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What the NRA Trial Verdict Means for the Future of the NRA


NEW YORK — Today, the jury in the Attorney General of The State of New York v. NRA trial reached a verdict finding the NRA and its officers liable on nearly every count. This verdict solidifies what was already obvious: The NRA is in a deepening doom spiral.

“The NRA has faced a string of defeats this year alone, from the resignation of longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre to a trial that shed light on chaos and corruption within the organization,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’ve spent the last 10 years fighting to expose the NRA’s role in our nation’s gun violence crisis, and it’s working — they’ve never been weaker, and their political relevance is at an all-time low heading into the 2024 elections.”

“As guns became the number one killer of young people in America, the NRA and its leadership were not only profiting off of their deadly agenda, they were doing so while key executives were also diverting funds from the organization to benefit themselves,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “Meanwhile, our movement has been hard at work dismantling the NRA’s culture of gun violence and proving we can win at every level of government. And we won’t stop until every lawmaker and every corrupt industry executive who chooses profit over the safety of our communities are held accountable – whether that is in the courtroom or at the ballot box.”

“The NRA was hemorrhaging revenue, members, and clout before this trial even began — and their influence has diminished significantly,” said Nick Suplina, SVP of Law & Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s clear that the NRA is no longer able to function as the gun industry’s shield, and this verdict signifies the end of an era for an organization that has caused irreparable damage to our country.”

Everytown’s Analysis of the Verdict

After a six-week trial, the jury found:

  • The NRA was found LIABLE of failing to properly administer charitable assets.
  • All three individual defendants (former CEO Wayne LaPierre, former CFO Woody Phillips, and current General Counsel John Frazer) were found LIABLE of breach of fiduciary duties to the NRA.
    • With respect to damages for this claim, the jury found that LaPierre and Phillips owed the NRA millions for ill-gotten benefits. More specifically, in the time period at issue, they found that LaPierre caused $5.4 million in damages, and Philips caused $2 million in damages.
  • The jury found cause for LaPierre to be removed from the NRA (LaPierre has already stepped down). Conversely, the jury found there was no cause for General Counsel Frazer to be removed (despite their finding that he breached his fiduciary duties).
  • The NRA was found LIABLE of not having proper whistleblower protections in place.  
  • The NRA was found LIABLE of failing to evaluate whistleblower claims and/or retaliation against several whistleblowers.
  • The NRA and Frazer were found LIABLE for making false filings to New York State.
  • LaPierre, Phillips and the NRA engaged in wrongful related party transactions.
    • However, for certain (but not all) transactions involving the NRA, the jury found that the NRA properly ratified these transactions after the fact.
    • With respect to Wayne LaPierre’s post-employment golden parachute contract, the jury found the NRA was engaging in a wrongful related party transaction. However, the jury found that the AG had not proved that the contract was not approved prior by the NRA Board.

The ruling that the NRA failed to properly administer its charitable assets and that its leaders diverted millions of dollars from the organization is a catastrophic start to the 2024 election season for an organization whose election spending has already cratered. 

In recent years, the NRA has slashed spending on core programs popular with members and spent tens of millions of dollars on outside lawyers instead. It’s no wonder that NRA members have abandoned ship in droves, and it’s hard to imagine that this ruling will convince them to flock back. 

After all, this isn’t a new start for the NRA. Wayne LaPierre may be gone, but many of the same leaders are still in charge, and for years, the organization told its members that it had done nothing to warrant this legal scrutiny. Apparently, a jury of its peers, having seen all of the evidence, concluded differently.

For in-depth daily NYAG v. NRA trial summaries from the past few weeks, please visit NRA Watch.