On Friday, Rolling Stone published court documents that showed the National Rifle Association is in dire financial straits. The group claimed they might be “unable to exist” if financial institutions continued to cut ties with them.
The legal paperwork came from a lawsuit against New York state government, stemming from an order by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling on insurance companies to drop the NRA.
As the story developed over the weekend, different players in the gun reform movement speculated whether the NRA was, in fact, having money problems, or if the organization is merely trying to stoke panic about their imminent demise the same way they perpetually fear monger about the government forcibly taking legally owned guns.
“The NRA is trying to fool us into believing this DO NOT believe it,” Parkland activist David Hogg tweeted, adding: “The NRA is still one of the greatest threats to American lives today. They simply need donations now that Maria Butina and @torshin_ru have been reviled.”
Yet, as Rolling Stone pointed out in a follow-up, unlike the NRA’s standard marketing ploys, the lawsuits was under wraps until it was exposed by a New York based legal reporter.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jamie Guttenberg was murdered in Parkland, Florida, tells Raw Story that he’s not sure if the NRA’s lawyers have exaggerated their financial woes or if the group is, in fact, struggling. That remains to be seen. He also points out that the NRA doesn’t appear to have slowed its lobbying and marketing in the face of the alleged financial hardship.
“All of us who have spent time since our losses hearing thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers … I wish it to be true,” Guttenberg says. “But they’re still spending money on candidates … they’re continuing their presence just as they were.
Of course, if the group is lying, then they’ve broken an oath, which could potentially lead to its own set of legal troubles, Guttenberg pointed out
He does, however, commend New York state for taking a concrete stand against the group.
“After my daughter was killed, I said early and often, go after the money,” Guttenberg says. “That is their power. You take away their money, you take away their power.”
At this point Guttenberg is convinced that the NRA is a paper tiger more than anything and politicians should stop being afraid to challenge them. In recent years, the NRA has lost members who see the group’s influence on US politics as increasingly toxic.
“The NRA is a rabid dog. It is a rogue outfit,” a former member told Newsweek. “Whatever its purposes are, they are not mine. They do not speak for me.”