NRA sues New York gov­er­nor, reg­u­la­tor for ‘black­list­ing cam­paign’

Na­tional de­bate has heated up over the is­sue of gun con­trol and the NRA’s role in op­pos­ing it.

Metro USA (New York) - - News -

The Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion on Fri­day sued New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo and the state’s fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor for en­gag­ing in what it said was a “black­list­ing cam­paign” aimed at sway­ing banks and in­sur­ers to stop do­ing busi­ness with the gun ad­vo­cacy group, ac­cord­ing to a com­plaint.

Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Depart­ment of Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices (NYDFS) aimed to de­prive the NRA of its right to “speak freely about gun-re­lated is­sues and de­fend the Sec­ond Amend­ment,” the group said in the suit, re­fer­ring to part of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion that pro­tects the right of Amer­i­cans to bear arms.

“The NRA’s law­suit is a fu­tile and des­per­ate at­tempt to ad­vance its dan­ger­ous agenda to sell more guns,” Cuomo said in a state­ment, call­ing the suit “friv­o­lous.”

The NRA’s law­suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the North­ern District of New York, fol­lows a $7 mil­lion fine on May 2 im­posed by NYDFS against in­sur­ance bro­ker Lock­ton Cos LLC, which ad­min­is­tered an NRA-branded in­sur­ance pro­gram known as “Carry Guard.”

On May 7, NYDFS fined in­surer Chubb Ltd and its Illi­nois Union In­sur­ance Com­pany unit $1.3 mil­lion for hav­ing “un­law­fully pro­vided li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance to gun own­ers for acts of in­ten­tional wrong­do­ing,” the reg­u­la­tor said.

The fines were part of set­tle­ments be­tween the com­pa­nies and the reg­u­la­tor, out­comes that are the “cul­mi­na­tion of years of po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights or­ga­ni­za­tions,” an NRA lawyer said in a state­ment.

Na­tional de­bate has heated up over the is­sue of gun con­trol and the NRA’s role in op­pos­ing it, since Feb. 14, when a for­mer stu­dent killed 17 peo­ple at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Florida, us­ing an AR-15 as­sault ri­fle he had pur­chased legally.

Cuomo, NYDFS and its su­per­in­ten­dent, Maria Vullo, whom the NRA also named as a de­fen­dant, en­gaged in a “cam­paign of se­lec­tive pros­e­cu­tion, back­room ex­hor­ta­tions, and pub­lic threats” to co­erce banks and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to with­hold ser­vices from the NRA, the group said in the suit.

The suit also cites an April let­ter is­sued by NYDFS to heads of banks and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness in New York en­cour­ag­ing them to man­age “rep­u­ta­tional risk” posed by deal­ings with “gun pro­mo­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

NYDFS has an obli­ga­tion to “su­per­vise and guide reg­u­lated en­ti­ties to mit­i­gate the risks to their safety and sound­ness that may de­rive from a va­ri­ety of sources, in­clud­ing rep­u­ta­tional risk,” said Vullo.

NYDFS must also en­force New York law, Vullo said. The Lock­ton and Chubb set­tle­ments ad­dressed un­li­censed and un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity con­nected with “Carry Guard.”

The NRA has suf­fered tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in dam­ages, the group said.

GETTY IM­AGES

Gov. An­drew Cuomo aimed to de­prive the NRA of its right to “speak freely about gun-re­lated is­sues and de­fend the Sec­ond Amend­ment,” the group said in a new law­suit.

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