NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements in response to an amicus brief filed by 16 Republican attorneys general in support of the NRA, which is seeking to block a suit filed this summer by New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking to dissolve the NRA for allegedly violating New York’s charities law. Experts in non profit law have supported the validity of Attorney General James’ suit.
“These attorneys general may want to keep the NRA in fighting shape to fund their guns-everywhere agenda, but the fact is that the NRA sealed its own fate with its corrupt business practices,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “No one is above the law, least of all the NRA, which has done unspeakable damage to our political system.”
“The NRA’s culture of deception, decadence, and disregard of non-profit law has endangered millions of lives and fueled America’s gun violence crisis,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “The work Attorney General James is doing to hold them accountable isn’t just a fight for justice under the law, it’s a fight for all those whose loved ones have been taken by gun violence.”
“Attorney General James has both the power and the responsibility to hold the NRA’s feet to the fire for its fraud and abuse,” said Nick Suplina, managing director of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “The attorneys general seeking to interfere in the lawsuit could learn something from her courage and steadfast commitment to following the facts wherever they lead.”
From mounting legal troubles to plummeting members, 2020 was the worst year in recent memory for the NRA. Meanwhile, the gun safety movement has never been stronger. Some lowlights include:
- The NRA reported plummeting membership revenue, contributing to massive financial woes: In October, leaked financial documents showed that “membership dues to the NRA fell more than $57 million” in 2019, the largest drop since 2012. Earlier this year, the NRA reportedly laid off or furloughed over 200 employees due to financial struggles. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre was caught on tape saying that the NRA suffered “about a $100 million hit” in 2018 and 2019, and that he had taken “about $80 million” out of the budget for the NRA to “survive.”
- The NRA’s legal troubles –– and fees –– skyrocketed: In addition to Attorney General James’ suit, DC Attorney General Karl Racine sued the NRA for allegedly exerting undue influence over the NRA Foundation. On top of that, the NRA also faces a class action lawsuit, is embroiled in various lawsuits with former business partner Ackerman McQueen, and just settled a lawsuit with New York State’s Department of Financial Services –– an investigation that began after Everytown conducted and shared an investigation and legal analysis into the NRA’s Carry Guard program in 2017. These lawsuits have led to immense legal bills, with the NRA paying its outside lawyer $38.6 million in just two years. And if that wasn’t enough, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Wayne LaPierre is under criminal investigation for potential tax crimes relating to fringe benefits received through the NRA.
- The NRA’s big bet on President Trump was a bust: During the 2020 election cycle, more than 66% of the NRA’s federal independent expenditure spending was devoted to reelecting President Trump. The NRA lost that bet in a big way on Election Day, and it will soon find itself in the same place as President Trump on January 20: out of power.
- NRA leaders peddled conspiracy theories about COVID-19 to encourage more gun purchases: Several NRA board members were caught furthering racist narratives about COVID-19, spreading conspiracy theories, and encouraging anti-quarantine protests. These egregious comments were widely reported, including the use of racist rhetoric and fear-mongering claims that buying guns was the only way to stay safe during the pandemic.
- The NRA was exposed for years of silence and racism around police violence: After the police killing of George Floyd, several prominent NRA personalities made racist comments about the Black Lives Matter movement –– including comparing Black Lives Matter to Nazis and ISIS, defending Rayshard Brooks’ killers, and complaining that Black people never said “thank you” to white people for freeing them from slavery. This led to reporting that exposed years of silence –– and worse –– around police killings from the NRA, which falsely claims to be “America’s longest-standing civil rights organization.”
- An in-depth Everytown Support Fund report explored the links between the NRA and the rise of armed extremism in America: The report, released in October, traces the growth of far-right extremism in America, from the fringes of the internet to the NRA and the Trump White House. The report demonstrates how the NRA has been instrumental in spreading far-right messaging; fanning the flames of anger, racism and fear; and advocating for lax gun laws that enable violent extremists to arm themselves.
- President-elect Biden is not afraid of the NRA: Throughout his campaign, President-elect Biden touted the fact that he’s twice taken on the NRA and won –– first in 1993, when he helped pass the bill to establish our background check system, and again in 1994, when he secured the passage of a 10-year ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Moving forward, the President-elect has made it clear whose side he is on. His website reads: “Joe Biden will defeat the NRA again.”
Throughout the year, Everytown has continued to shine a spotlight on the NRA’s downward spiral –– including through NRAWatch.org, a website that educates the public about the NRA’s misdeeds, questionable finances, and legal woes.