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NRA Lawsuit: NY Gov. Engaged In ‘Selective Prosecution’

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The NRA has filed a lawsuit claiming that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), and his Director of Financial Services (DFS) have engaged in a “campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats” designed to coerce banks and insurance companies to withhold services from the NRA.  

According to last week’s court filing, state agencies under the direction of Cuomo, conducted a discrimination campaign, “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 NRA also names Maria Vullo, the Superintendent of NY Department of Financial Services as a defendant. Claiming the tactics used by the department “vastly overstep DFS’s regulatory mandate, and seek to suppress the speech of Second Amendment supporters and retaliate against the NRA and others for their political advocacy.”

The NRA is seeking millions of dollars in damages to redress the harms caused by the DFS campaign.

In particular, the lawsuit cites “guidance” letters issued on April 19, 2018, by the DFS to the CEOs of banks and insurance companies doing business in New York. 

One memorandum encourage institutions to “review any relationships with the NRA” and “take prompt actions” to manage risks.

According to a NYDFS memorandum:

While the social backlash against the National Rifle Association (the “NRA”), and similar organizations that promote guns that lead to senseless violence, has in the past been strong, the nature and the intensity of the voices now speaking out, including the voices of the passionate, courageous, and articulate young people who have experienced this recent horror first hand, is a strong reminder that such voices can no longer be ignored and that society, as a whole, has a responsibility to act and is no longer willing to stand by and wait and witness more tragedies caused by gun violence, but instead is demanding change now.

In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a press release in which he “directed the Department of Financial Services to urge insurance companies, New York State-chartered banks, and other financial services companies licensed in New York to review any relationships they may have with the National Rifle Association and other similar organizations.”

"New York may have the strongest gun laws in the country, but we must push further to ensure that gun safety is a top priority for every individual, company, and organization that does business across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "I am directing the Department of Financial Services to urge insurers and bankers statewide to determine whether any relationship they may have with the NRA or similar organizations sends the wrong message to their clients and their communities who often look to them for guidance and support. This is not just a matter of reputation, it is a matter of public safety, and working together, we can put an end to gun violence in New York once and for all."

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