The National Rifle Association says it’s the victim of a state-led “discrimination campaign” in New York that’s depleting its coffers and threatening its very existence as a corporate entity.
In a legal complaint filed in a U.S. District Court and obtained by Rolling Stone, the NRA accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of leading a “blacklisting campaign” that has curbed its ability to access key financial services like insurance and bank-depository services.
Without these services, the NRA says it will struggle to maintain physical premises, organize conventions, run educational programs and operate its various media properties.
The group says banks and other financial institutions in New York are leery of doing business with it as the direct result of “coercion” on the part of Gov. Cuomo and the state Department of Financial Services.
It cited, as an example, an April 2018 statement in which Cuomo urged financial institutions to “review any relationships they may have with the National Rifle Association and other similar organizations,” and “consider reputational risk” before doing business with the NRA.
The NRA said Cuomo’s policies “will imminently deprive the NRA of basic bank-depository services, corporate insurance coverage and other financial services essential to the NRA’s corporate existence and its advocacy mission.
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The genesis of the legal battle between the NRA and Cuomo can be traced to New York’s move to ban an NRA-branded firearms liability insurance policy called “Carry Guard.”
In May, the state of New York ruled that Carry Guard, offered by private insurance brokerage Lockton Affinity, “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners who may be charged with a crime involving firearms,” and improperly provided coverage in the form of bail money, lawyer consultation fees and other expenses.
However, the NRA holds that New York didn’t stop at that policy, but continued to work to sabotage the NRA’s relationships with other insurance companies and banks.
The group is seeking an injunction to stop state authorities from interfering in its business relationships, in addition to financial and other compensation.
Cuomo says New York is filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.