Sixteen Republican state attorneys general are voicing support for the National Rifle Association (NRA) in its legal battle against New York Attorney General Letitia James, who seeks to dissolve the gun rights group.
The GOP attorneys general, led by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, filed an amicus brief with U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York on Tuesday backing an NRA lawsuit against James alleging that the New York AG is seeking to crush the advocacy group’s First Amendment rights.
“New York’s lawsuit is a political stunt by a liberal attorney general who promised in her campaign to go after the NRA. It is designed to undermine our Second Amendment right,” Rutledge said in a statement. “Even if it makes me unpopular in places like New York, I stand committed to protecting the Constitution — particularly Arkansans’ right to bear arms. That is why I oppose the New York Attorney General’s political stunt and am proud to lead these 16 States in supporting the NRA’s lawsuit against New York.”
“I repeat my invitation to the NRA: The Natural State would happily welcome an organization that fights for the Second Amendment rights of Arkansans and all Americans,” she added. The attorneys general of Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia joined Rutledge against James’ “politically-motivated” suit against the NRA, according to the statement.
James responded to the brief on Tuesday, saying: “The NRA has been a breeding ground of fraud, abuse, and brazen illegality. Simply put, the rot runs deep, which is why our lawsuit to dissolve the organization will continue undeterred,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
James sued the NRA on Aug. 6, seeking to dissolve the gun advocacy group over alleged financial irregularities and self-dealing among the group’s executives.
“We are seeking to dissolve the NRA for years of self-dealing and illegal conduct that violate New York’s charities laws and undermine its own mission. The NRA diverted millions of dollars away from its charitable mission for personal use by senior leadership,” she stated. “Our lawsuit charges the NRA as a whole and four senior leaders, including Wayne LaPierre, with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws. These actions contributed to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA.”
The NRA countered with its own lawsuit filed days later, accusing James of attempting to trample the group’s right to free speech in order to score political points and fulfill a campaign promise.
“Despite hopes that playing by the rules would procure a just outcome, the NRA has not been treated fairly by James’s office,” the NRA lawsuit said. “The New York Democratic Party political machine seeks to harass, defund, and dismantle the NRA because of what it believes and what it says.”
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