ACLU, NRA Lawsuit, New York State, Andrew Cuomo, Maria Vullo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (left) and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo (right).

The pro-gun control American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in support of an NRA lawsuit against New York over insurance regulations. Back in May, the NRA filed suit claiming that an investigation into its Carry Guard insurance was politically motivated.

In the lawsuit, the NRA accuses New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo of conspiring “to initiate an investigation into Carry Guard in an attempt to collaterally attack the NRA and stifle its gun-rights advocacy.”

While the NRA admits wrongdoings by its policy broker and underwriter, it also claims that Everytown for Gun Safety orchestrated the investigations to target the gun-rights organization.

Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that agreements with Lockton and Chubb only prohibit administering policies for the NRA; it didn’t affect other advocacy-driven organizations.

An official letter to all DFS-regulated insurers and banks cautioned banks, insurance companies and lenders against involvement with the NRA. In fact, Vullo urged financial institutions to examine relationships with the NRA and organizations that promote guns. She recommended “prompt actions to manage these risks” to protect corporate reputations.

The NRA also claims that the Empire State’s actions scared banks and insurers from backing Carry Guard.

ACLU Support

According to David Cole, ACLU legal director, the group is in favor of gun control, but believes the Cuomo administration crossed a line.

“Public officials are, of course, free to criticize groups with which they disagree,” Cole said. “But they cannot use their regulatory authority to penalize advocacy groups by threatening companies that do business with those groups.”

The filing also claims that New York admitted focusing on the NRA because the group promotes guns. As such, the ACLU considers this a First Amendment issue.

This is not the first time the ACLU has sided with the NRA. In fact, over the years, both groups have filed briefs supporting the other in lawsuits. The NRA backed the ACLU in challenging the federal government’s phone record program in 2013. Then in 2015, the ACLU backed a plan to stop the Social Security Administration from stripping gun rights from recipients who received benefits through a representative.

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