The long-time head of the National Rifle Association announced Friday the organization is filing for bankruptcy protection and will undergo a restructuring that includes leaving “toxic” New York to resettle operations in Texas.
“Today, the NRA announced 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,” NRA president Wayne LaPierre said in a statement posted to the organization’s website.
“The plan can be summed up quite simply: We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas,” the statement continued.
In August, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit against the gun rights and firearms education group with the objective of dissolving it. During a press conference, James claimed that four of the organization’s top executives, including LaPierre, contributed to “a culture of non-compliance and disregard for internal controls that led to the waste and loss of millions in assets and contributed to the NRA reaching its current deteriorated financial state.”
James’ legal action triggered a countersuit from the NRA, which described the AG’s suit as a “baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.”
“You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle,” the NRA said on Twitter.
In his statement, LaPierre said in order “to facilitate the strategic plan and restructuring,” the organization and a subsidiary filed “voluntary chapter 11 petitions” in federal bankruptcy court in Texas.
“As you may know, chapter 11 proceedings are often utilized by businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs,” he noted.
In the meantime, LaPierre said the organization would continue operations as normal, “confronting anti-gun, anti-self-defense and anti-hunting activities and promoting constitutional advocacy that helps law-abiding Americans.”
He also said that current members would be able to “continue to enjoy” all their benefits.
“Our work will continue as always,” he said. “No major changes are expected to the NRA’s operations or workforce.”
In a nod to critics of the organization, LaPierre said he anticipated that “opponents will try to seize upon this news and distort the truth” about what the organization is actually doing.
“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,” he noted.
Relocating to Texas makes sense to the organization, LaPierre explained, because it is home to 400,000 NRA members, and the group will hold its annual meeting this year in Houston.
Also, he wrote, “Texas values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and joins us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom.”
The NRA president also ripped James and other Democratic officials in New York, saying the NRA is seeking protection from those “who illegally abused and weaponized the powers they wield against the NRA and its members.”
“This plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress,” he said, adding: “This is the most transformational moment in the history of the NRA. And it involves all of you.”
The NRA was founded in New York State on Nov. 17, 1871, by Union Col. William Church and Gen. George Wingate initially as an organization to teach marksmanship after both officers were frustrated by a lack of shooting ability among many of the troops they commanded during the Civil War.
The organization’s first president was retired Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside, then a U.S. senator and former governor of Rhode Island.
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