The National Rifle Association could very well be on its last leg, according to a fundraising email sent earlier this month by the gun rights organization, which warned the group could shut down “very soon.”
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that the four-page plea for financial aid was signed by the NRA’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and laid blame at the feet of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“[R]ight now we’re facing an attack that’s unprecedented not just in the history of the RNA, but in the entire history of our country [all emphasis original],” the letter began. . “And if this attack succeeds, NRA will be forced to shut down forever.”
“And let me be clear,” LaPierre wrote. “Cuomo’s tactics are already working. One by one, more and more banks and insurance companies across the country are knuckling under to Cuomo’s threat—and telling NRA they won’t do business with us—because they don’t want to be targeted and crushed by Cuomo’s strong-arm tactics and the vast power of thousands of New York bureaucrats.”
The email concluded with a request for financial assistance: “I’m counting on your financial support to keep us in operation while we fight in the courts to prevent a total NRA shutdown.”
An attorney representing the organization, William Brewer, said in a statement that the email was warranted due to the existential threat Cuomo presents to the NRA, though he opted for less hyperbole than LaPierre:
“The attack on the NRA is unprecedented. This call to action is real. If left unchecked, the actions of Gov. Cuomo would damage the NRA’s ability to access certain financial and insurance services—hurting its financial position and impacting its ability to advocate for members. The NRA is a vibrant organization that is growing and in sound financial condition—but it must be positioned to defend itself, like any advocacy group facing an attack on its constitutional freedoms.”
The NRA responded to Cuomo’s actions — which included calling the group “an extremist organization” and encouraging companies doing business with the NRA to “consider their reputation” — by suing the governor in federal court.
The guns rights group found support in the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued in an amicus brief that Cuomo had set a dangerous precedent, the Daily Beast noted.
Though a federal judge allowed the lawsuit to move forward in November, LaPierre’s March email presents the situation as dire:
“[Ve]ry soon, unless we can force Cuomo to break off this attack, NRA will have no choice but to cease operations after 147 years of fighting for freedom,” he wrote.
“You and I have seen how the power of government has been used in China and Cuba and North Korea to stamp out opposing views and silence political opponents. But never in my life did I think we’d see these tactics brazenly and openly deployed by government officials, right here in the United States, to destroy people and organizations they disagree with.”