National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre expressed fears that the organization’s existence may be in immediate jeopardy and it could possibly be unable to continue operating, The Root reports. In a four-page letter to NRA members across the country, LaPierre spoke to the seriousness of financial challenges facing the group. He largely placed blame on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who directed New York regulators to pressure insurance companies, banks, and other financial services companies to reconsider their relationships with the NRA.
According to LaPierre, pressure is mounting for these organizations to sever ties with the NRA due to Cuomo’s actions.
“Let me be clear,” he wrote in his letter to members. “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.”
If the attack succeeds, LaPierre says, “NRA will be forced to shut down forever.”
LaPierre’s letter, which makes frequent use of capital letters and underlines, is likely intended more as a fundraising tactic to solicit donations from existing members than an actual premonition of doom for the organization. Donations to the NRA have indeed fallen in recent years, likely driven largely by the election of President Donald Trump. Historically, pro-gun organizations like the NRA have had a much easier time fundraising against the specter of left-leaning Democratic presidents, who can be held up as a threat against the second amendment, than when a more industry-friendly Republican is in office. Donations were in fact down by more than $50 million in 2018, which marked the third consecutive year of double-digit declines.
The reduced cash flow has apparently had an impact on the NRA’s ability to support gun-friendly candidates in the mid-term elections, as their campaign contributions in the 2018 midterms were a fraction of what they were in the previous mid-terms of 2014.
Michael Bloomberg’s own media outlet, https://t.co/c0OW0qX35N, is reporting that Dick’s itself estimates the price of its anti-gun advocacy at $150 million in lost sales in 2018, or almost 2% of the company’s annual revenue. ➡️ https://t.co/gfbPYcTLcH pic.twitter.com/WSXNJFeg4F— NRA (@NRA) March 30, 2019
Still, despite the potentially disingenuous nature of LaPierre’s latter, the NRA does face substantial challenges over and above those presented by the governor of New York and dwindling donation coffers. Like the president himself, the NRA is under scrutiny for the organization’s ties to Russian officials associated with interference in the 2016 presidential election, which was recently investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Also under investigation is potentially illegal coordination with the Trump campaign at the same time.