I'd like to extend my thoughts and prayers to the National Rifle Association. It turns out the domestic-gun-running lobby, which claims to have 5 million members, robust corporate partnerships and the kind of "program" Marina Butina's handlers chose to allegedly invest in, is not as flush as their press releases would have you believe.
According to a legal filing unearthed by Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone, the gunners claim in a lawsuit targeting the state of New York that we may have to all emotionally prep ourselves for a near future in which the NRA "will be unable to exist as a not-for-profit or pursue its advocacy mission." Why would the gods visit this scourge upon our land, you ask?
Could it be their relationship with Butina, who was seemingly picking out everything from the drapes at NRA HQ to their besotted leadership team while bragging about her ties to Russian intelligence before she was arrested a few weeks ago for allegedly acting as a foreign agent and conspirator? Might it be the fact that they fight any potential common-sense regulation of a product that is responsible for the violent deaths of over 30,000 Americans every year? Is it possibly NRA board member and seldom-showerer Ted Nugent's mouth?
None of the above!
According to the NRA's pleading, it is in fact the victim of "an overt viewpoint-based discrimination campaign against” it “directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo." Yikes. I haven't always been a fan of the brash, entitled second generation New York governor, but if this were actually true I might start warming to him.
Of course, as with most things the NRA says, it isn't true. Unless by "overt viewpoint-based discrimination" they mean Cuomo actually has a strong policy preference that he has chosen to pursue by legal means. As Dickinson points out, "The lawsuit stems from actions taken by New York financial regulators to halt the sale of an illegal, NRA-branded insurance policy," known as “Carry Guard.”
The policy is theoretically supposed to reimburse NRA members for the legal costs of lawfully firing a firearm. Back in May, the state of New York concluded that Carry Guard "unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.” Whoops! As a result, the NRA’s insurance partners agreed to stop selling these policies and to pay a $7 million fine.
This would all seem to be pretty legitimate, because it is. But if you read the rest of the NRA's dear-diary complaint, you'll see a whole lot of whining, because, apparently, Cuomo has said too many mean things about it. Snowflake!
You see, NRA Spokesgoblin Dana Loesch can threaten other Americans with "the clenched fist of truth," and warn non-genuflecting media outlets that "we're coming for you," but God forbid anyone vocally disagree with the NRA's sell-guns-to-any-terrorist-or-criminal-at-any-time credo. And that's what this is really all about.
The truth is that Americans of all stripes, in increasing numbers, have recoiled at the agenda of this extremist group that can’t even work up sympathy for murdered American children after two decades of ever more common and more fatal massacres.
This trend has been on steroids since the ghastly high-school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February, and the determination by the students who survived it to no longer accede to the bullshit debate the NRA purchased on the subject with blood-money to (mostly) Republican politicians. Add in its Pachanga with Putin, and the group knows its in more trouble than it’s been in for at least a generation.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered on that terrible day in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and who founded Orange Ribbons for Jaime in its wake, told The Daily Beast:
"When my daughter was killed that week, I made it my mission to go straight after their money. Clearly, we're being successful, and they're responding by lashing out. I guess when you strip out the foreign money, maybe they never were funded as well as they led us to believe. Maybe they were always a paper tiger."
The NRA is nothing if not tenacious, and I don't think anyone's expecting an organization defined by cynicism and ideological fanaticism to go away quietly or suddenly discover their humanity. But you can smell their fear. That is quite a change from where they were sitting just a few short years ago.