Don’t Forget All The National Rifle Association’s Other Lawsuits….


lawfare lawsuits government pigs iStock-udall30 1401677883
iStock-udall30 1401677883

Arguments were heard by the US Supreme Court on Monday, March 18, 2024, regarding allowing a lawsuit filed by the NRA against a New York state official to go forward.

The National Rifle Association won a procedural argument in District Court that would have allowed the case to proceed, but that decision was reversed in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Now the Justices will decide whether to reverse the Appeals Court’s decision and let the case go back to the District Court to continue to trial. The good news is that the SCOTUS Justices seemed to agree with the NRA’s position, challenging the assertions of the New York attorney, and nodding along with the presentation from the NRA’s attorney. In a surprise twist, the attorney representing the NRA is from the ACLU. He and his organization have disavowed the NRA and its mission, but say the case is more important than the organization. The Biden Justice Department chimed in, warning that siding with the NRA could limit regulators’ ability to influence companies, but conceded that the NRA had a solid case, at least in part, and that the case should be allowed to go forward.

BUT, don’t get this case confused with other NRA cases that are going on….

The NRA is currently involved in three major lawsuits not related to firearms or the Second Amendment. The first, NY v. NRA et al, is the one you’ve probably heard the most about recently. It’s a civil case filed by the Attorney General of New York against the NRA and some of its top executives. The AG accused several NRA executives of self-dealing and misappropriating funds, and accused the NRA itself of failing in its fiduciary responsibility to guard the members’ money by allowing the graft and corruption to go on for years.

The initial phase of that case was decided last month with all of the executives and NRA itself found liable for virtually all of the charges against them. A second phase of that trial, the Remedy phase, is scheduled to begin in mid-July. That’s when the judge will hear arguments regarding what went wrong to allow the corruption, and what remedies he will apply to protect the Association and its members going forward. His decision will be critical to the future of the Association as he can order significant reorganization and restructuring – which would be, in my opinion, a good thing.

There is another, somewhat related case, DC v. NRA Foundation, which was filed by the Attorney General of Washington, D.C. against the NRA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) subsidiary of the NRA dedicated exclusively to charitable and educational efforts. This case alleges that the NRA Foundation improperly diverted funds to the NRA as part of the abusive activities exposed in the New York case. While the DC case does not pose the same sort of threats presented in the New York case, it could cause significant problems for the NRA and the NRA Foundation going forward. Where the NY AG initially asked for the total dissolution of the NRA, the DC AG is much more reasonably asking for more transparency, fewer NRA Directors on the Foundation’s board, more training for Directors, and an order for the Foundation to attempt to recoup the improperly diverted funds. It’s that last remedy that could create significant problems, as the NRA is currently teetering on the verge of insolvency, and the suit alleges that as much as $400 million was improperly diverted from the Foundation to the NRA over the past several years.

The Foundation could be forced to sue the NRA to recoup those funds, and a judgment against the NRA for even a quarter of that could bankrupt the Association. That case is scheduled to go to trial next month.

The third major case, NRA v. Vullo, is the one that was just before the Supreme Court. This case is about government suppression of free speech rights and has nothing to do with the civil case filed by the NY AG, though some in the NRA upper echelons have used reports about this First Amendment case to create confusion regarding the civil liability case. The gist of the case is that after the terrible attack by a deranged student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a New York Official named Maria Vullo, who held regulatory authority over insurance and financial services businesses, began suggesting to some of those companies that doing business with the NRA could be detrimental to their reputations. In at least one instance, she is accused of telling a company that disassociating itself from the NRA would result in more considerate (lenient) treatment by regulators. That smacks of extortion under color of law and should never be tolerated.

If the Supreme Court rules in the NRA’s favor, the case will go back to the Federal District Court in New York for trial. Whatever the outcome in that trial, it will almost certainly be appealed, heard by the Second Circuit, and again petitioned back up to the Supreme Court. The SCOTUS decision on whether the case can proceed is not expected until June, and it’s likely that the case, which was initially filed 7 years ago, will not be finally settled for at least another two to three years.

I’ll also mention a fourth case that’s ongoing, Dell’Aquila, et al v. NRA. It’s a class action suit brought by David Dell’Aquila and other NRA members against the Association for misuse of members’ funds and fraudulent solicitation. It’s been winding its way through the legal system for several years now. The suit was originally filed in an attempt to wake Board members up and get them to do something about the blatant corruption in the executive suite, but when they refused to act, it continued and though it’s been repeatedly delayed and held back, it could be in the news again very soon.

Four years ago, Wayne LaPierre told the NRA Board that the Vullo case had cost the Association over $100 million to that point. Since then, the Association has spent well over another $100 million on the NY v. NRA, et al case. The DC v. NRA Foundation case has been much lower key, but will be racking up significant billable hours as it goes to trial.

I strongly support the NRA’s suit against Vullo and New York. That case should be a slam-dunk, but you can never be sure what might happen in our “justice” system.

I sincerely hope the NRA Foundation’s board has taken significant steps to address the complaints of the DC AG, and has implemented the AG’s ideas for remedies, so there’s nothing left for the judge to do but dismiss the case. Even if they’ve done that – which I doubt they have – there’s still the issue of attempting to recoup funds that were diverted to the NRA.

Regarding NY V. NRA, et al, this one could have, and should have, been avoided completely by taking action back in 2019 when the evidence of corruption first became widely public. It’s inexcusable that so much time and money has been poured into this case. At least it opens up the possibility of significant reform once the judge gets the case.

Don’t forget that there are four of us running for the NRA Board of Directors to try and see to it that real reform really happens. We are Phil Journey, Rocky Marshall, Dennis Fisaro, and me, Jeff Knox. If you got a ballot in your March NRA magazine, please mark our four names – and no one else – and mail it right away. Ballots must be received by April 28. Thanks – Jeff

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit:

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