National Rifle Association declares bankruptcy in the US, plans to become a non-profit

Gun Rights

The US National Rifle Association has announced it has filed for bankruptcy, seeking protection from creditors by restructuring as a Texas non-profit.

The announcement made on the NRA’s website comes months after New York’s attorney general sued the organisation over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.

The NRA filed the Chapter 11 petitions in US Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, it said in a news release.

The NRA said it would restructure as a Texas non-profit to exit what it said was “a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York” state, where it is currently registered.

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“The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom — free from the toxic political environment of New York,” the NRA said in a statement.

A woman holds an automatic rifle at the 2019 NRA annual meeting
The 2nd amendment of the US Constitution enshrines the right to keep and bear arms.(AP: Michael Conroy)

The influential group said in a statement there would be no immediate changes to its operations or workforce, and that it “will continue with the forward advancement of the enterprise — confronting anti-Second Amendment activities, promoting firearm safety and training, and advancing public programs across the United States.”

The 2nd amendment of the US Constitution enshrines the right to keep and bear arms.

Move could put NY lawsuit on hold

Last August, New York State Attorney-General Letitia James sued to dissolve the NRA, alleging its leaders paid for family trips to the Bahamas, private jets and expensive meals that contributed to a $US64 million ($83 million) reduction in the NRA’s balance sheet in three years, turning a surplus into a deficit.

The NRA responded by counter-suing Ms James in federal court, saying she had violated the NRA’s right to free speech and seeking to block her investigation. The litigation remains pending.

An African-American woman is photographed close-up at a lectern as she wears a purple top.
The NRA counter-sued Attorney General Letitia James in federal court, saying she had violated the group’s right to free speech.(AP: Seth Wenig)

The NRA in recent decades has been one of the leading voices opposing proposed or existing gun control measures.

The move will likely put the attorney general’s lawsuit on hold, and a reincorporation to Texas could strip her of the ability to seek the group’s dissolution.

In her lawsuit, Ms James had said the NRA’s incorporation as a non-profit in New York gave her authority to dissolve it.

The coronavirus pandemic has also upended the NRA, which last year laid off dozens of employees, cancelled its national convention and scuttled fundraising.

Still, the NRA claimed in announcing the move that the organisation was “in its strongest financial condition in years”.

The gun-rights group boasts about 5 million members.

Though headquartered in Virginia, the NRA was chartered as a non-profit in New York in 1871 and is incorporated in the state.


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