FOR THE RECORD
NRA Files Motion to Dismiss New York Attorney General's Amended Complaint
September 16, 2021 – The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) has filed a Motion to Dismiss the New York Attorney General's (NYAG) Amended Complaint, filed on August 16, 2021. The NRA's motion was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.
Filed on September 15, 2021, the Motion to Dismiss claims that the NYAG seeks to dissolve the NRA in an effort to "silence the constitutionally guaranteed political speech of its 5 million members." It states that, "[e]ven if the allegations against current and former executives are taken as true (as they must be, for purposes of this Motion), the NRA and its Board would be the victims of the alleged wrongdoing—not perpetrators."
"Despite the benefit of a full investigation, multiple amendments, sweeping discovery in the NRA’s federal bankruptcy case, and a twelve-day trial in the federal bankruptcy court featuring twenty-three witnesses, the NYAG fails to allege any wrongdoing perpetrated or approved by the NRA’s Board sufficient to meet its burden to plead specific, non-conclusory allegations implicating a majority of the Board, or any decisions of the Board that are not subject to business judgment protection," the Motion to Dismiss states. "The NYAG’s allegations are nothing but speculative, conclusory allegations about supposed misconduct by individual executives with no allegations against the majority of the NRA’s Board."
"Further, a federal bankruptcy court found after a review of voluminous evidence, that the NRA has undertaken a sustained effort to improve its internal compliance procedures and is in position to continue fulfilling its mission," the filing states.
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.”
Legal experts and constitutional scholars have long criticized the NYAG's case against the NRA, which was initially filed in August 2020.
In December 2020, 16 state Attorneys General filed a legal brief supporting the NRA. The Attorneys General wrote, "The New York AG cannot be allowed to wield the power of her office to discriminate against the NRA simply because she doesn’t like its members’ political view, advocacy, and defense of a fundamental constitutional freedom."
On August 25, 2020, ACLU National Legal Director David Cole published an editorial criticizing the NYAG’s pursuit of the Association, in which he writes, "Dissolution is proper only where a corporation is so subsumed by waste, misuse or fraud that it no longer fulfills a charitable purpose. There is simply no precedent for such extreme action against an organization like the NRA, which, whether you like it or not, has been serving charitable purposes very effectively (indeed, many of its opponents would say, too effectively) for a century and a half.”