New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has tried to spend a lot of time building himself up as an anti-gun crusader, initiating a personal jihad against the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment as a whole. He’s been very upfront with much of what he’s trying to do, too, though he hasn’t done everything in the light of day.
The NRA, however, isn’t the kind of organization to just roll over and take whatever someone like Cuomo is going to dish out. They filed a lawsuit alleging that Cuomo was trying to interfere with their First Amendment rights.
In truth, he is. However, more evidence was needed to make that case.
In May 2019, a federal district court dismissed some of the NRA’s claims, saying that the NRA had to show that the state knew specifically about similar insurance law violations by other providers and failed to enforce the law. But it dismissed the claims without prejudice, providing leave for the NRA to re-file those claims if evidence emerged.On Dec. 20, 2019, the NRA asked the court for leave to file an amended complaint, explaining that it had found exactly such evidence, thanks to the state allegedly admitting its discriminatory intent behind the scenes:
In June of 2019, the NRA achieved a breakthrough: in an attempt to negotiate resolution of the NRA’s pending subpoena, Lloyd’s America, Inc. (“LAI”) provided a small number of documents voluntarily to the NRA, subject to a strict confidentiality order. Those documents, and additional details which have come to light since that time, paint a stark and troubling picture of Defendants’ conduct. As described in the NRA’s proposed amended pleading, former DFS Superintendent Vullo was fully aware of identical market conduct by non-NRA entities, yet leveraged DFS’s considerable power over Lloyd’s to inflict harm on “gun programs”—irrespective of whether those programs violated the law. These threats were delivered in off-the-record conversations and surreptitious backroom meetings. Taken aback by such conduct, insurance- industry insiders, including Lloyd’s, privately predicted that the NRA would sue DFS. They were right.
The amended complaint — against Cuomo, Hullo, and the DFS — claims that the defendants attempted to punish any DFS-regulated institutions for doing business with the NRA. It states:
This case is necessitated by an overt viewpoint-based discrimination campaign against the NRA and the millions of law-abiding gun owners that it represents. Directed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and former DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo, this campaign involves selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats with a singular goal – to deprive the NRA and its constituents of their First Amendment rights to speak freely about gun-related issues and defend their Second Amendment freedoms against encroachment.
[I]n a stunning display of unconstitutional overreach, Defendants made it clear to banks and insurers that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA. Moreover, Defendants knowingly targeted NRA-related insurance programs for violations not enforced against other similarly situated insurance programs.
The NRA alleges that Cuomo, Vullo, and the DFS were successful in convincing several financial institutions — including some with which the NRA had long-standing ties — to stop doing business with the organization.
There’s a lot more there, so I invite you to head over to Breitbart and read the whole thing.
Look, I get that there are some in the gun community who aren’t fans of how the NRA does business. That’s a discussion that, as a community, we desperately need to have, too. However, let’s also understand that if Cuomo gets away with this, it’s only a matter of time that other gun rights groups start feeling the pinch.
Cuomo hasn’t targeted them only because he doesn’t view them as a threat. Should he get away with that, the moment he looks at another group as a viable opponent, he’ll do the same thing to them.
We know that Cuomo’s brother
Fredo Chris gets upset when people make comparisons between Italian-Americans and the mafia, but if he really wants to put an end to that kind of thing, maybe he should have had a conversation with his brother over the Christmas dinner table about knocking off the strongarm tactics.
The truth is that Cuomo wants the NRA shut down and is using every dirty trick he can find because, if he doesn’t, he’s afraid he might lose on gun rights. That would be a major blow to his political career.
Of course, I can’t imagine losing a lawsuit like this will be a banner moment either.