The National Rifle Association announced Friday it was filing for bankruptcy protection from creditors and moving to Texas, in an apparent bid to dodge a corruption probe in New York.
The powerful gun lobby group and one of its subsidiaries filed petitions for so-called Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Dallas court.
The NRA said its decision to reincorporate its non-profit status in Texas will ensure that in the future it is “free from the toxic political environment in New York.” The NRA was set up in New York in 1871.
The state of New York announced in August of last year that it was suing the NRA and its leader Wayne LaPierre for financial fraud and misconduct, aiming to dissolve the organization.
State Attorney General Letitia James said LaPierre and three other top NRA officials had used the dues and donations of members for years as their “personal piggy bank,” spending tens of millions of dollars on themselves and cronies in violation of laws governing non-profit organizations.
James, a Democrat, denied she was acting on political motives.
“The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,” she said after the announcement.
“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.”
For decades the NRA has represented the views of millions of gun owners and enthusiasts across the United States, fighting with substantial success to loosen and eliminate gun controls, citing the Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.
It was able to shape major political races by endorsing candidates who lined up with its views and pummel those who supported firearms regulation.
The US government tallied 38,390 deaths by firearm in 2018, the latest year for which data are available. Just over a third were homicide, with the remainder mainly suicide.
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