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Nick McNamara, owner of a lodge and hunting guide business in St. Lawrence County, said the National Rifle Association is the only real voice for responsible gun owners, coming after a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the organization was filed by the state attorney general this week.

Mr. McNamara owns Basswood Lodge in Canton. The outfitter and lodge has been guiding hunting trips for more than 20 years, and he has owned it for eight.

Every year Mr. McNamara attends the Great American Outdoors Show, a nine-day event put on by the NRA, showcasing not only guns but just about anything to do with the outdoors.

At last year’s show, Mr. McNamara said he spoke with the executive vice president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre. During their conversation, the vice president referenced a possible lawsuit coming by the attorney general, indicating that he had an idea it would be coming.

“Turns out he was right,” he said.

Attorney General Letitia A. James filed the civil suit after an 18-month investigation, alleging leaders of the NRA misused funds. The 169-page lawsuit claims Mr. LaPierre, 70, used NRA funds for personal expenditures, including hair and makeup for his wife, eight trips for his family to the Bahamas over three years and a $17 million post-employment contract for himself. The lawsuit also names Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer, retired Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Wilson “Woody” H. Phillips, and Mr. LaPierre’s former Chief of Staff Joshua L. Powell.

Mr. McNamara said he doesn’t take the lawsuit seriously — he thinks it’s a joke, but he does take the notion of ending the NRA seriously.

“Without the NRA, we wouldn’t have a voice,” he said. “The NRA is our only real voice.”

The NRA is about protecting the Second Amendment for safe, law-abiding gun owners, he said. “Every time we give them an inch, they’re going to keep pushing,” Mr. McNamara said. “And right now, with the divisiveness in this country, the next 20 years are going to be interesting.”

Peter Crump, who owns Pete’s Guns and Sporting Goods in Carthage, said the NRA isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean the solution is dissolving it.

“The NRA as a whole has dabbled in things they never should have been involved with,” he said. “It should restructure and get back to the basics, but restructuring doesn’t mean it’s not illegal activity.”

Mr. Crump said the lawsuit is a politically-charged move by the Democratic Party.

“They have taken it to a monetary situation so they can fabricate some kind of guilt out of nothing,” he said. “She (Ms. James) is trying to fulfill a campaign promise that she would take down the NRA. That’s all this is.”

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(11) comments

Holmes

Bill Clinton and the Democrats went after the NRA in 1994. The result, 8 Democrat Senators and 54 Democrat House members lost their seats. Not very good timing by the politically motivated AG But good for the Republicans. Brilliant move....

KRobbins

Yeah right, I know. And absolutely nothing has changed in the last 26 years. First, being unequivocally against any gun laws may not be the winner it was in 1994. Second, the NRA is not currently in any financial position to help “kill all the gun laws and let God sort them out” congresspeople.

And please don’t tell me the NRA or Republicans support any gun legislation at all. It’s anything goes.

Jane Brigham

Readers may want to here from both sides of the aisle, possibly attempting to get a comment from the attorney general’s office. Personally, I can not support an organization that does not condemn mass shootings and the ownership of assault style weapons of war.

Holmes

More disinformation from anti-gun activists’ favorite boogeyman, the AR-15. Despite the hype, rifles kill fewer people than knives, blunt objects and fists in the U.S. according to FBI stats...

Eagle24

Mass shootings Holmes...mass shootings.. quit ignoring the obvious.. "AR-15 style rifles have played a prominent role in many high-profile mass shootings in the United States[77] and have come to be widely characterized as the weapon of choice for perpetrators of these crimes.[78] AR-15s or similar rifles were the primary weapons used in around half of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern American history,[79][80] including the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 2015 San Bernardino attack,[6] the 2017 Las Vegas shooting- wikipedia",[....If you're filtering stats to match your position, be less obvious..

KRobbins

the National Rifle Association is the only real voice for responsible gun owners,

They’re lobbyists for the gun industry. They’re a part of that swamp that Trumpy said he was going to Washington to drain. They don’t care about the average gun owner or anyone killed because of lack of regulation anymore than Trumpy cares about the people that go to his rallies (see Tulsa). It’s a toss up as to who’s the bigger crook, him or LaPierre.

As for the guy saying LaPierre knew it was coming. Everyone did. It’s hard to believe there’s actually an instance of Ollie North being right on an issue. He got railroaded out for calling for an audit.

NRA and TrumpCo are both just criminal enterprises. Not surprising to see NRA coming to their defense. How are they supposed to keep operating when they’re so far in the hole from all the money LaPierre stole for his expensive suits and vacations? He spent a half million on 8 private flights to the Bahamas. Obviously he wasn’t the only one skimming. If NRA members want to keep it going they’re going to have to dig deep. I’d feel like a sucker, but maybe that’s just suspicious old me.

hermit thrush

Mr. McNamara said he doesn’t take the lawsuit seriously — he thinks it’s a joke

“The NRA as a whole has dabbled in things they never should have been involved with,” he said. “It should restructure and get back to the basics, but restructuring doesn’t mean it’s not illegal activity.”

“They have taken it to a monetary situation so they can fabricate some kind of guilt out of nothing”

the era defrauded its supporters to the tune of $60+ million dollars.

the most powerful tool in the con man's kit is that the mark never wants to admit that s/he has been conned.

Eagle24

As an avid sportsman and hunter I was a member of the NRA early in life, then they changed, not me, and I quit the organization... my father is a lifetime member, NRA safety instructor, and he quit supporting them as well... They moved too far to the right, and with the advent of AR's took a position that was just unsympathetic with the mass killings... and rash of gun violence.. their focus seemed to be driven by money, regardless of costs.. If they change, I'll return..

elderberry

They seem to have been taken over by the gun manufacturers. Considering that, perhaps the reporter should have looked for some comments from people like Eagle24, consumers rather than just salesmen for the manufacturers.

dontbeafudd

You do realize the second amendment is not about hunting right? The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Just because you don't like "scary black rifles" does not mean the rest of the public should not be allowed their natural rights. The majority of gun violence is done with pistols anyway. Getting back on topic. It seems like some restructuring is in order if not throwing out the "leaders" but no reason for the largest advocate for 2A to go down with them.

dontbeafudd

You do realize the second amendment is not about hunting right? The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Just because you don't like "scary black rifles" does not mean the rest of the public should not be allowed their natural rights. The majority of gun violence is done with pistols anyway. Getting back on topic. It seems like some restructuring is in order if not throwing out the "leaders" but no reason for the largest advocate for 2A to go down with them.

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