The long-running battle between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and the National Rifle Association, which says it has lost millions of dollars because of state officials’ political agenda, entered another round of legal wrangling and public posturing this week.Mr. Cuomo announced on Friday that the state was moving to dismiss a lawsuit the…
The long-running battle between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and the National Rifle Association, which says it has lost millions of dollars because of state officials’ political agenda, entered another round of legal wrangling and public posturing this week.
Mr. Cuomo announced on Friday that the state was moving to dismiss a lawsuit the N.R.A. filed in federal court in May, which he called “frivolous.” The lawsuit, which accused state officials of “blacklisting” the gun rights organization, was amended with sharper language last month.
At issue is whether New York regulators violated the constitutional rights of the N.R.A. by preventing financial institutions and insurers in the state from doing business with the organization.
In the lawsuit, the N.R.A. accused Mr. Cuomo, as well as the New York State Department of Financial Services and its superintendent, Maria T. Vullo, of discrimination that violated the organization’s right to free speech.
response on Friday was terse: “If I could have put the N.R.A. out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago.”
While the complaint said the N.R.A. had “suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages” because of New York State officials, it did not make specific claims about the organization’s current financial standing.
killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in February.
Survivors of the shooting have led protests in support of stricter gun control. Politicians have voiced their support, including Mr. Cuomo, who stretched out on a sidewalk to participate in a “die-in” with students in Lower Manhattan in March. Several businesses including car rental services, airlines, technology companies and insurers announced that they were cutting ties with the N.R.A.
Three months after the Parkland shooting, the Department of Financial Services announced that Lockton and an affiliate would pay a fine of $7 million while Chubb and a subsidiary would pay $1.3 million for underwriting Carry Guard.
According to the department, the program “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.”
Days later, the N.R.A. filed its initial complaint, arguing that the state’s aims went far beyond its opposition to Carry Guard. “From the outset, it was clear that the investigation was meant to advance Cuomo’s political agenda by stifling the N.R.A.’s speech and retaliating against the N.R.A. based on its viewpoint on gun control issues,” it said, claiming that its constitutional rights had been violated through conspiracy and implicit censorship.
Last month’s amendments added two more accusations: that state officials had interfered with potential revenue and that they had violated the N.R.A.’s freedom of association.
hobbling regulatory efforts, grading legislators on their voting histories and running ads suggesting that the rights of gun owners are forever under siege.
During the 2016 presidential election cycle, the N.R.A. spent $20 million to persuade voters to reject Hillary Clinton and another $11 million in support of Donald J. Trump. Public records from that year showed that the organization’s expenses exceeded revenues by about $46 million.
Donations to the organization spiked after the Parkland shooting, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.
William Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors who is lead counsel in the organization’s lawsuit against the New York officials, said on Saturday that the N.R.A. is growing and “in good financial standing.”
“However, the conduct of defendants, from the home state of the N.R.A., now threaten the financial growth and overall trajectory of the organization,” he said.
announcing a “national effort urging states across the country to follow New York’s lead and outlaw” the insurance program.
“At a time when Washington has completely abdicated its responsibility to protect the American people, states must lead,” he said in a statement.