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York.”
The plan can be summed up quite simply: We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas.
To facilitate the strategic plan and restructuring, the NRA and one of its subsidiaries have filed voluntary chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. As you may know, chapter 11 proceedings are often utilized by businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs.
Under the plan, the NRA will continue what we’ve always done – confronting anti-gun, anti-self-defense and anti-hunting activities and promoting constitutional advocacy that helps law-abiding Americans. Our work will continue as it always has. No major changes are expected to the NRA’s operations or workforce.
LaPierre went on to assure members that their membership will not be impacted by the move to Texas, and also promised them that the organization’s financial security was not an issue.
The plan aims to streamline costs and expenses, proceed with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner, and realize many financial and strategic advantages.
You know that our opponents will try to seize upon this news and distort the truth. Don’t believe what you read from our enemies. The NRA is not “bankrupt” or “going out of business.” The NRA is not insolvent. We are as financially strong as we have been in years.
But they know today’s announcement makes us bigger, stronger and more prepared for the fight for freedom.
We are leaving the state of an attorney general who, just a few months ago, vowed to put us out of business through an abuse of legal and regulatory power. In fact, the gross overreach of the New York Attorney General and New York Governor has been resoundingly criticized by powerful national groups like the ACLU and a host of prominent legal scholars.
Remember, Letitia James isn’t just trying to sanction the NRA and individuals who are current and former executives and higher-ups in the organization that allegedly defrauded members. She’s claiming that in order to protect the interests of NRA members, the entire organization should be dissolved. The NRA’s also correct in pointing out that it’s not just those on the right who say James’ move goes too far.
Lapierre calls today’s announcement the “most transformational moment in the history of the NRA”, and says the plan represents a pathway to “opportunity, growth, and progress” while protecting the organization “from New York officials who illegally abused and weaponized the powers they wield against the NRA and its members.”
According to LaPierre’s statement, the organization has no immediate plans to relocate its headquarters from Fairfax, Virginia to Texas, but the group is forming a special committee to “explore strategic options.”
Lapierre ends the letter by calling it a “brand new day” for the organization. That much is true, but I have to say that generally, when news drops late on a Friday afternoon, it’s often an attempt to try to bury the story. This is obviously going to lead to a flood of embarrassing headlines over the weekend and a flurry of commentary pieces about what this means. There’ll be much gloating from Shannon Watts and her fellow gun control activists about the “defeat of the NRA” happening before Joe Biden could even be sworn in to office.
We’ve heard the NRA’s story, but there’s more to it than just Wayne LaPierre’s communication to members. Letitia James is going to argue that the NRA can move, but that the organization and the individuals facing civil suits are still liable for damages. She may even try to fight the organization’s attempt to dissolve and reconstitute itself in Texas in court.
There’s also the fact that generally, you don’t declare bankruptcy if everything’s going swimmingly. Yes, there are reasons to do it before you’re actually penniless, but usually bankruptcy happens when you’ve got some money issues and it’s your best option.
I believe we need a strong NRA in the Second Amendment community, so I hope this is a good move that will put the organization on a firmer footing. If this is, however, truly the most “transformational moment in the history of the NRA,” it has to be about more than reincorporating as a non-profit in Texas. The changes can’t stop with the change of address.