The NRA Is Not (Fiscally) Bankrupt
May 11, 2021 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Back in January, the National Rifle Association filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, less out of a financial need but in order to reincorporate in Texas, in light of the lawsuit in New York to dissolve their corporate charter. Today, the federal judge overseeing the case has dismissed the NRA’s request, stating that it was purely intended to get around the NY lawsuit.

The trial to determine whether or not the bankruptcy filing would be allowed wound up having the NRA's dirty laundry aired on the stand, with Wayne LaPierre testifying on the stand about how he had kept the bankruptcy filing a secret from the board and other senior NRA officials. In addition, the DoJ filed a brief in the matter urging the judge to deny the filing.
posted by NoxAeternum (56 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
What can I say but "lol", because lord knows what harebrained nonsense they'll come up with next, or who they'll brown bag.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:33 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


Fuck the NRA. LOL
posted by Windopaene at 2:37 PM on May 11 [14 favorites]


*world's tiniest 21 gun salute*
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:39 PM on May 11 [27 favorites]


Good riddance (hopefully) to a terrorist organization that ran on terrorizing their members as a front for the gun companies and was directly responsible for more USA deaths than any foreign organization ever was.

I'm sure there will be some new gun nut boil that springs up from the herpes of the USA donor class, but ending the NRA will be a victory and all of them count.
posted by lon_star at 2:45 PM on May 11 [26 favorites]


I wouldn't have expected "The NRA is no longer in bankrupcy" to be good news, but here we are. May they rot in hell for all the pain and violence they have facilitated.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:47 PM on May 11 [26 favorites]


I can't think of many other mainstream groups that go out of their way to spread as much death and misery as the NRA has, and have gotten away with it for this long.

I'm looking forward to discovery process uncovering more of this terrorist organization's financial relationship with Russia.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:47 PM on May 11 [15 favorites]


The case was dismissed without prejudice, but the judge included this most remarkable "I dare you":

"..but should the NRA file a new bankruptcy case, this Court would immediately take up some of its concerns about disclosure, transparency, secrecy, conflicts of interest of officers and litigation counsel, and the unusual involvement of litigation counsel in the affairs of the NRA, which could cause the appointment of a trustee out of concern that the NRA could not fulfill the fiduciary duty required by the Bankruptcy Code for a debtor possession."

My favor part of this three-ring circus was the former Treasurer who pleaded his fifth amendment rights multiple times on the stand. Yep, the Treasurer of the organization.
posted by Silvery Fish at 2:47 PM on May 11 [79 favorites]


Thoughts and prayers.
posted by adamrice at 2:52 PM on May 11 [69 favorites]


Let's say James' suit to dissolve the NRA's charter in NY is successful. What's to stop them from just reorganizing in Texas? I don't know much about the process.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 2:55 PM on May 11


Let's say James' suit to dissolve the NRA's charter in NY is successful. What's to stop them from just reorganizing in Texas? I don't know much about the process.

Dissolution means that the assets of the NRA are transfered to other gun rights groups as part of the process, which could include the NRA's trademarks. It wouldn't just be the NRA losing their charter - the NRA would functionally cease to exist.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:03 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


No joke, my exact reaction to reading this was a malevolent cackle.

go tish go
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:10 PM on May 11 [18 favorites]




Wow. That can't be a regular occurrence. Besides any other consequences, I don't see how anybody could remain on the board.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:26 PM on May 11


Dissolution means that the assets of the NRA are transfered to other gun rights groups as part of the process,

Oh my god wait, there are other guns rights groups??? Jesus Christ.
posted by bleep at 3:38 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


They may have to call the new group National Rifle Entertainment, implying that any terrorist threats forthcoming from it are merely kayfabe.
posted by acb at 3:42 PM on May 11 [25 favorites]


Dissolution means that the assets of the NRA are transfered to other gun rights groups as part of the process

If any of the assets end up getting transferred to, say, a John Brown Gun Club, I would get a very good laugh out of that.
posted by eviemath at 3:51 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]


Dissolution means that the assets of the NRA are transfered to other gun rights groups as part of the process, which could include the NRA's trademarks. It wouldn't just be the NRA losing their charter - the NRA would functionally cease to exist.

Well, if another gun group gets the NRA's trademark, then they can straight up become the new NRA, in the same way some holding company is puppeting the corpse of Toys R Us, or the way old game companies THQ and Atari are being used by rights holders with no relation to the original companies. Since the NRA's prime demographic is half-senile anyway if the right organization gets the trademark and the mailing lists the transition may well be seamless.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:53 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]


Dissolution means that the assets of the NRA are transfered to other gun rights groups as part of the process

If any of the assets end up getting transferred to, say, a John Brown Gun Club, I would get a very good laugh out of that.



There’s also the Socialist Rifle Association. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind serving as a clearing house for some of the old NRA assets.
posted by darkstar at 4:40 PM on May 11 [18 favorites]


I get their emails. Gun Owners of America often makes the NRA look like a voice of moderation and reason.
posted by glonous keming at 5:23 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


AG James lays it out:
#BREAKING: A judge has ruled in our favor and rejected the @NRA's attempt to claim bankruptcy and reorganize in Texas.

The @NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions, and our case will continue in New York court.

No one is above the law.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:36 PM on May 11 [15 favorites]


It's funny to see them going down in flames, but I feel bad for the millions of people of modest means who got scammed over the years, all riled up with fake news and fabricated fears in order to get their money.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:00 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


No Reorganization Allowed.
posted by cenoxo at 6:18 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


Gun rights advocacy groups in the United States — Wikipedia: These are groups actively working to protect the right to keep and bear arms in the United States (last edited on 25 January 2021).
posted by cenoxo at 6:41 PM on May 11


Oh my god wait, there are other guns rights groups??? Jesus Christ.

All sorts of other groups; as glonous keming pointed out, some of them make the NRA look relatively moderate. But there are more liberal organizations too; a nice summary is here.
posted by TedW at 6:43 PM on May 11


Dissolution means that the assets of the NRA are transfered to other gun rights groups as part of the process

Wait, what? Why? How does that work? Who decides who suddenly owns a big chunk of the NRA and who doesn’t? Can I be a gun rights group? (I enjoy owning assets!) I have so many questions!
posted by Naberius at 6:52 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]


Can I be a gun rights group? (I enjoy owning assets!)

"You" would have to be a registered nonprofit organization. Individuals (including the leadership) cannot own the assets of a nonprofit by definition. That's...kinda the whole point.

The legal details of dissolution of a nonprofit vary between states; I can't speak to New York's process.
posted by desuetude at 7:11 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Wait, what? Why? How does that work? Who decides who suddenly owns a big chunk of the NRA and who doesn’t? Can I be a gun rights group? (I enjoy owning assets!) I have so many questions!

From what I've read, NYS law mandates that a nonprofit dissolved for malfeasance has to have its assets passed on to organizations that will continue the general mission of the organization. When the Trump Foundation was dissolved, the ostensible mission was considered to be general welfare, so the assets were surrendered to the United Way. However, the NRA has a more focused mission, and as such its assets would need to be passed to a nonprofit also in alignment with said mission.

Selection is done by the AG with oversight by the judge, so no, you're not going to see the Socialist Rifle Association suddenly getting the NRA’s assets - but at the same time you won't see the Gun Owners of America get any either. (I do fully expect them to sue for a slice, though.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:20 PM on May 11 [12 favorites]


Season two of the Gangster Capitalism podcast is a great deep dive into just how fucking corrupt the NRA has become.

It's saddening to me that the organization which provided the hunter safety class I attended in my youth and was long a proponent of safe and responsible gun ownership for so long has turned into such a corrupt shitshow.
posted by calamari kid at 7:25 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]


What about NAAGO? They have NYS chapters
posted by eustatic at 7:27 PM on May 11


The next step will be for Mike Lindell to file a lawsuit on their behalf, claiming that Dominion's voting machines illegally rigged the NRA's bookkeeping for years.
posted by delfin at 7:28 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


It's funny to see them going down in flames, but I feel bad for the millions of people of modest means who got scammed over the years, all riled up with fake news and fabricated fears in order to get their money.
posted by Dip Flash


Before the age of the intertubies and easily accessible info about pretty much anything? Maybe, in some circumstances.

Since then? Nope. There are no excuses left for individuals to not become informed about important matters.

I mean, personal responsibility and all.

amirite?
posted by Pouteria at 7:32 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


However, the NRA has a more focused mission, and as such its assets would need to be passed to a nonprofit also in alignment with said mission.

Project Appleseed does good work with firearms training, and they teach history!
posted by leotrotsky at 7:34 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


.

May they burn with the fires of the millions of deaths they have inspired or caused in this ignorant, backwards country.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 8:53 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


but I feel bad for the millions of people of modest means who got scammed over the years, all riled up with fake news and fabricated fears in order to get their money.

Racism was a pretty big component of those fears, so I don't.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:18 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that the NRA and the whole 2nd Amendment/gun culture aspect of living in the USA is so totally fucked up, insane, sick, nihilistic, etc, that I'd honestly rather try to have a nuanced conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than deal with the preposterous reasoning that informs these USA gun rights advocates?

I hope the NRA dissolves, gets sued to shit, and can never show their blood covered faces in society again. But we all know that isn't how it works. These toxic monsters will reorganize under a new umbrella and continue to perpetrate the idea that it's a God given right to murder those you disagree with.

I was gonna try to tie this together with something hopeful, but I can't do that right now I guess so I'll just say, REPRESENT AG LETITIA JAMES.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 9:27 PM on May 11 [12 favorites]


The NRA says its mission is to protect the constitution. I think their funds should be distributed to the ACLU, who actually does.
posted by Toddles at 9:31 PM on May 11 [46 favorites]


Selection is done by the AG with oversight by the judge, so no, you're not going to see the Socialist Rifle Association suddenly getting the NRA’s assets

But the John Brown Gun Club, that’s good patriotic gun rights! *makes big kitty eyes at the AG*

In seriousness, I had no idea this existed as a process, does anyone have any info on how this would work?
posted by corb at 11:33 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I had no idea this existed as a process, does anyone have any info on how this would work?

Trust law is like a bowl of rubber spaghetti but I can tell you what the foundations of the idea are. Trusts evolved from the idea that you can give somebody money (or land, or whatever) that comes with a particular duty. E.g., you give somebody money that is to be used to support your child. It isn't the child's money, even though they get the benefit of it; it's the trustee's money, except they can't use it for their own benefit. The child has a right to the benefit of that money, and can take the trustee to court if they misuse it.

Of course, in many cases the whole reason for setting up the trust is that the child is incapable of running their own affairs. So who gets to take the trustee to court if they're misusing the trust funds? The answer English law came up with is: the government, because it has a sort of paternal (their word) relationship with the whole nation. And even when you have trusts that are set up for some public purpose but which don't benefit any one person or group specifically. E.g., a charity to encourage the recital of prayers: who gets to take them to court? The government.

There's a separate doctrine that gets invoked if it's necessary to wind up a charitable trust: that the right thing would be for the funds to continue to be used for the same purpose, albeit by different people. This is the cy pres doctrine, which is an old legal dialect of French meaning "so close". So a court will, if necessary, assign the assets of a trust to a new (but related!) purpose, or give it a new trustee, because the funds didn't belong to the trustee for their own use, but were held for a particular purpose.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:33 AM on May 12 [10 favorites]


May there be so many righteous and successful civil suits against the husk of the NRA that there are no funds or other assets left to worry about.
posted by bilabial at 3:34 AM on May 12


Considering part of their mission statement is
"To promote hunter safety, and to promote and defend hunting as a shooting sport and as a viable and necessary method of fostering the propagation, growth and conservation, and wise use of our renewable wildlife resources."
I could see a variety of wildlife conservation orgs or hunting & fishing groups making a case for getting some of the assets . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 4:36 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


Ha ha, it'd be amazing if a duck hunting org nabbed the mailing list and did some fundraising campaigns for wetlands restoration. They could even reuse the old NRA email templates:
The DemonRATS are trying to pave YOUR marsh! Donate now to STOP Nancy Pelosi and Save Our Ducks!
posted by ryanrs at 5:14 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


I'll just say, REPRESENT AG LETITIA JAMES.

Said it before, will say it again - she started as my neighborhood's city council rep and she has always been a 100% platinum-dipped badass. She's not just taking on the NRA, she is also bringing suits against political-oriented robocallers who were targeting African-American voters, big telecomm firms who tried to influence the debate on net neutrality, and she is also spearheading the investigation into the sexual harrassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 AM on May 12 [19 favorites]


There was a school shooting yesterday in Kazan Russia. Terrible. But:

President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to the victims on Monday and immediately ordered authorities to tighten up gun regulations.

As much as the republican party seems pro-putin this will probably be used as an example of how gun control can be implemented. (Well until the PoT (party of trump) has full fascist control and then it'll realize it should follow putin's example for it's own protection)
posted by sammyo at 6:34 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Although the NRA has serious money problems, and the state of New York may legally succeed in dissolving it, it could resurrect itself elsewhere with a new (church) name, leader (pastor), and the same old theology (based on fear).

From Gun Culture in Action; F. Carson Mencken, Paul Froese; Social Problems, Volume 66, Issue 1, February 2019:
Abstract

Exploring the symbolic meaning of guns in the United States may be one the best ways to approach theoretical questions concerning the effect of “culture in action” because it focuses on a single object—the gun—which brims with symbolic power far beyond its physical utility. Using data from the Baylor Religion Surveys (Wave 4), we investigate the extent to which guns empower gun owners morally and emotionally. We also investigate the diversity of gun owners. We find a wide range of gun empowerment among gun owners, and that this relationship is related to gender, race, religiosity, political views, gun use, and economic distress. Our findings also indicate that Americans’ attachment to guns is not explained entirely by regional, religious, or political cultures. Instead, we demonstrate that white men in economic distress find comfort in guns as a means to reestablish a sense of individual power and moral certitude. Gun empowerment, in turn, affects opinions about gun action and policy.

Excerpt

We find that American gun owners vary greatly in their sense of empowerment from guns; most dramatically, white respondents who have undergone or fear economic distress tend to derive self-esteem and moral rectitude from their weapons. For this distinct group of gun owners, gun empowerment delivers a sense of meaning to life that neither economic status nor religious devotion currently provide. These owners’ attachment to guns draws directly from popular narratives concerning American masculinity, freedom, heroism, power, and independence. In turn, owners who feel more emotionally and morally empowered by their guns are more likely to think that guns can solve social problems and make communities safer, and that citizens are sometimes justified in taking violent action against the government.
The full study (published November 20, 2017) follows in the article, and a PDF is available.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
posted by cenoxo at 8:26 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


I get their emails. Gun Owners of America often makes the NRA look like a voice of moderation and reason.

Right. So, do we really want to take down a corrupt NRA that is wasting millions of dollars and is plagued by infighting? Might we not end up with something worse?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:28 AM on May 12


Although the NRA has serious money problems, and the state of New York may legally succeed in dissolving it, it could resurrect itself elsewhere with a new (church) name, leader (pastor), and the same old theology (based on fear).

But it will be starting from the very beginning, with very few resources, and will likely be competing with the other, much more sane entities to which all of their old resources had been allocated.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


It's really interesting how organizations become so wedded to bad actors at the top. If the NRA really wanted to save itself, it would likely just need to jettison Wayne LaPierre and bring in an executive to clean up its business operations. But apparently fealty to LaPierre matters to the board more than the mission of the organization.
posted by HiddenInput at 8:48 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


But it will be starting from the very beginning, with very few resources, and will likely be competing with the other, much more sane entities to which all of their old resources had been allocated.

There's a reason murderous bigot Harlan Carter masterminded the Cincinnati Revolt to take control of the NRA rather than creating his own lobbying organization, and it's that reason why dissolving the NRA will be such a blow to the movement as a whole. Furthermore, this feels like a version of the tech bad penny argument of "they can just fork", which doesn't even work in tech, let alone in wider society.

If the NRA really wanted to save itself, it would likely just need to jettison Wayne LaPierre and bring in an executive to clean up its business operations. But apparently fealty to LaPierre matters to the board more than the mission of the organization.

The NRA board is around 70-odd members (most other groups have boards of a dozen people), most of whom were appointed by LaPierre. The man knew how to make sure people were loyal to him.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:01 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


A "new" NRA starting from zero will basically be GOA 2.0. A large part of the political power of the NRA derives from the vast pool of members who have been members since long before the NRA went completely off the deep end. They're still members mainly due to inertia and ignorance, not because of some deep seated belief in the cause.
posted by wierdo at 9:47 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


What would be great is if the NRA had the political element ripped out and was restored to an enthusiast organization focused on gun safety. Some restrictions may get passed at some point but guns are not going away and a solid safety message would go a long way towards stopping those 5 year old shooters.
posted by sammyo at 10:00 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Shout out to those who bettered (NoxAeternum) my understanding of trusts (Joe in Australia) and cenoxo for that Gun Culture in Action article.
posted by zenon at 10:15 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


A large part of the political power of the NRA derives from the vast pool of members who have been members since long before the NRA went completely off the deep end. They're still members mainly due to inertia and ignorance, not because of some deep seated belief in the cause.

This is what has me hopeful, though - the people who are only members of the NRA due to inertia will just let things die when the NRA does. (This may be what you were saying, it occurs to me, but just in case...)

Also, upthread it was suggested that while it'd be neat to see the Socialist Rifle Association receive some of the NRA's resources, it likely wouldn't happen. However, with AG James weighing in on the matter, I would put their odds better than "zero"....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Now is not the time to discuss the implosion of the NRA.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:13 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


LaPierre stacked the board with 70 members? Ha ha, that's amazing. No wonder it's so rotten.
posted by ryanrs at 12:24 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Ha ha, that's amazing.

Yes, he reminds me of Trump in that he's simultaneously brilliant and extremely stupid. Brilliant, in that he asks questions no normal guy would ask (“What if I just never pay my contractors?", “What if I have a board of, like, seventy people who are all picked by me and never come to meetings?”) and deeply stupid because what are the odds and how long can you get away with that? Don't forget that Trump started with a fortune, and lots of other people using his technique went broke and stayed broke. Hopefully the NRA will be placed under new management, and LaPierre is going to stay disgraced.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:01 PM on May 12


Established in 2015, The Trace is an American non-profit journalism website devoted to gun-control related news in the United States (more background in WP). They're publishing an ongoing investigation — with a detailed series of articles starting on their NRA Bankruptcy > Bang for the Buck page (scroll down it for story links) — about how the organization spends, or more accurately, misspends its donated money.
posted by cenoxo at 9:22 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


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