The National Rifle Association, which has incurred “tens of millions of dollars in damages” from financial sanctions imposed by the state of New York, may potentially face an avalanche of additional penalties in anti-gun states throughout the union if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his way.
“If I could have put the NRA out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago,” Cuomo said Friday.
And he’s not only trying to do that in New York, he’s encouraging his gun control cronies across the country to do the same.
On Monday, Cuomo urged leaders in other states to take similar actions against the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program, which covers legal costs stemming from self-defense shootings, something New York argues is unlawful. The Department of Financial Services has also pushed firms not to do business with the NRA, the NRA contends, under threat the firms could lose their license to operate in New York.
The effect of these moves and Cuomo’s public statements has been to “coerce insurance agencies, insurers and banks into terminating business relationships with the NRA that were necessary to the survival of the NRA as a charitable organization,” the NRA said in an amended complaint filed July 20.
The NRA claims it lost insurance coverage after the state took action against companies underwriting their NRA-branded “Carry Guard” insurance program. The lawsuit also claims Cuomo’s administration has pressured other insurers to avoid doing business with the NRA.
Without liability coverage, the NRA cannot maintain its offices, operate educational programs or hold rallies and other political events.
“Absent injunctive relief, defendants’ blacklisting campaign will continue to damage the NRA and its members, as well as endanger the free speech and association rights guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and the State of New York,” the lawsuit states.
After New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a motion to dismiss the NRA’s suit Friday, William A. Brewer III, an attorney representing the NRA, said in a statement; “The actions of defendants are a blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of our organization.”
“It appears the Governor has launched yet another crusade against the NRA to fuel his political ambitions,” the statement continued. “The governor’s current campaign against the NRA extends far beyond Carry Guard. His scorched earth tactics are designed to prohibit the NRA from having access to insurance and banking services — simply because he disagrees with the political viewpoint of this law-abiding organization. Suffice it to say, the NRA will continue to vigorously defend itself, advocate for the Second Amendment, and fight to protect the Constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”
David French writes in the National Review:
As the Second Circuit has recognized, there is a difference between “permissible expressions of personal opinion and implied threats to employ coercive State power to stifle protected speech.” When “comments of a government official can reasonably be interpreted as intimating that some form of punishment or adverse regulatory action will follow the failure to accede to the official’s request,” a First Amendment claim exists.
The NRA’s Chris Cox tweeted:
— Chris Cox (@ChrisCoxCap6) August 8, 2018
Think Cuomo is the only joker in this deck of cards?
PETA is also jumping on the “NRA is in dire straights” bandwagon.
In a letter to Wayne LaPierre, the group offered the Second Amendment organization $100,000 to do two things: deny memberships to “trophy hunters” (or individuals who hunt wild animals solely for fun) and stop promoting assault weapons.
Good luck with that, kids.
As Cuomo himself admitted, if he “could have shut down the NRA 20 years ago, he would have.” But he couldn’t then and he certainly won’t now. Call your state representatives and remind them they vote for you and your interests.
And as of today, that still includes the First and Second Amendments.