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 Alleges NYAG's Office "Coordinated and Conspired" with Everytown for Gun Safety
April 12, 2022 – The NRA today filed its amended response to the remaining claims in the New York Attorney General's (NYAG) Verified Amended and Supplemental Complaint against the Association. In its response, the NRA alleges that the NYAG's office "coordinated and conspired with Everytown for Gun Safety, an entity which was founded to serve as a 'counterweight' to the NRA."
The NYAG filed a dissolution lawsuit against the NRA in August 2020. On March 2, 2022, a New York court struck down attempts by NYAG James to dissolve the NRA – delivering a big win for the NRA. The NRA is now defending against the surviving claims in the lawsuit.
The filing notes that, in February 2019, prior to launching her investigation into the NRA, senior representatives of NYAG Letitia James' office met with representatives of Everytown for Gun Safety about the NRA.
The complaint states, "A representative of OAG testified under oath that the purpose of the meeting between the representatives of James’s office and Everytown was for Everytown to advise the NYAG of a complaint about the NRA's 2017 IRS Form 990 filing."
However, the NRA states that "[be]cause Everytown was founded and exists solely to further Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agenda, Everytown is not a credible source of information about the NRA."
Two months after the meeting, NYAG James authorized an investigation of the NRA. The filing states, "James commenced a sweeping, costly, invasive, and concertedly publicized investigation of the NRA concerning types of purported misconduct that have never incited the same hostility for similarly situated, comparator charities."
After the NRA sought records related to the meeting between the NYAG's office and Everytown, both entities moved for a protective order, claiming in part that discovery was stayed and that compliance with the request for documents would be unduly burdensome for Everytown, the filing states.
The NRA further notes that "a representative of the NYAG in sum and substance refused to deny at a deposition that if the NYAG succeeded on her now-dismissed claims to dissolve the NRA, she planned to distribute some or all of the NRA’s assets to Everytown."
NRA Files Answer to NYAG
Complaint and Counterclaims
March 23, 2022 – The NRA today filed its verified answer to the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) amended and supplemental complaint and counterclaims. The filing responds to the dissolution lawsuit filed by NYAG Letitia James, originally filed on August 6, 2020, and asserts several counterclaims against the NYAG for Violation of the NRA’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and Selective Enforcement of N.Y. Not-for-Profit Corporation law, among other claims.
According to the filing, “As a candidate for the New York State Office of the Attorney General, James promised [in 2018] that, if elected, she would ‘take down the NRA’ by wielding the enforcement powers she hoped to possess if she were elected as NYAG.” The filing explains that, upon being elected, James commenced her investigation into the NRA and later filed a lawsuit that seeks to shut it down. Her actions have drawn criticism from many legal experts and constitutional scholars, including the ACLU.
The filing states, “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. Such conduct violates clearly established statutory and constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
NRA Prevails Over NYAG:
Court Rules Association Cannot be Dissolved
March 2, 2022 – The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) scored a major legal victory today, as a New York court struck down attempts by the New York Attorney General to dissolve the 150-year-old organization. Following a two-hour hearing on December 10, 2021, the Hon. Joel M. Cohen of the New York State Supreme Court issued an opinion today that vindicates the NRA’s position: the NYAG’s effort to shut down the Association ran afoul of common sense, New York law, and the First Amendment.
“This is a resounding win for the NRA, its 5 million members, and all who believe in this organization,” says NRA President Charles Cotton. “The message is loud and clear: the NRA is strong and secure in its mission to protect constitutional freedom.”
The NRA will defend against the surviving claims in the lawsuit – but today’s ruling declares that the NYAG cannot shut down the Association or seize its assets.
“We applaud the court’s recognition that dissolution is neither appropriate nor justified,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel to the NRA. “We look forward to continuing the defense of the NRA – and proving that it acts in the best interests of its members and the Second Amendment freedoms in which they believe.”
Emphasizing that the NRA is “a prominent advocacy organization that represents the interests of millions of members,” the court said the NYAG failed to meet the “rigorous” standard for state-sponsored dissolution of such a group – and her attempt raised free speech concerns.
In an opinion, dated March 2, 2022, Justice Cohen writes, “The Attorney General’s claims to dissolve the NRA are dismissed.” It adds, “The Complaint does not allege that any financial misconduct benefited the NRA, or that the NRA exists primarily to carry out such activity, or that the NRA is incapable of continuing its legitimate activities on behalf of its millions of members.”
The NRA has argued that it has demonstrated a commitment to good governance, and long believed that the NYAG’s case was part of a political vendetta. NYAG James famously vowed to “target the NRA” and “investigate the legitimacy of the NRA as a charitable organization” while on the campaign trail in July 2018 – before spending even one day in office and without any evidence of wrongdoing. She filed a lawsuit in August 2020 seeking to shut down the Association.
The NRA has successfully proven there was no legal precedent or factual basis for the NYAG’s scorched-earth, politicized approach.
The court observes, “The Attorney General cites no case in which she or her predecessors have sought – much less obtained – dissolution under analogous circumstances.” The opinion also states, “…dissolving the NRA could impinge, at least indirectly, on the free speech and assembly rights of its millions of members. While that alone would not preclude statutory dissolution if circumstances otherwise clearly warranted it, the Court believes it is a relevant factor that counsels against State-imposed dissolution, which should be the last option, not the first.”
In addition to the dissolution claims, the court also dismissed claims by the NYAG for unjust enrichment and violations of the Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.
Against the backdrop of the NYAG’s lawsuit, the NRA is pursuing its own legal action against James. In a legal filing, dated February 23, 2021, the NRA responded to the August 2020 lawsuit filed by the NYAG. The filing alleges that her case is part of a crusade to silence a powerful political opponent – and its stated purpose to defend the Second Amendment.
According to the NRA’s 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.”
Brewer adds, “Today’s developments underscore the simple truth that since taking office in 2019, the Attorney General has pushed a contrived narrative about the NRA in her attempt to support a dissolution claim that is improper. This is a victory for not only the NRA, but all who believe in the right to free speech and association.”
“I’ve always said that the dissolution case was part of a political vendetta to take down the NRA,” says NRA Past President Carolyn Meadows. “I want to thank NRA members for helping us confront this abuse of power. They deserve an enormous amount of credit.”
NRA First Vice President Willes K. Lee said, “As an NRA member, this decision gives me great pride. It reaffirms an important belief: the NRA continues to serve as the greatest voice in the fight to protect Second Amendment freedom.”
Law360 Reports on NRA Motion to Disqualify Dorsey & Whitney
February 23, 2022 – Law360 reports that the NRA filed a motion requesting that Dorsey & Whitney LLP, the law firm representing the NRA's former ad agency, Ackerman McQueen, be disqualified because of the firm's connection to a "side-switching" lawyer who previously worked for the NRA.
According to the report, "The NRA claimed in a motion Monday that a privilege log recently revealed that Dorsey & Whitney LLP worked briefly with Virginia lawyer Mark Dycio, who had advised the association on matters relevant to the case."
"The incurable conflicts arising from Dycio's misconduct, which also taint Dorsey, could have been dealt with at the outset of this litigation," the motion said. "But they were not — because defendants concealed evidence of Dycio's involvement from their initial disclosures and document productions."
Reporting notes that, beginning in 2013, Dycio worked with the NRA and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on matters including executive pay and corporate governance. However, when the NRA sued Ackerman McQueen in 2019, Dycio "switched sides" and represented the ad agency.
"Although the NRA knew that Dycio was involved in preliminary stages of the litigation, the NRA claims that it did not know that he had been working directly with Dorsey & Whitney during that time," Law360 reports.
According to the report, "The NRA argued that the ordeal warrants not only a disqualification of the firm, but also a dismissal of all of Ackerman's counterclaims. If the judge rejects this request, the NRA asked that the court forbid the use of any confidential information Dorsey & Whitney obtained from Dycio."
NRA Files Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment in Dispute with Ackerman McQueen
November 29, 2021 – The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) today filed a brief in support of its motion for partial summary judgment on four claims within Ackerman McQueen's (AMc) Second Amended Counterclaim, filed July 13, 2021. By filing the motion, the NRA seeks to "streamline the dispute" in advance of the scheduled March 2022 trial.
Filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, the NRA's brief states:
"More than two years ago, after months of attempts to placate and coax compliance from AMc, the NRA was forced to file suit against its largest vendor—with whom it had been doing business for more than thirty years. The parties’ legal battle began as a narrow dispute over the NRA’s exercise of an unambiguous contractual right to inspect the 'files, books and records with respect to' the services AMc provided. Since the NRA first sued AMc to access its own business records in April 2019, AMc has stolen confidential PowerPoint slides from the NRA, waged a scorched-earth media campaign against its former client, and egregiously continued to withhold from the NRA the same 'files, books, and records' sought before this lawsuit. At long last, however, this case is approaching its conclusion. Summary judgment provides the Court with an opportunity to streamline this contentious dispute and narrow issues for trial."
Namely, the NRA seeks summary judgment on AMc's breach-of-contract counterclaims, fraud claim, conspiracy claim, and declaratory judgment claim.