Doubts about the viability of New York Attorney General Letitia James‘ lawsuit to dissolve the National Rifle Association are extending even to NRA dissidents who have long clamored for major overhauls at the gun rights group but call the legal action a massive unforced error. Ms. James said the lawsuit over the misuse of charitable funds and the remedies she seeks were not extreme, but NRA members say she would have done well to stop short of demanding an end to the group, which is chartered in New York and was founded shortly after the Civil War. “My gut is it doesn’t change anything,” said Frank Tait, an NRA member who has been vying for a spot on the group’s board of directors. “I’m seeing some evidence that people in the gun community are incensed at Attorney General James‘ overreach, and they are joining the NRA so that you have an increase in membership coming from this.” Mr. Tait said Ms. James overplayed her hand. “Given what’s in that complaint, where are the criminal charges in terms of the individuals and those actions? That, to me, would have been appropriate,” he said. Replacing the board and announcing additional oversight would be warranted instead of “asking for the death penalty for an organization for malfeasance,” he said.
David Dell’Aquila, a major NRA donor, estimated that more than $165 million in planned contributions has been withheld as a form of protest against organizational issues, but he added that Ms. James has politicized the dissent and is trying to fire up the Democratic base. [full article]