Wrapping Up…What

May 3, 2021

Later today, the Texas bankruptcy case of the National Rifle Association is scheduled for final arguments. A late question from the court last week has observers wondering if the case isn’t about to be tossed as a “bad faith” filing.

On Friday, Judge Harlan Hale instructed attorneys to address this question in their closing arguments: If the purpose of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization) is to prevent a company’s falling into Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation), does a bankruptcy court have jurisdiction where the sole purpose of the case is to avoid a state’s attempt to dissolve the corporation - via a dissolution that will require a lawsuit and a a state court’s determination that the dissolution is in the public interest?

In other words, dissuade me that escaping New York State’s attempt at dissolution isn’t the ultimate reason for the bankruptcy - not a collateral one.

If the NRA’s attorneys fail to convince Judge Hale, it’s back to New York State courts, after senior managers -including Wayne LaPierre- have admitted under oath in Texas they have, for years, engaged in personal fiscal enrichment. That’s not putting your best foot forward when it comes to convincing a New York jury the NRA’s not become hopelessly corrupt and deserving dissolution.

They were also forced to admit - under oath - that New York State courts aren’t hopelessly biased against the NRA.

Despite these embarrassing facts, now is not time to start writing the organization’s obituary.

It is time to start assembling competent management and getting it in place - ASAP. The members aren’t at fault, leadership is. What everyone seems to have forgotten is that the strength of the NRA isn’t their out-of-control managers, it’s the members.

And the membership is (finally) waking up to the fact that despite what they’ve been told by their “trusted” leaders, the negative information from hated news outlets has been true.

Reporters at The Trace consistently “shade” reporting to present the NRA in the worst possible light. They’ve made no secret their goal is to discredit the organization. It was created, staffed and funded for that express purpose.

Despite that, they have consistently reported the facts first uncovered and then acknowledged by the NRA’s officers and directors in the Texas hearings accurately.

They haven’t needed to shade facts.

It’s to the point now that the website NRAinDanger (a site created by a group of NRA members “all Life or above, who are concerned about where our organization is being taken”) gives this simple summation of the Texas bankruptcy fiasco:

“The NRA will be thrown back to the NY Attorney General, who has now been handed even more ammunition, more than enough to kill the organization. No, it’s not so much a killing as an assisted suicide.

The names of those responsible will live in shame in the shooting community. Their corruption, or weakness, killed a great organization that had endured for 150 years.”

That dire prediction may yet be premature, although the outlook isn’t good (especially for the “names of those responsible”).

A reform “plan” put together by current leadership won’t cut it. It might promise change, but it will deliver more of the same.

The NRA’s membership - not its “leadership - must somehow assemble and then submit a substantive proposal to correct the wrongdoing, punish the wrongdoers and get the organization back on track. Should that happen, there’s still a slim change at salvaging the organization.

Things need to change- quickly- for that to happen. And it will have to happen despite the opposition of the leadership in place today.

I have no idea where that kind of leadership can be found on short notice. But someone had better start looking -fast.

We’ll keep you posted.

—Jim Shepherd