The NRA’s Shadowy Supreme Court Gun Lobbying Campaign

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During the first week of September 2018, during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors met for its final meeting of the year across the Potomac at the Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel. The NRA campaigned fiercely in support of Kavanaugh, whose confirmation would instantly change the court’s power in favor of the group, and in anticipation, trustees of an NRA legal fund approved $360,000 to support a series of lawsuits, in hopes of propelling the cases to court. to research.

Almost four years later, the effort has paid off. In an expansive June 23 decision, the Supreme Court sided with the NRA in one such case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association vs. Bruen. Therefore, millions more Americans will likely begin their daily lives armed with a gun and a series of gun laws enacted by states, towns and cities across the country will be rolled back as they do not sufficiently match the gun restrictions of the earlier eras.

At the same 2018 meeting in Arlington, the NRA Legal Fund also awarded a $12,000 grant to gun rights attorney David T. Hardy, a supplement to the $15,000 the fund gave him. had given four months earlier to support his work on a book about the massacres. , according to court filings the NRA filed last year in a Texas bankruptcy court. Documents filed in this case and IRS disclosures show that the legal fund has awarded Hardy grants totaling more than $750,000 since 2002, although the total amount may be higher (the documents only detail part recent grants). A former NRA official familiar with the arrangement who was granted anonymity in order to speak candidly said that in addition to grants, Hardy has long been paid sums directly from NRA boss Wayne LaPierre’s budget. , who witnessed Hardy’s wedding in 1982. . What appear to be internal budget documents released by a Russian cybercrime team in October following its NRA hack lists Hardy as a consultant and states that LaPierre’s office allocated him $60,000 in 2021.

In July 2021, Hardy submitted a brief to the Supreme Court arguing in favor of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., which is a state affiliate of the NRA. (Though his affiliate’s name is on the case, the NRA funded Bruen, which was filed through the NRA’s Office of Attorneys, according to NRA meeting minutes.)

Hardy filed the amicus brief, or “friend of the court,” as counsel of record for a PAC affiliated with the Firearms Policy Coalition and other various organizations opposed to additional gun restrictions. . He did not disclose the financial support he has long received from the NRA.

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