ATF Gets Stay On VanDerStok Injunction (Update)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was successful in getting an administrative stay in VanDerStok v. Garland from the Supreme Court. Judge Reed O’Connor had granted a nationwide injunction against the implementation of the ATF’s frame or receiver rule. He had determined it was in “excess of their statutory jurisdiction”.

As might be expected, ATF and the Department of Justice appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which refused to grant a stay of Judge O’Connor’s order. The 5th Circuit said the ATF had not “demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits, nor irreparable harm in the absence of a stay.” The 5th Circuit still will be hearing ATF’s appeal of Judge O’Connor’s final order.

Yesterday, the ATF and DOJ filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to receive a stay while the case is under appeal. This would mean the Final Rule would still remain in effect while it was being appealed.

Today, Justice Alito granted an administrative stay until August 4th at 5pm.

UPON CONSIDERATION of the application of counsel for the applicants,

IT IS ORDERED that the June 30, 2023 order and July 5, 2023 final judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, case No. 4:22-cv-691, are hereby administratively stayed until 5 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, August 4, 2023. It is further ordered that any response to the application be filed on or before Wednesday, August 2, 2023, by 5 p.m. (EDT)

Well, crap!

I am sure the attorneys for the Firearms Policy Coalition as well as DOJ are working hard to craft their responses as I write.

UPDATE: Attorney and law professor Mark Smith of The Four Boxes Diner has an explanation of what happened yesterday. The administrative stay was requested by the Solicitor General and the SCOTUS usually grants these without question. Bottom line is that we shouldn’t panic.

A Precursor To Selling The NRA HQ Building?

A good friend was sent a listing for leased office space in the NRA headquarters building by a commercial real estate broker. The broker suggested that it was the precursor to selling the building. That confused me a bit so I did some more digging.

I found the leased space listing on at least five websites serving the commercial real estate market in the Metro DC area. It was on,,, and in addition to The listings in all five were virtually identical.

From CommercialEdge:

There is currently one space available at 11250 Waples Mill Road. The building’s general use is office. The space listed for lease is described as general office. Current availability totals 8,977 square feet. Of this, minimum divisible area is 8,977 square feet. The listed lease rate is $30.00/SF/YR.

The space is on the 3rd floor. According to the FAQ, this is the only space available for lease in the NRA headquarters building. All five of the listings note that the building was updated in 2022 and emphasize its location. However, none of the listings nor any of the photos indicate that it is the NRA headquarters building. The big red NRA letters are on the other side of the building.

I reached out to a commercial real estate broker with a large firm here in North Carolina for his opinion. Lee was aware of the listings above. He took note that it was the only space available for lease in the building. Given that, he said, having a full occupancy makes a building more attractive to buyers. Or as he put it, “Lease it up first to then sell.” I mentioned the building’s condition and he said the tenants will make them fix the roof before they’d lease it. I imagine a seller would do the same or use it to really whittle down the price.

As can be seen in the photo below of the ceiling of the building’s atrium, there is still damage left from the leaking roof. While the powers that be assert they have fixed the roof, I think that is questionable. The photo below was taken within the past month or so (update based on metadata – May 2022)

I submitted a resolution at the 2022 Meeting of Members to address the issue of the headquarters building’s condition. I was told an independent inspection would be a waste of money by director Ron Schmeits and the problem was being addressed. The resolution went down to defeat as might be expected. I asked for an independent inspection because I frankly didn’t trust the majority of the board to do more than pay lip service to it. Obviously, I was correct.

The board has authorized a search committee to explore a move to Texas. They may even vote on finalizing a move at the board meeting after the conclusion of the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. Selling the Virginia headquarters building would certainly fit into that move. However, the question remains how they can afford to fix the building, buy or lease a new one in Texas, move everything, and do it given the state of their finances. Even if they can sell the building, the monies realized would only pay off the existing over-extended line of credit. Unlike the gun control lobby, there is no sugar daddy billionaire waiting in the wings to rescue the NRA.

UPDATE: I was told by Frank Tait that the Board of Directors voted in January 2020 to sell the Headquarters Building. If memory serves me correctly, that meeting was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit its stride and everything shut down. (Correction – the vote to sell was not the HQ building but adjacent 2-story brick office buildings located at 11244 Waples Mill Rd. They are also owned by the NRA. Their combined assessment is $2 million. Frank reports it has now been taken off the market. The HQ is 11250 Waples Mill Rd.)

The normal thing to do when trying to sell a house – or a building in this case – is to spiff it up and get it in top-notch shape in order to receive the best offer. While I grant you that the pandemic shut-down was in full force, building maintenance workers and contractors were considered essential employees. Unfortunately, maintenance of the Headquarters Building was obviously put off and damage resulted. This is mismanagement at its worst because it is letting a valuable asset erode in value.

UPDATE II: I was wrong on the date of the atrium photo. Checking the meta-data on the original, it was taken in May 2022. A friend who visited the NRA HQ on business within the last two weeks assures me that while the atrium is closed, the damage to the ceiling has been repaired. It was also noted that the roof is in much better shape.

It has been brought up that the building has had a number of outside leasees. That is not denied. However, it was the ad that in the professional opinion of a commercial real estate broker was to be considered a precursor to a sale. I confirmed this with another broker with whom I have a trusted working relationship.

“You Can’t Solve Something Like This With A .45”

There is a 2022 movie called Vengeance starring B. J. Novak from The Office. It is described as a darkly comic thriller about a podcaster who travels from New York City to West Texas to investigate the death of a girl he briefly hooked up with. Her family thought it was more and has welcomed him with open arms.

In one scene, the family matriarch is giving her opinion on what it will take to solve this.

You have to love Texas, Texans, and Texas matriarchs.

Right now Vengeance is available for free on Amazon Prime. If you don’t have Prime, you can get a 30 Day Trial for only $3 using this link. (commission earned)

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part XIII

Texas officially became the 20th 21st state to enact permitless or constitutional carry yesterday. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) kept his promise and signed HB 1927 into law. It becomes effective on September 1st. The bill allows anyone who is age 21 and over who can legally possess a firearm to carry, openly or concealed, a handgun so long as it is a non-prohibited public place. There is an exception made for those convicted of certain misdemeanors within the past five years. They are only allowed to carry in their homes or vehicles.

GOA Texas has an excellent summary of the exceptions, the prohibited places, and what the bill contains.

With Texas becoming the 20th 21st state to allow permitless carry, there are almost as many states allowing permitless carry as there are with shall-issue carry. The addition of Texas jumps the percentage of the US population living in a permitless state from 17.6% to 26.4%. As Rob Vance who has created the graph below notes, “This is what a preference cascade looks like.”


When Rob Vance and I started this series almost ten years ago, Illinois still had not enacted shall-issue carry. I commented that in 2011, shall-issue carry was the new norm. In 2021, we are almost to the tipping point where permitless carry will be the new norm. If large shall-issue states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, or North Carolina were to adopt permitless carry, then we would have tipped.

We are still waiting on Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) to either sign or veto Louisiana’s SB 118 allowing permitless carry. He has said he will veto it but the legislation passed with a super-majority meaning his veto would probably be overridden. Since the bill passed within the last 10 days of the legislative session, Edwards has until approximately June 24th to veto it or it becomes law without his signature.

The usual suspects are crying that blood will now run in the streets of Texas. The Demanding Moms plan to picket the Governor’s Mansion and other places to attract attention from their compliant media allies. Progress Texas is condemning it claiming a majority of Texans didn’t approve of it. As we have seen time after time, despite the hyperbole, nothing of the claimed actions does actually happen.

And This Helps Impact National Gun Policy How?

I don’t know who runs the blog NRA In Danger but they have some damn good connections. They just published an internal memo from Wayne LaPierre to NRA staffers. The gist of it is that the NRA will be moving its headquarters to Texas. Gee, I wonder if Brewer, Attorney and Counselors, does any real estate law and would they be any better at that than they are at bankruptcy law.

Here is the memo:

Not for Distribution

Dear Employees:

As we reported, the recent developments in our bankruptcy proceedings have no impact on our overarching goals or efforts to make the NRA more efficient in achieving its mission. As such, we will continue to analyze our business arrangements, cost structure, and operational demands.To that end, I am pleased to announce the formation of a special committee by President Carolyn Meadows to study issues relating to our proposed move to Texas – and to analyze the logistical requirements of those plans. First Vice President Charles Cotton will chair this committee. Second Vice President Willes Lee and board members David Coy, Joel Friedman, and Tom King will join Mr. Cotton on the committee. The following staff members will serve on a project team providing administrative resources:  Joe DeBergalis, John Frazer, Jason Ouimet, Sonya Rowling, Tyler Schropp, Vanessa Shahidi, Linda Crouch, and Jim Staples.

Our first goal is to explore moving our principal place of business to Texas. This is an executive office from which we can manage aspects of our business. Texas is home to more than 400,000 NRA members – the #1 ranked state for NRA membership. It offers a fair regulatory environment and, a positive business climate, and celebrates the Second Amendment freedoms in which we believe. This move will affect a small number of employees.

The second part of our plan involves assessing a potential relocation of our headquarters. This is an endeavor that involves the review of the real estate market, impacts to staffing, and other strategic considerations. We have engaged a leading commercial real estate firm, Colliers International, to assist with this project and we will retain other advisory firms to assist with strategic considerations. Naturally, any major decisions regarding NRA real estate will be undertaken in coordination with the Board, subject to its full approval. Importantly, there are no immediate changes planned to our staffing or programs. Any changes to our organizational structure will be made in the best interests of our members, employees, and with responsibility to achieve our core mission:  protecting the Second Amendment. We will ensure our employees have an opportunity to participate in the continued progress of our great organization. You will hear more from this committee in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Vanessa with any questions. I have never been prouder of the NRA or our collective efforts to protect the freedoms in which we believe.


Read the comments on it made in the NRA In Danger blog.

My own comment is that the people happiest about this move are every gun control organization in America, every anti-gun politician in Congress, Bill Brewer, and perhaps Susan LaPierre as she’ll probably get that social membership at the golf club now.

The NRA is inside the Beltway for a reason: it is the best location to be if you want to impact national gun rights policy. If the politics of Virginia and Northern Virginia are not good for gun rights right now, do something about it and don’t run off to Texas like a whipped dog with its tail between its legs.

More On The NRA’s Bankruptcy Filing

There was a very interesting and informative blog post regarding the NRA’s bankruptcy filing on on Friday. The post was by Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin. Levitin is an expert on bankruptcy and business restructuring. His list of publications regarding bankruptcy includes both law books and multiple law review articles.

The post says there are many issues with the filing:

This is going to be one heck of an interesting case. There are already so many glaring issues (or should I say “targets”?): venue, good faith filing, disclosures, the automatic stay, the trustee question, fiduciary duties to pursue claims against insiders, executory employment contracts, the fate of Wayne LaPierre, and the generally overlooked governance provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.

Read the whole post. The gist of it is that by filing for bankruptcy, the NRA has opened a can of worms and there could be a lot of unintended consequences. For example, if as the NY Attorney General alleges, Wayne LaPierre has a contract that guarantees his salary for life even if removed, bankruptcy law limits that to one year’s salary.

I hope this is the last post I have to do on the NRA filing for bankruptcy for the time being. There are other important matters to write about such as the virtual Shot Show that starts today.

NRA’s Bankruptcy Petition

There are two major things of note in the National Rifle Association’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. First, there is the resolution passed at the January 7, 2021 Board of Director’s meeting in Dallas giving Wayne LaPierre the authority to “reorganize or restructure the affairs of the Association.”

The second item of note contained in the bankruptcy petition is the list of unsecured creditors. At the top of that list is Ackerman McQueen with a disputed claim of $1,273,800.12. Also disputed are claims from Tony Makris’ Under Wild Skies and the Ack Mac subsidiary Mercury Group. The rest of the unsecured creditors are an assortment ranging from Google to UPS. Most seem to be related to fund raising or advertising.

What is most interesting in that list is what is not there. There is no mention of any legal bills due to William Brewer III’s firm Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors. This could mean that he is a secured creditor or that any monies due him have already been paid.

It seems obvious that this move has been in the works for many months. Sea Girt LLC was established in November 2020 according to the filing with the Texas Secretary of State’s office. Moreover, the litigation committee was set up in September and probably had been discussed many months in advance of that.

According to the letter from Wayne LaPierre, this move will not impact members as the NRA is simply leaving a toxic state for one that is welcoming.

NRA supporters will continue to enjoy all their full member benefits – from new members to Life Members to Benefactor Members. We will continue to publish and deliver your magazines. We will continue to train Americans and teach them firearm safety. We will continue to teach hunter safety. But most importantly, we will continue to fight for your freedom and the freedom of all Americans – as we have for all these years. In fact, we are expanding our national platform.

The plan aims to streamline costs and expenses, proceed with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner, and realize many financial and strategic advantages.

You know that our opponents will try to seize upon this news and distort the truth. Don’t believe what you read from our enemies. The NRA is not “bankrupt” or “going out of business.” The NRA is not insolvent. We are as financially strong as we have been in years. (emphasis his)

While I think it is good that the NRA ditches New York, I really wish that they had listened to Professor Joe Olson when, as a board member and expert in corporate law, he urged them to do it in 1991. Think of all the monies that would have been saved in litigation expenses that could have been used to promote the Second Amendment.

NRA To Reincorporate In Texas

After 150 years, the National Rifle Association is finally abandoning New York. They have filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas and plan to reincorporate in Texas.

Here is the full press release sent out this afternoon by Wayne LaPierre. I will have more on the bankruptcy filing after I have had time to read it. Imagine how much time and legal expense they could have saved if they had listened to law professor Joseph Olson when he suggested as a board member in 1991.

NRA Leaves New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

NRA Plans to Exit New York to Pursue Opportunity, Growth and Progress in Texas; Plan Benefits Association, Its Millions of Members, and All Supporters of the Second Amendment

Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) today announced it will restructure the Association as a Texas nonprofit to exit what it believes is a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York. The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York.

The NRA plan, which involves utilizing the protection of the bankruptcy court, has the Association dumping New York and organizing its legal and regulatory matters in an efficient forum. The move comes at a time when the NRA is in its strongest financial condition in years.

The NRA will continue with the forward advancement of the enterprise – confronting anti-Second Amendment activities, promoting firearm safety and training, and advancing public programs across the United States. There will be no immediate changes to the NRA’s operations or workforce.  

The Association will seek court approval to reincorporate the Association in the State of Texas – home to more than 400,000 NRA members and site of the 2021 NRA Annual Meeting in Houston.

“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress,” says NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “Obviously, an important part of this plan is ‘dumping New York.’ The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom. This is a transformational moment in the history of the NRA.”

The restructuring plan aims to streamline costs and expenses, proceed with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner, and realize many financial and strategic advantages.

The Path Forward

The NRA will move quickly through the restructuring process. Its day-to-day operations, training programs, and Second Amendment advocacy will continue as usual.

By exiting New York, where the NRA has been incorporated for approximately 150 years, the NRA abandons a state where elected officials have weaponized the legal and regulatory powers they wield to penalize the Association and its members for purely political purposes.

In the summer of 2018, then New York Attorney General candidate Letitia James vowed that, if elected, she would use the powers of her office to investigate the “legitimacy” of the NRA.

Without a shred of evidence to support the claim, she called the Association a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.” As promised, she commenced an “investigation” upon being elected to the Office of NYAG and, predictably, filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA just prior to the November 2020 national election.

The NRA filed a lawsuit in August 2020 against the NYAG similar to its lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services, filed in 2018. The NRA pursues the defendants for attempting to “blacklist” the organization and its financial partners in violation of their First Amendment rights. The NRA will continue those legal actions.  

“Under this plan, the Association wisely seeks protection from New York officials who it believes have illegally weaponized their powers against the NRA and its members,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA in those cases. “The NRA will continue the fight to protect the interests of its members in New York – and all forums where the NRA is unlawfully singled out for its Second Amendment advocacy.”

With respect to its headquarters, the NRA has formed a committee to study opportunities for relocating segments of its business operations to Texas or other states. The Association will analyze whether a move of its headquarters, now located in Fairfax, Virginia, is in the best interests of its members. In the meantime, the NRA’s general business operations will remain in Fairfax.

To facilitate its strategic plan and restructuring, the NRA and one of its subsidiaries filed voluntary chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Chapter 11 proceedings are routinely utilized by businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs.  

The NRA also announced Marschall Smith will serve as Chief Restructuring Officer. A former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of 3M Company, Smith has more than 35 years of legal and business experience with an emphasis on compliance, corporate finance, and corporate governance.

“I am honored to join the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization during this important time,” Smith says. “Our goal is to work through the restructuring process efficiently and quickly – even as NRA leadership approaches 2021 with renewed energy and an expanding national platform. This plan has no impact on the NRA’s most important goal:  serving its membership and protecting the Second Amendment.”

The NRA will propose a plan that provides for payment in full of all valid creditors’ claims. The Association expects to uphold commitments to employees, vendors, members, and other community stakeholders.

“The plan allows us to protect the NRA and go forward with a renewed focus on Second Amendment advocacy,” says NRA President Carolyn Meadows. “We will continue to honor the trust placed in us by employees, members and other stakeholders – following a blueprint that allows us to become the strongest NRA ever known.”

Additional Information:

Patrick J. Neligan of Neligan LLP, Dallas, Texas, is serving as debtor’s counsel; William (Wit) Davis is counsel to the NRA Board of Directors and its Special Litigation Committee; Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, Dallas, Texas, serves as special counsel to the NRA. To learn more, please visit

Doing Bars And Bartenders Right In Texas

When the governor of North Carolina ordered the closing of all restaurants and bars to in-service patrons on St. Patrick’s Day, my thoughts went to the servers and the bartenders. This is not because I’m a regular patron. Rather it is because the Complementary Spouse’s first cousin just started a new job as a bartender.

Toby is very good at what he does and is very service oriented. As a result, he makes good tips whether as a server or a bartender. Immediately becoming eligible for unemployment will only replace a fraction of his income.

The NC Executive Order only tells the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to study the situation and get back to the governor in writing on regulations that they might be able to waive or show some flexibility.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) goes further than Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) and actually orders some things that will help bars and bartenders.

From Gov. Abbott’s press release:

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a waiver that will allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The Governor also directed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back unopened product. 

These waivers are in response to the financial hardship caused by COVID-19 that has disproportionately affected the hospitality industry. 

“The State of Texas is committed to supporting retailers, restaurants, and their employees,” said Governor Abbott. “These waivers will allow restaurants to provide enhanced delivery options to consumers during this temporary period of social distancing.”

Under this waiver, effective immediately, restaurants with a mixed beverage permit may sell beer, wine, or mixed drinks for delivery as long as they are accompanied by food purchased from the restaurant. 

The buy-back waiver allows alcohol distributors and manufacturers to repurchase excess inventory from restaurants, bars, and clubs affected by event cancellations due to COVID-19.

So bartenders can still make drinks for delivery and establishments can sell back their excess inventory. This keeps more people employed and allows the reallocation of inventory. I like it.

North Carolina should follow the example of Texas. However, given my home state’s antediluvian approach to anything dealing with alcoholic beverages, I’m not holding my breath.