National Rifle Association Leaves New York for Texas by Filing for Bankruptcy

National Rifle Association Leaves New York for Texas by Filing for Bankruptcy
Wayne LaPierre, NRA vice president and CEO, attends the NRA annual meeting of members in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 27, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

The National Rifle Association (NRA) announced Friday that it plans to leave New York by filing for bankruptcy and reincorporating in Texas.

The NRA has more than 5 million members nationwide and seeks to protect Second Amendment rights. The NRA was chartered as a nonprofit in New York in 1871 and is incorporated in the state. It is headquartered in Virginia. Going forward, the NRA said a committee will study opportunities to relocate segments of its operations to Texas and elsewhere.

“Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom—free from the toxic political environment of New York,” NRA vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement.

“The plan can be summed up quite simply: We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas. ... This plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress.”

The Lone Star state has some 400,000 NRA members. LaPierre said the organization plans to hold its annual convention in Houston later this year.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, welcomed the NRA in a Twitter post. “Welcome to Texas—a state that safeguards the 2nd Amendment,” he wrote.

LaPierre said that “no major changes” are expected to the organization operations or workforce. The move to Texas involved the NRA and a subsidiary filing voluntary chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.

“As you may know, chapter 11 proceedings are often utilized by businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs,” LaPierre noted.

The announcement comes after New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, sued the NRA in August 2020 over allegations that top executives engaged in “diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty.”

The NRA said in announcing the exit from New York that the organization was “in its strongest financial condition in years.”

The NRA’s bankruptcy filing listed between $100 million and $500 million in assets and between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities,” noted The Associated Press.

In its filing, the NRA said that LaPierre made the decision to file for bankruptcy protection in consultation with a “special litigation committee” comprised of three NRA officials that was formed in September 2020 to oversee its legal strategies. The NRA board voted Jan. 7 to clarify LaPierre’s employment agreement, giving him the power to “reorganize or restructure the affairs” of the organization.

Shortly after the NRA announcement, James said in a Twitter post that while she and her office review the organization’s bankruptcy filing, they “will not allow the @NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability” or oversight.
President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 8 said he will “defeat” the NRA while he’s in office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.