The National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit against New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, suggesting his government overstepped its authority to impede on the lobby group’s First Amendment Rights.
In addition to Cuomo, who has been very vocally opposed to the NRA and firearms as a whole, the lawsuit targets New York’s Department of Financial Services. According to the suit, the DFS was used to tarnish the NRA’s business relationships by issuing a “guidance” letter encouraging banks and other financial institutions to sever relations with “gun promotional” organizations — of which the NRA is the largest.
By doing this, the NRA argues Cuomo and his government abused their power, and effectively took action against the pro-gun group’s messaging. The NRA is seeking millions of dollars in damages.
“Political differences aside, our client believes the tactics employed by these public officials are aimed to deprive the NRA of its First Amendment right to speak freely about gun-related issues and in defense of the Second Amendment,” explained Brewer attorney William A. Brewer III. “We believe these actions are outside the authority of DFS and fail to honor the principles which require public officials to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens.”
It comes as no surprise that Cuomo finds himself in the crosshairs of the NRA’s lawsuit. According to the suit, the New York governor took personal action by encouraging businesses to discontinue their relationships with the NRA. And, this isn’t exactly the first time Cuomo has taken shots at the NRA.
In February, Cuomo proudly proclaimed himself to be an enemy of the NRA as he championed gun control legislation in a state already known for having a draconian approach to the Second Amendment.
“If Wayne LaPierre is attacking you, you know you’re doing something right,” Cuomo said at the time, referring to the NRA’s president directly. “As a father and a gun owner, I think it would be nice if the NRA listened to the millions of children across the country who are asking the President and the GOP Congress to stop this senseless gun violence.”
If successful, the lawsuit could have major implications for the NRA and its mission to protect Second Amendment rights. Seeing as state resources were used to persuade companies to do business a certain way, there is little doubt the NRA has a case here.
“As a direct result of this coercion, 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 reads. “Tellingly, several provisions in the orders bear no relation to any ostensible regulatory infraction. Instead, the orders prohibit lawful commercial speech for no reason other than that it carries the NRA brand.”
~ Firearm Daily