The National Rifle Association has filed a federal lawsuit against New York’s Gov. Cuomo and the state for a “blacklisting campaign” targeted against them.
The gun-lobby group claimed the governor and the state’s financial regulator attempted to sway banks and insurers to cut ties with them, asserting that Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services engaged in efforts to strip the NRA of its right to “speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,” according to Reuters.
Cuomo and NYDFS chief Maria Vullo actively worked in a “campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats” to force banks and insurance companies to avoid doing business with the group and prevent NRA members from exercising their First Amendment rights, according to the lawsuit.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, the lawsuit follows the state’s $7 million fine against NRA insurance broker Lockton Cos. LLC which administered an NRA-branded insurance program known as “Carry Guard,” according to Reuters. The insurance program covers a policyholder in legal proceedings if they are accused of a crime.
NYDFS also fined insurer Chubb Ltd and its subsidiary, Illinois Union Insurance Company, $1.3 million for having “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing,” according to the regulator.
On Wednesday, U.K. insurer Lloyd’s of London announced it would be ending all insurance made available through the NRA, The Hill reported.
The fines were the outcomes of “years of political activism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations,” an NRA lawyer said in a statement. The lawsuit claims the NRA has suffered millions of dollars in damages as a result of the actions of Cuomo and Vullo.
Vullo argued that 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.”
Cuomo mocked and dismissed the suit.
“The NRA’s lawsuit is a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns,” Cuomo wrote in a statement, saying he was “proud” of his ‘F’ rating from the NRA.
“In New York, we won’t be intimidated by frivolous court actions from a group of lobbyists bent on chipping away at common sense gun safety laws that many responsible gun owners actually support. We have an obligation to protect New Yorkers, and this sham suit will do nothing to stop that,” the Democrat said.
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