WV AG joins 16-state brief in support of the NRA

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FILE – In this May 4, 2013, file photo, National Rifle Association members listen to speakers during the NRA’s annual Meetings and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The Los Angeles City Council, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 repealed a law requiring companies that want city contracts to disclose whether they have ties to the NRA. The 12-0 vote comes weeks after a judge blocked the city from enforcing the ordinance.(Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced on Wednesday that the state would join a 16-state coalition to “protect those who cherish the Second Amendment to choose whether they with to assemble as members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).”

The coalition says they support the NRA’s recent efforts to reorganize and as such oppose New York Attorney General Letitia James’ attempt to dismiss the organization’s chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. James has claimed the NRA’s petition to be improper.

Morrisey claims that the New York lawsuit “seeks to dissolve the NRA and undermine the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

“The Second Amendment is a bedrock principle,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We remain fervent in defending the right to bear arms for all West Virginians as well as their First Amendment right to assemble as law-abiding citizens who cherish self-defense and the freedom to live their lives as they choose.”

The brief details New York’s previous encounters with the NRA, and it argues that there’s nothing improper about the NRA seeking to leave the state after such encounters.

In 2020, New York filed suit seeking to dissolve the NRA. At the time, Letitia James made the following statement:

“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” said Attorney General James. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”

At the same time, Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine filed suit against the NRA for “diverting charitable funds to support wasteful spending” but did not seek dissolution of the organization. Racine issued the following statement at the time:

“Charitable organizations function as public trusts—and District law requires them to use their funds to benefit the public, not to support political campaigns, lobbying, or private interests,” said AG Racine. “With this lawsuit, we aim to recover donated funds that the NRA Foundation wasted. District nonprofits should be on notice that the Office of the Attorney General will file suit if we find evidence of illegal behavior.” 

The NRA responded by suing Letitia James in federal court, claiming that her suit violated the organization’s First Amendment rights by seeking to punish the NRA for its Second Amendment advocacy.

This coalition supported the NRA’s countersuit.

This brief was led by Arkansas and included the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

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