Don’t forget to bring your thoughts and prayers!!! <3
(@AMarch4OurLives / Twitter)
Remember when the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) response to a white supremacist killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was “thoughts and prayers”? Remember when the chief executive Wayne LaPierre bashed calls for government control of guns and said politicians and protestors “hate individual freedom?”
Now as the 149-year-old organization dies, March For Our Lives sends them “thoughts and prayers” in return.
Why is the NRA falling apart?
Since 1871, the NRA has operated as a New York-registered 501(c)(4) not-for-profit, making it required to register and file annual financial reports with the Charities Bureau in the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Under state law, these assets must advance the organization’s charitable mission.
However, the NRA had other plans. According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, the NRA’S four executives used millions from NRA reserves for personal use. They took personal trips and family trips to the Bahamas, flew on private jets, ate expensive meals — all in the name of protecting rifles!
All of the NRA’s corruption has been camouflaged under the premise of patriotism.
That’s why the civil lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeks to remove NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and executives Wilson Phillips, John Frazer and Joshua Powell from their current positions. The suit also aims to prohibit their future service on any other New York-based nonprofit board.
But this fight has been going on for 17 months.
In April of 2019, the NRA sued its ad agency of 40 years. As their credibility plummeted, The New Yorker published an investigation by Mike Spies that claimed the NRA was dominated by secrecy and greed days later.
Later in the same month, NRA president Oliver L. North threatened that Ackerman McQueen would release a “damaging” letter to the board if LaPierre refused to resign and drop a lawsuit against the firm. In the end, North stepped down as president, an apparent loss in the power struggle.
This past May, internal NRA documents were anonymously posted online revealing inquiries on about $274,965.03 in wardrobe expenses made at Zegna in Beverly Hills and $267,460.53 of other personal expenses – including travel to the Bahamas, Palm Beach, New York, Los Angeles, Reno, Budapest and Italy. LaPierre did not provide proper documentation for the trips. The documents also showed North’s concerns with the organization’s audit committee.
ABC News was not able to verify the documents, but NRA officials did not dispute their authenticity and called the leak “pathetic.”
Along with Attorney General James, Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against the NRA.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors was “controlled by the NRA and allowed the NRA to exploit it through risky multi-million-dollar loans,” the complaint says, according to a press release, “including a $5 million loan that the NRA has never repaid.
Due to the corruption, James demands that the NRA comes to an end.
“The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law,” she said.
Why we hate the NRA
Despite its arguments that it protects the people, the NRA refuses to discuss gun-control. During the gun violence epidemic, the NRA has stood idly by, unchanging and unmoving with every death.
In the 2016 election, the NRA directed more than $50 million into political campaigns, with $30 million to Trump. By influencing elections and policy, the NRA clenches onto a weapon of power.
The NRA also has a history of racism.
In 2017, it posted a video advertisement of a woman claiming that protestors fighting in the name against racism, homophobia and xenophobia, “bully and terrorize the law-abiding” and that they must “fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.”
To Tati Monet, a Black singer, the NRA said it does not care about gun owners “that look like [her].”
While protestors and Black people are shot in the streets, NRA leaders bask in a pool of death and power. Sound familiar?
This narrative is as old as America itself, but now not so easily forgotten or forgiven.
In a desperate attempt to claw onto power, the NRA has threatened gun owners to vote in its favor. A gun owner received a letter in the mail from the NRA saying that their guns, and their freedom, would be stolen if they do not uphold the NRA. The letter says that government agents would storm their homes, take their guns, and haul them off to prison after the next election.
Trump maintained the threat by tweeting if Biden becomes President, the government will steal the citizens’ guns. He also postulated that “the Radical Left New York is trying to destroy the NRA,” in utter ignorance of the evidence against the organization.
Instead of New York (Trump’s hometown), Trump suggested that the NRA relocate to another state like Texas, a predominantly red state where the group could “lead a very good and beautiful life.”
(He forgot to mention they could live a beautiful life stealing money and manipulating policies :) )
For him, the NRA is just another stepping stone to glory.
In the letter, LaPierre said some may accuse him of fear-mongering. And he was damn right.
Since 2018, our generation has screamed the names of the dead and demanded change. Since those deaths and countless more, the NRA has attempted to wipe out any resistance, always in search of ammunition.
We have been broken by the deaths and the pain of loss. But the NRA, and those in power, have not broken our wills.
On the day that the NRA was issued a lawsuit and fell from its pedestal, March For Our Lives rose in solidarity. They released an ad about harnessing our power.
As we see faulty foundations fall, we must remain tall. We must remember our strength and that we can create change. For victims of gun violence and every marginalized community, the March For Our Lives is far from over.
Katie Delk is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. Her simple pleasures include meditating, sitting beneath trees, writing poetry and blasting '70s music. She cares immensely about the earth, powerful women and social justice. You can reach her at email@example.com more info.