Judge tosses NY AG Letitia James’ bid to break up NRA – but suit still moving forward

Second Amendment

A judge Tuesday tossed out New York Attorney General Letitia James’ bid to break up the National Rifle Association, while allowing much of the remainder of her lawsuit to go forward.

James filed suit to disband the gun rights group in 2020, claiming its top executives flouted nonprofit rules by diverting millions of agency dollars to fund their lavish lifestyle, including trips to the Bahamas, safaris in Africa and jaunts on yachts.

But on Wednesday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen tossed the claim to dissolve the NRA, finding that there were ways to reform it — such as potentially removing the top executives.

“In short, the complaint does not allege the type of public harm that is the legal linchpin for imposing the ‘corporate death penalty,’” Cohen’s decision reads. “Moreover, dissolving the NRA could impinge, at least indirectly, on the free speech and assembly rights of its millions of members.”

“The remedy of dissolution is, in the court’s view, disproportionate and not narrowly tailored to address the financial malfeasance alleged in the complaint, which is amply covered by the Attorney General’s other claims,” the decision reads.

The judge will allow 14 of James’ other claims against the NRA to move forward.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

In total, Cohen tossed four of the AG’s claims against the NRA. Still, 14 other claims may move forward, the decision said.


James said that her office is “considering our legal options” in light of the mixed ruling.

“Today, the court affirmed my office’s right to pursue its long-standing claims that fraud, abuse, and greed permeate through the NRA and its senior leadership,” James said in a statement. “While we’re heartened that the judge rejected the NRA’s attempts to thwart most of the claims in our case against the NRA, we are disappointed that the judge ruled against the dissolution portion of the case.”

The NRA's president Charles Cotton called the judges ruling a "resounding win for the NRA."
The NRA’s president Charles Cotton called the judges ruling a “resounding win for the NRA.”
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

NRA President Charles Cotton lauded the decision as a major victory.

“This is a resounding win for the NRA, its 5 million members, and all who believe in this organization,” Cotton said in a prepared statement. “The message is loud and clear: the NRA is strong and secure in its mission to protect constitutional freedom.”

NRA lawyer William Brewer III added, “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.”

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