For decades, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has seemed like an immovable and feared force in conservative politics, but in court documents first obtained by the New York Law Journal, constant backlash and boycotts in the wake of gun violence and school shootings has the organization under serious financial pressure.
According to the court docs, the NRA cites New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign to pressure insurers and financial institutions to cut ties with the gun rights organization, warning that the effort could damage its ability to “fulfill its advocacy objectives.” The state-led “blacklisting campaign” has inflicted “tens of millions of dollars in damages” on the organization, the group claims.
In addition to its loss of income and access to banking services, the NRA says it hasn’t been able to renew its media liability insurance. According to its complaint, if a replacement policy isn’t found, it may have to shut down its once lucrative television network NRATV and a number of other media outlets.
“Defendants’ concerted efforts to stifle the NRA’s freedom of speech and to retaliate against the NRA based on its viewpoints are causing other insurance, banking, and financial institutions doing business with the NRA … to rethink their mutually beneficial business relationships with the NRA for fear of monetary sanctions or expensive public investigations,” the complaint reads.
“Insurance coverage is necessary for the NRA to continue its existence,” it continues, adding that the NRA “cannot maintain its physical premises, convene off-site meetings and events, operate educational programs … or hold rallies, conventions and assemblies.”
From The Trace:
The NRA’s original lawsuit against Cuomo and the New York Department of Financial Services was filed in response to an April directive issued by the governor to the state agency to urge insurers and financial firms to consider whether any relationships those companies may have with the NRA constitute reputational risks. Cuomo’s order came in the midst of a wave of activism following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, aimed at big banks and insurers that provided NRA members with discounts or special offers.
At Cuomo’s behest, the state also levied more than $8 million in fines against Chubb and Lockton Affinity, insurance companies supporting the NRA’s “Carry Guard” self-defense program in New York State. Carry Guard was marketed to NRA members as a firearms-training program that also provided insurance to cover legal fees and liabilities arising from self-defense shootings. The action led both companies to announce they were entering into consent agreements with the state and would no longer do business with the NRA.
In sum, the NRA’s compliant paints its situation as dire. Being cut off from routine banking services will render it “unable to exist” as “one of America’s oldest constitutional rights advocates,” it claims.
Governor Cuomo dismissed the NRA’s lawsuit as “a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns.”
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