Thursday, September 3, 2020

ACLU's David Cole: The NRA has a Right to Exist

In response to the New York Attorney General's suit seeking dissolution against the National Rifle Association, David Cole (Legal Director, ACLU) penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed (paywall) entitled "NRA has a Right to Exist." At Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler (Case Western Reserve) agrees: "Cole is correct. If specific NRA officials have abused their positions they should be removed. If they committed crimes, they should be prosecuted. But the ability of the NRA's members to associate and pursue their political priorities should not be impaired due to the malfeasance of NRA officials."

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If this were a federal prosecution, it seems to be tailor-made for IRC Section 4958 "intermediate sanctions" treatment. Section 4958 has been on the books for just under 20 years, but very few nonprofit sector practitioners (based on my 30 years in consulting with nonprofits) are even aware of its existence,much less its provisions and penalties.

On a public policy level, many are unaware that the NRA has association competition on the right. Gun Owners of America claims membership of 1.5 million, about a third of the NRA membership. GOA benefits with membership transfers from the NRA whenever the NRA is perceived to have strayed from gun rights orthodoxy on the Second Amendment.

Posted by: Michael L. Wyland | Sep 4, 2020 6:47:04 AM

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