Hoping to Avoid NY Finance Investigation, National Rifle Association Reincorporates in Texas


Gage Skidmore

The NRA’s CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre speaking at the 2017 American Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Just a few months after facing a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), the National Rifle Association (NRA) declared bankruptcy on Friday, Jan. 15, and announced its plans to reincorporate in Texas from New York. The state of incorporation refers to which state the company is registered in, and therefore the state laws it is governed under. The gun-rights advocacy group is one of the United State’s most powerful special interest lobbying groups and one of the most politically influential gun-rights groups. The NRA’s transformational plan, called “Project Freedom”, begins with this reincorporation, to the state that has multiple counties that have previously declared themselves ‘Second Amendment Sanctuaries’.

“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. 

The organization has faced complaints about alleged inappropriate spending and diversion of funds, which prompted the lawsuit to dissolve the organization by Ms. James last August. The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court in Dallas, as part of its “Project Freedom”, to reorganize their business assets, liabilities, and affairs by incorporating in Texas to avoid the lawsuit. It reported between $100 million and $500 million in assets and the same amount in liabilities. 

“The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,” Ms. James said. “While we review this filing, we will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.”

The group canceled its national convention, sped up fundraising efforts, and laid off dozens of employees last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a Q&A published on its website, the NRA refuted Ms. James’ claims, stating that filing for Chapter 11 was also not their way of admitting to mismanaging donor funds, but that the decision was motivated by a biased assault on the organization by Ms. James. 

“[The NRA is not going bankrupt.] In fact, this move comes at a time when the NRA is in its strongest financial condition in years… This action is necessitated primarily by one thing: the unhinged and political attack against the NRA by the New York Attorney General.”

As the incredibly powerful lobbying group the NRA is, the organization officially spends about $3 million per year to influence gun policy. They have lobbied heavily against all forms of gun control and use their influence to assert their interpretation of the 2nd amendment. The NRA’s restructuring plans aim to position the organization in a place where they can continue advocating for the country’s “constitutional freedom”.

“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth, and progress,” NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said. “The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom.”

According to the NRA, it has more than 400,000 members in Texas and is now planning on holding its annual meeting in Houston this year. The organization’s current headquarters is located in Fairfax, Virginia, and Mr. LaPierre has said there are no current plans to relocate. Governor of Texas Greg Abbott (R) along with other Texas lawmakers such as State Senator Dawn Buckingham (R, D-24) and Andi Turner, legislative director for the Texas State Rifle Association,  have welcomed the association to Texas.