Yesterday, the New York Attorney General initiated a lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association, alleging widespread corruption at the top of the organization. Republican organizations and politicians, typically the beneficiaries of funding from the NRA, have framed the lawsuit as an attack on the Second Amendment, and they’re probably correct. New York has a history of legal efforts to curtail the exercise of gun rights.
What is typically being ignored in those arguments is that the NY AG, Letitia James, has had years to compile the facts which led to this lawsuit, and it’s very likely that her allegations of widespread fraud and abuse are equally valid.
If they are… and that has yet to be proven… the NRA will have handed their opponents a cudgel with which to beat them, and I have no sympathy for them.
The NRA makes claims and pretensions toward being absolutists on the Second Amendment, but their stance is actually quite moderate. I do appreciate that fact; while it is better, as an advocate, to hold an absolute view of principles I believe it is also wise to hold a moderate view toward enacting law. Compromise can keep momentum moving in a positive direction when it comes to the enacting of laws, and gun rights have been successfully defended and expanded in many instances over the past two decades.
That said, moderation on the political side often leads to compromise on principle, which is what has happened under Trump. The politicization of the group is clear. They have been consistently lax toward President Trump’s multiple assaults on gun rights… supposedly the reason for the group’s existence.
If the NRA is, in fact, corrupt, the damage to the American gun lobby will be immediate, but it does not mean the end of the Second Amendment nor even the loss of advocacy for it. Another prominent group, Gun Owners of America, already exists… and they have been demonstrated in recent years to be far more staunch in their defense of gun rights than the NRA.
If the NRA is found to be systemically corrupted and is subsequently dissolved, many NRA members will shift their cash to the GOA. The GOA, with that cash infusion, will hire many of the lawyers and professional advocates currently employed by the NRA, but they will seek to avoid hiring any of the corrupt ones.
If the NRA is not found to be so, it will continue to operate and Letitia James will have a lot of egg on her face.
This is how the American system is supposed to work.
If the NRA is being used more as a method to steal the cash of its members than it is as an advocacy group, it deserves to go away. There was, and is, a way for them to avoid that fate: remain true to their founding goals. Stand on principle like the GOA, rather than allow themselves to become nothing more than a political arm of the Republican party even as the party swings nationalist and cedes all power to a central authority.