Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos/Flickr
On Friday, the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a lawsuit challenging the state of New York's attempt to pressure banks and insurance companies into severing ties with the organization.
The group claimed that New York, in what it called a “blacklisting campaign,” chilled free speech and engaged in viewpoint discrimination by threatening those companies with regulatory action if they didn't comply.
New York's actions, the NRA claimed, sought to “deprive” the group and its constituents of the ability to “speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment.”
The suit came about a month after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed his Department of Financial Services (DFS) to urge banks and insurance companies to reconsider their ties to the organization.
“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,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo also responded on Saturday by saying that the lawsuit was a sign he was “doing something right”:
If the NRA is suing you, you know you're doing something right. https://t.co/K0f9vvyJ4x
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 12, 2018
Many on Twitter responded with disapproval:
So, that's what you use as a metric of success? How about not violating the rights of NY State citizens?
— Scott P Carpenter (@ScottPCarpenter) May 13, 2018
Does he expect to get away with these back handed threats against our constitution and nongovernment entities. They must stand with NRA to protect both their and our rights. Maybe we the people can encourage them not to cave take business to those that don't give in.
— Peter Barillaro (@PeterBarillaro) May 13, 2018
Or it means you could be doing something unconstitutional by attempting to infringe upon the #2A rights of your constituents.
“Shall not be infringed.”
Repeal the NY Safe Act.
— Greg Keller 🇺🇸 (@GregKellerROC) May 13, 2018
Every American has a right to petition our government. I joined NRA to advicate a strong 2A. Your regulatory “guidance” letters to financial institutions are anti-NRA and seek to suppress my rights via government intimidation. You represent the very antithesis of freedom.
— Jack Sears (@pacecar86) May 15, 2018
According to the NRA's lawsuit, Cuomo was effective in pressuring companies to sever ties.
“As a direct result of this coercion,” the suit read, “multiple firms have succumbed to Defendants' demands and entered into consent orders with DFS that compel them to terminate longstanding, beneficial business relationships with the NRA, both in New York and elsewhere.”
The lawsuit came as part of a broader debate about gun control and the NRA following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February. Since the shooting, several companies have distanced themselves from the organization, and high-profile celebrities signed onto an effort specifically designed to counter the NRA.
Despite the efforts to damage the organization, it received an influx of donations following the shooting. As Independent Journal Review previously reported, the NRA received $2.4 million in March, a 15-year fundraising record for the organization.