New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA

After an 18-month investigation, New York’s attorney general Letitia James announced today that the state of New York filed a lawsuit calling for the dissolution of the National Rifle Association over allegations that high-ranking executives diverted millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

The lawsuit highlights misspending and self-dealing allegations that have roiled the NRA and its longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, in recent years — from hair and makeup for his wife to a $17 million post-employment contract for himself.

At the same time, the Washington, D.C., attorney general sued the NRA Foundation, a charitable arm of the organization designed to provide programs for firearm safety, marksmanship and hunting safety, accusing it of diverting funds to the NRA to help pay for exorbitant spending by its top executives.

The NRA has been the driving force in weakening Tennessee’s already lax gun laws and blocking any attempt to strengthen them, even though Tennessee ranks 6th in the nation for firearm homicide, 3rd for youth firearm homicide, 8th for black homicide victimization, and consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous states for domestic abuse victims. They donate money to Tennessee legislators and threaten them with primary opposition if they vote the wrong way on NRA-backed bills. 

  • In 2015, the NRA worked to pass legislation to allow guns to be carried in parks and on playgrounds, including those used by schools, despite opposition by mayors, city councils, school administrators and law enforcement.

  • In 2016, the NRA worked to pass legislation to allow faculty and employees of Tennessee’s public colleges and universities to carry guns on campus, despite opposition by colleges, universities, campus police chiefs, faculty senates, students, and parents.

  • Also in 2016, the NRA blocked passage of MaKayla’s Law, legislation that would hold adult gun owners responsible if their choice to leave a loaded gun accessible to a child under 13 resulted in injury or death. The legislation was named for 8-year-old MaKayla Dyer who was fatally shot by an 11-year-old neighbor with his father’s negligently-stored shotgun. The 11-year-old was charged with murder. The boy’s father was not charged with any crime.

  • In 2017, the NRA worked to pass legislation to allow guns to be carried on public transportation including buses used by high school students, despite opposition from mayors, city councils, and school administrators.

  • In 2019, the NRA worked to pass legislation to reduce the amount of training required to obtain a carry a gun in public from an 8-hour class with range supervised training to a 90-minute online video, despite opposition from law enforcement and gun safety instructors.

  • Also in 2019, the NRA blocked efforts to make it harder for convicted domestic abusers to regain access to their firearms, despite support from law enforcement, domestic violence prevention advocates, and District Attorneys.

  • And in 2020, the NRA blocked efforts to pass Emergency Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) that would have allowed immediate family members to petition a judge for the temporary removal of firearms from a person deemed to be an imminent risk to themselves or others. ERPOs are an important tool in the prevention of firearm suicides. On average, one to two Tennesseans use a gun to kill themselves every day.

Over the years, NRA executives have collected millions of dollars from their members and firearm manufacturers, money that they used to line their own pockets. Because of the power they wield over politicians, including lawmakers in Tennessee, they have been able to get away with their grift. They’ve been able to get away with it all because, in their minds, the rules didn’t apply to them.

Until today.

“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets. The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.” – New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

Safe Tennessee remains committed to advocating for evidence-based policies and programs to reduce gun violence in Tennessee, and we remain committed to fighting the NRA and their influence in our state legislature.

We’re on the right side of history and with your help, we will win.