NRA Sues Over First Amendment Infringement

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posted on May 16, 2018
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Mention “infringement” in the same breath as amendment, and the NRA is usually talking about the Second Amendment. But in a recent lawsuit filed against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), the NRA is alleging First Amendment infringement.

The NRA late last week filed the lawsuit in response to, among other things, DFS-issued “guidance” letters that encourage financial institutions to “take prompt actions” to manage “reputational risk” that is associated with doing business within the gun industry.

The suit was filed May 11 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. It claims that Cuomo and DFS Superintendent Mario T. Vullo engaged in a “campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats” that were intended to coerce financial companies to not do business with the NRA and others that are involved in political advocacy.

The lawsuit contends that the back-channel communication has served to pressure multiple businesses—including the Lockton Cos. LLC and Chubb Ltd.—to back out of business agreements with the NRA.

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