U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Insisting the National Rifle Association is “strong financially,” embattled Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told Newsmax talk host Grant Stinchfield in a televised interview the organization is growing by “about 1,000 (members) a day” and intimated that the current legal and financial troubles are politically motivated and not just about him.
“So much of this is about the hatred of some politicians toward our constitutional freedoms and the organization,” LaPierre said during a 6 ½-minute interview, “the Number One organization that defends it, the National Rifle Association, and all we are people all over the country that believe in their freedom.”
Stinchfield, an award-winning broadcast journalist who was a lead reporter for NRA TV, opened the interview by asking LaPierre if NRA is “still in a position to be successful.”
“Is the NRA as strong as it’s ever been,” he inquired.
LaPierre responded by ticking off a list of achievements NRA has racked up over the years.
“Y’know this organization has had an historical record of achievement,” he said. “Right to carry in 41 states. We saved the American firearms industry from certain bankruptcy by these predatory lawsuits. Emergency power bills where they can’t come into your house and confiscate your firearms and leave you defenseless in a time of emergency.
“And then those historic Heller and McDonald decisions that said the Second Amendment is your individual right,” he added. “It’s not about the government’s right.”
While the NRA submitted a brief supporting Heller, it was not the association’s case, however. And, while NRA had a companion case challenging the Chicago gun ban, McDonald v. City of Chicago was actually a Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) case. Both McDonald and NRA’s cases were argued at the same time before the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing both organizations to claim victory when the high court nullified Chicago’s gun law.
LaPierre recalled to viewers that early in 2018, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Financial Services “went after every bank and insurance company doing business in New York State, and that’s the most powerful financial center in the country, and said ‘Hey, if you do business with the NRA, we’re going to punish you; there will be retribution. You’ll pay a price.’ I mean, the awesome power of the state.
“And then.,” LaPierre continued, “his hand-picked candidate for Attorney General, Letitia James, before she ever (served) a day in office, during her campaign said that because the NRA supported the Second Amendment, she considered (us) a terrorist criminal organization and when she won she was going to open up an investigation.”
Last August, James filed a lawsuit against the organization, seeking to dissolve it. The lawsuit alleges LaPierre “exploited the organization for his financial benefit, and the benefit of a close circle of NRA staff, board members and vendors.”
NRA counter-sued James, getting support from several states’ attorneys general. As reported by the Washington Post, their brief stated, “The New York Attorney General cannot be allowed to wield the power of her office to discriminate against the NRA simply because she does not like its members’ political views, advocacy or defense of a constitutional right.”
NRA also sued Gov. Cuomo and Maria Vullo, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, and the agency. Even the ACLU sided with NRA in a brief to the court. This lawsuit alleges that Cuomo, Vullo and the DFS had mounted a “campaign to chill the political speech of the NRA and other so-called ‘gun promotion’ organizations by leveraging state power to punish financial institutions which maintain business arrangements with the NRA.”
NRA recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a move to pull out of New York State and restructure in Texas.
More than once, Stinchfield accused NRA’s opponents of “weaponizing” government to take down the 150-year-old NRA, which was founded and incorporated in 1871, in New York State.
In reaction to the suggestion, LaPierre observed, “This is a constitutional fight. It’s bigger than the NRA. It’s for all Americans because if they can do it to the NRA today, they can do it to any organization on the right or left tomorrow.”
When Stinchfield noted the past two-plus years have been “tough,” LaPierre responded, “Well, y’know it’s not really me. This is about all Americans. This is a question of whether we’re going to live in a country where, and I really mean it, where if you have a different political point of view than the politicians that control the government at any given time. Whether those politicians can use their power to silence and destroy you.
“It’s about whether we have constitutional freedom like the right to keep and bear arms to protect yourself and your family if the glass breaks at 2 a.m.,” he continued. “I mean that’s what this fight’s about. That’s what NRA does every day. That’s what the people around the country want this organization to do and what I love about it is that NRA stands on principle and fight(s).
“It’s not here to be popular in this town It’s here to represent people all over the country who want their freedoms defended,” he said.
While some 33,000 people joined NRA last month, according to LaPierre, gun owners are also reportedly throwing considerable support to SAF, which has become a legal powerhouse in the Second Amendment litigation arena. That group, based in Bellevue, Washington, has filed dozens of lawsuits challenging state and local gun control laws in the aftermath of the McDonald ruling, which incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment in June 2010.
SAF, as Ammoland News has reported, is now entering its seventh week of advertising and promoting a grassroots effort called “2nd Amendment First Responders.” According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, SAF has attracted tens of thousands of new members and supporters with the “First Responders” campaign. About 25 percent of these new “recruits” were first-time gun buyers in 2020 and roughly 40 percent of those supporters are women.
“It’s important to remember,” Gottlieb recently observed, “that despite the NRA’s financial and legal troubles, American gun owners remain fully engaged.”
That’s not likely to change, as Joe Biden has a gun control agenda that amounts to a “wish list” for anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety gun prohibition lobbying group. Some are already suggesting he could accomplish much of his scheme via executive order.
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