CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently joined a 16-state coalition supporting the National Rifle Association’s lawsuit against New York’s attorney general.
The coalition argues that New York’s attorney general unjustly seeks to dissolve the NRA, which is the country’s oldest civil rights organization and leading Second Amendment advocacy organization.
“New York’s lawsuit seeks to destroy the Second Amendment,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “West Virginia remains in fervent support of the Second Amendment. Our office will vigorously oppose any effort to roll back gun rights and attack those who cherish the freedom to bear arms.
“As I said when New York filed its misguided lawsuit, West Virginia invites all national gun groups and gun manufacturers to consider relocating to the Mountain State and work with our office to protect gun rights for citizens in West Virginia and across our nation. We vigorously enforce all of our state laws and never let politics impact our enforcement,” he continued.
The NRA’s countersuit seeks to block a politically motivated attempt by New York’s attorney general, in a separate lawsuit, to dissolve the NRA. She hopes her initial lawsuit to dissolve the organization will undermine Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
In August, New York’s attorney general filed suit in state court seeking to dissolve the NRA. Separately, the District of Columbia’s attorney general filed an action against the non-profit organization NRA Foundation, but the District of Columbia lawsuit tellingly did not seek dissolution.
Subsequently, the NRA responded by suing New York’s attorney general in federal court, claiming that her dissolution lawsuit violated the First Amendment by seeking to punish the NRA for its constitutionally protected Second Amendment advocacy.
The coalition’s brief argues that New York’s attorney general sought dissolution because she does not like the NRA’s political advocacy, its members’ political views and the organization’s defense of a fundamental constitutional right.
The coalition further 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, while also criticizing New York’s politically motivated enforcement of its regulations. Such regulations should never be used to attack a government official’s political opponents.
West Virginia joined the Arkansas-led brief with attorneys general from Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.