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NRA Files Suit Against Gov. Cuomo for 'Blacklisting Campaign'
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14 May 2018 06:40 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Andrew Cuomo (Image Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin)

 

While the National Rifle Association seems unwilling to bend in their stance against changing gun laws, they seem to be feeling some heat and are fighting back against it. They have sued Gov. Andrew Cuomo as well as the state's financial regulator, contending that they launched a "blacklisting campaign" to convince others to stop doing business with them.

On May 2 the NYDFS fined insurance broker Lockton Cos LLC for launching an insurance program affiliated with the NRA known as "Carry Guard." Five days later they fined insurer Chubb Ltd as well as its Illinois Union Insurance Company unit $1.3 million for having "unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing."

The NRA's lawsuit states that Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) set out to deprive them from its right to "speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment." The gun advocacy group and their followers often speak about the right to bear arms as mentioned in the Constitution.

The fines were included as settlements between the companies and the regulator and were the "culmination of years of political activism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations," stated a lawyer for the NRA in a statement. They contend that they lost tens of millions of dollars in damages.

"The NRA's lawsuit is a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns," said the governor in a statement, adding that the suit is "frivolous."

The NRA has been the subject of intense scrutiny since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. But according to the lawsuit, the group believes Cuomo, NYDFS, and Maria Vullo, its superintendent who is also named as a defendant, took part in a "campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats" to convince banks and insurance companies to not do business with the NRA.

An April letter by the NYDFS is another bone of contention. The NYDFS's letter to bank and insurance company leaders who did business in New York mentioned the "reputational risk" they would suffer from dealing with "gun promotion organizations."

Vullo stated that the NYDFS is obligated to "supervise and guide regulated entities to mitigate the risk to their safety and soundness that may derive from a variety of sources, including reputational risk." She added that they also must enforce New York law, with the settlements addressing unlicensed and unlawful activity connected with "Carry Guard."

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