Below is a copy of a letter I'm sending to supporters and posting on my Facebook page. I know, it's long but hey . . . I'm an attorney! Please read it and feel free to publish it wherever you wish.
Charles L. Cotton wrote:Dear Fellow NRA Members:
I am a lifelong shooter. I have been a political activist for gun-owners and the Second Amendment for 40 years and counting. I have served NRA members as a member of the Board of Directors and in April of 2019, I was elected First Vice-President of the National Rifle Association of America. I am proud and humbled to have been nominated by the NRA Nominating Committee for re-election to the NRA Board of Directors in 2020.
The title "NRA Director" is one that should be worn with dignity and the realization that 100 million American gun-owners are depending on us to carry out our duties with diligence and dedication to preserving the protections of the Second Amendment and all that it means to freedom-loving Americans. It has been an honor to serve on the Board with dedicated board members and I respectfully ask for your vote.
NRA AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK:
To say that gun-owners and all who value constitutional protections are living in perilous times would be a gross understatement. Democrats in Congress and their billionaire allies and supporters are making unprecedented attempts to destroy the duly elected President of the United States, so they can then render the First, Second and Fourth Amendments meaningless. We cannot let them do this.
The 2016 Presidential election was critical to our Republic and the election of Donald Trump as President sent shockwaves through the Democrat Party. Just as you and I know, they realize that President Trump was elected because of the NRA’s early and continued help in 2016, so they set about to weaponize New York State law and government to destroy us. They know that in order to have any chance of winning control of the Senate and defeating President Trump’s re-election in 2020, they must take the NRA off the playing field. That is why they enlisted New York Governor Cuomo, to abuse New York not-for-profit law in an attempt to dissolve the NRA. (The NRA was charted in New York State in 1871.) But Cuomo’s blatant attack against the NRA was not limited to using that State’s not-for-profit law. He also launched an extortion plan to strong-arm banks and insurance companies into not doing business with the NRA, if they wanted to keep doing business in New York!
THE BLOOMBERG ROLE:
Powerful opponents of the Second Amendment have coordinated in an effort to destroy or limit gun-owners rights and they enjoy financial support heretofore unseen in the American political arena. Former New York City Mayor Bloomberg will spend whatever he thinks is necessary to destroy Americans Second Amendment rights. His worth approaches $60 billion, so anti-gunners have an almost endless supply of cash at their disposal. Bloomberg money bought the Virginia Legislature and now gun owners realize the consequences not turning out on Election day and allowing a power-mad billionaire free reign to collect on his “investment” in a bunch of legislative campaigns.
That is why reelecting Donald Trump and retaining Republican control of the U.S. Senate are critical to preserving our Second Amendment rights. If we are to protect those rights, then we must try and win a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, or narrow the margin of Democrat seats. These goals cannot be reached without a strong and unified NRA. As First Vice-President of the NRA, I am committed to defending the NRA against the attempts by Bloomberg, Soros, Cuomo and their stooges to weaken the NRA and take it out of the 2020 election.
FALSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST NRA:
Before Governor Cuomo weaponized New York not-for-profit law, the NRA began preparing for his onslaught. We had already hired an excellent law firm to examine NRA operations from top to bottom to ensure the Association was in FULL compliance with the often-amended and ambiguous not-for-profit-law. If there were any deficiencies, they were corrected.
Part of the NRA’s effort was to get additional documentation from all NRA vendors. Vendor’s understood that this was necessary to ensure NRA’s full compliance with New York law.
Almost all vendors complied. Unfortunately, the NRA’s largest vendor refused to cooperate. Instead, it launched an anti-NRA campaign along with a former NRA President and a senior executive within the NRA. It became obvious that this vendor had something to hide. And, it became crystal clear when the vendor – through multiple messengers – told Wayne LaPierre that if he didn’t resign and withdraw the lawsuit (a lawsuit suing an NRA vendor to review the books and records – and not for any amount of money), they would launch a smear campaign against him. He refused their offer. And, he paid the price.
Full details are available on this website NRAlegalFacts.org. That’s when half-truths about travel, wardrobes, mansions and more were released by the former NRA advertising agency to divert attention away from it and to coerce the NRA to drop its lawsuit against the advertising agency.
I am a member of and chair the Audit Committee. Our Committee was provided all information related to the false allegations and we know these claims are false. While the lawsuits and New York AG investigation are ongoing, it probably wouldn’t be prudent to comment any further.
Again, I ask that you please review NRAlegalFacts.org to learn more information.
NRA SECOND AMENDMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT OPPONENTS DESPISE:
Though it is because of our very many successes that the NRA has been targeted politically, we should nonetheless take pride in our accomplishments. The NRA and its state associations have steadfastly expanded law-abiding citizens' rights to carry handguns for self-defense. "Shall issue" concealed carry statutes are now the rule, rather than the exception. Anti-lawsuit statutes have been passed in several states to protect firearms manufacturers and dealers from frivolous, politically motivated suits filed solely to drive them out of business. This is in addition to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed at the federal level to provide a two-pronged defense. To emphasize the importance of the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton had vowed to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act so frivolous lawsuits could once again be filed and drive manufacturers and dealers out of business.
In Texas, we have expanded gun-owners’ rights by passing numerous pro-gun bills. Procedural requirements to obtain and renew a Texas License to Carry a Handgun have been streamlined making it much easier and less costly for Texans to obtain their LTC. The license fee was reduced to $40 representing a 70% reduction.
As most folks know, the NRA also took action in response to the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. The National School Shield project (now NRA School Shield) is funded entirely by the NRA. It is the gold standard in terms of protecting our precious school children. While mocked by elitists and the national press corps, Wayne LaPierre courageously stated, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” This is more than a buzz phrase, it is a concise statement of fact that both law enforcement and school officials around the country recognize as the truth and they are acting on this truth. Over 600 school safety inspectors have been trained by the NRA free of charge and they are conducting school safety inspections at no cost to the schools. In 2019 the NRA provided over $1 million in school grants dealing with school safety.
After Sandy Hook, many proclaimed the death of both the NRA and the Second Amendment, but they underestimated the resolve and intelligence of everyday Americans who could see through the lies of those who would dance in the blood of the innocent to gain political ground. The NRA and the Second Amendment survived and indeed we provide the only honest answer to mass-murderers who would prey on the most helpless and precious of Americans --- our children. Once again, the NRA weathered the political storm and came out stronger because people didn’t fall for the lies of those who would reduce the Second Amendment to a historical footnote.
Over many years, the NRA made passage of laws commonly known as the "Castle Doctrine" a top priority in the states. These laws vary by state, but at their core they allow a citizen to defend themselves from violent attack, without having to worry about facing prosecution and prison. Many of the states included civil liability protection in their version of the "Castle Doctrine." Beginning the with misreported facts in the Trayvon Martin case, a concerted effort has being made to repeal or severely weaken so-called “stand your ground laws” such that violent attackers would be protected from would-be victims who were merely trying to protect themselves. At least three such bills have been filed in Texas since the 2013 Texas Legislative Session – none were passed thanks to the NRA and our proud Texas members. But past failures have not discouraged people who want to take away both your Second Amendment rights and your right to self-defense.
As important as political efforts are in defense of the Second Amendment and the ability of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves against predators, the NRA must also continue its unequaled support of the shooting sports. These activities include competitive shooting through various NRA sanctioned and/or sponsored shooting disciplines and the preservation of access to hunting lands. Another tactic of the anti-gun crowd is to target hunting by restricting or eliminating available hunting land, closing or shortening of seasons, and burdensome red tape.
Local regulations and frivolous lawsuits designed to put sport shooting ranges out of business is a growing tactic throughout the country and other states need the sweeping protection provided by the Texas Sport Shooting Range law passed in 2011. Those who oppose Second Amendment rights know that if people do not have the opportunity to use their firearms, they will be less likely to get involved in protecting the Second Amendment.
The NRA must also make every effort to attract young people into the shooting sports. Americans could quite literally lose our Second Amendment rights in a single generation, if we do not attract millions of new shooters into our ranks. Our duty to young people does not lie solely with educating them on the importance of the Second Amendment and teaching them how to safely use firearms. We must continue to work with younger children through the Eddie Eagle Program so that firearm safety becomes second nature. Accidents with firearms have declined dramatically over the years and we want that trend to continue.
There is much work to be done. In truth the fight to defend all Constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment, will never end. I hope to have the opportunity to continue working for NRA members, indeed all gun owners, as a member of the NRA Board of Directors. With your help, this will happen.
I take my job as an NRA board member seriously. But, make no mistake, I’m not here to win any popularity contests. I’m here to do the right thing. Some of my fellow board members may resent me for calling them out on occasion. But, I make no apologies. I call it like I see it because the stakes are too high.
For the first time in my lifetime, I am truly afraid for what may happen if we gun owners don’t stand and fight. And, this fight goes beyond 2020. I am dedicated to fighting for gun rights for the next generation.
Again – I ask for your vote.
Charles L. Cotton