News

Law & the Courts

NRA Sues New York for Punishing Financial Institutions Doing Business With Group

A gun enthusiast inspects an FN Herstal rifle during the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, May 5, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

The National Rifle Association on Friday sued the state of New York for fining and coercing financial institutions until they severed their connections to the gun-rights group.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services, the state financial regulatory agency, engaged in a “blacklisting campaign” against banks and insurance companies who did business with the NRA, infringing upon the group’s constitutional right to “speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,” the lawsuit alleges.

The NRA presented as evidence an April letter from Maria Vullo, the DFS’s superintendent, warning banks under her purview about the “reputational risk” of doing business with gun-rights groups. The state also pressured the companies behind the scenes, the group claims.

“Directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, this campaign involves selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats with a singular goal—to deprive the NRA and its constituents of their First Amendment right to speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,” the complaint states.

“Simply put, Defendants made it clear to banks and insurers that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA.”

Insurance companies Lockton and Chubb cut the NRA loose after New York imposed $7 million and $1.3 million fines on them, respectively, for insuring the NRA’s Carry Guard program, the NRA says.

The DFS said it fined Chubb for “unlawfully providing liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.”

The “viewpoint-based discrimination campaign” convinced the financial institutions to accept deals with the regulatory agency that require them to terminate business with the NRA in New York and elsewhere, the NRA said, costing the gun-rights group tens of millions of dollars.

“The orders prohibit lawful commercial speech for no reason other than that it carries the NRA brand,” the suit says.

The fines were the “culmination of years of political activism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations,” one lawyer for the gun-rights group stated.

Governor Cuomo called the suit “frivolous,” and “a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns.”

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Origins of Progressive Agony

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate ... Read More
Elections

How Will the Senate Races Break?

How will the Senate races break? We have less public polling to go on than in recent years, so answering that question is harder than ever. But the news is more optimistic for Republicans than it was a month ago.   Waves and Breakers Four years ago, I projected in mid September that if “historical ... Read More
U.S.

The Media Fell for Elizabeth Warren’s Spin

Do you want to know what media bias looks like? Earlier today, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that confirmed that she misled employers, students, and the public about her Native American heritage for years. Bizarrely, all too many members of the media treated the results as ... Read More
U.S.

Native Americans React to Warren’s DNA Test

Many in the Native American community reacted angrily Monday after Senator Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test showing that she has a distant Native American ancestor. Warren has long said she is part Native American, prompting mockery from Republicans and President Trump, who nicknamed her ... Read More