Says, ‘I stand committed to protecting the Constitution—particularly Arkansans’ right to bear arms’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a coalition of 16 States that have filed an amicus brief supporting the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James. The NRA’s lawsuit seeks to block James’s politically motivated attempt in a separate lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, which is the country’s oldest civil rights organization and leading Second Amendment advocacy organization. New York hopes its lawsuit to dissolve the NRA will undermine Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
“New York’s lawsuit is a political stunt by a liberal attorney general who promised in her campaign to go after the NRA. It is designed to undermine our Second Amendment right,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Even if it makes me unpopular in places like New York, I stand committed to protecting the Constitution—particularly Arkansans’ right to bear arms. That is why I oppose the New York Attorney General’s political stunt and am proud to lead these 16 States in supporting the NRA’s lawsuit against New York. I repeat my invitation to the NRA: The Natural State would happily welcome an organization that fights for the Second Amendment rights of Arkansans and all Americans.”
In August, Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit in New York state court seeking to dissolve the NRA. Separately, the District of Columbia Attorney General filed an action against the non-profit organization NRA Foundation, but the DC lawsuit tellingly did not seek dissolution.
Subsequently, the NRA responded by suing Attorney General James in New York federal court, claiming that her dissolution lawsuit violated the First Amendment by seeking to punish the NRA for its constitutionally protected Second Amendment advocacy.
Arkansas’s amicus brief supports the NRA’s federal-court lawsuit. Arkansas argues that James sought dissolution because she doesn’t like the NRA’s political advocacy, its members’ political views, and the organization’s defense of a fundamental constitutional right. The brief argues that New York’s lawsuit violates the First Amendment because it was designed to retaliate against the NRA and its members for these constitutionally-protected activities. The brief makes clear that state regulations of non-profits and charitable organizations are essential to protecting the public. But it also criticizes New York’s politically motivated enforcement of its regulations. Such regulations should never be used to attack a government official’s political opponents.
Arkansas is joined in the amicus brief by Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.