NRA Moves Forward in First Amendment Case Against NY Governor Cuomo

Opinion

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is notoriously hostile to the Second Amendment and the exercise thereof.

His administration has been riddled with corruption. He is considered one of the three engineers of the infamous “Safe Act”. The other two, Dean Skelos, former leader of the New York Senate, and Sidney Silver, former Speaker of the New York Assembly, have been convicted of corruption.  Governor Cuomo was intimately politically involved with both men.

Governor Cuomo has been able to evade corruption charges thus far.

Perhaps Governor Cuomo has a touch of believing he is invulnerable.  He used his vast powers to exhort the New York bureaucracy to blacklist the National Rifle Association (NRA). Governors have free speech rights, just as everyone is supposed to have in the United States. But, as leftists like to point out, there are limits on all rights.

Free speech does not include the right to threaten legal entities with a bureaucratic blacklist. “Nice little non-profit you have there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it…”

On 7 November 2018, Jacob Sullum wrote about some of the details of the bureaucratic blacklisting of the NRA, after Cuomo made the not so subtle threats.  From creators.com:

Two weeks later, as if to underline the dangers of doing business with “gun promotion organizations,” DFS announced a consent decree with Lockton Companies, the New York administrator of Carry Guard, the NRA's liability insurance program for people who use firearms in self-defense. Lockton agreed to pay a $7 million fine for alleged violations of state regulations and promised to stop helping the NRA with insurance programs in New York, regardless of their legality.

Five days later, DFS touted a consent decree with Chubb, which underwrote the Carry Guard program overseen by Lockton. Chubb agreed to pay $1.3 million and shun the NRA — not just in New York, but throughout the world.

Lloyd's of London severed its relationship with the NRA two days after the Chubb consent decree was announced. Because of the state's implicit threats, the NRA says, it has had trouble finding companies willing to provide even basic banking and insurance services, much to Cuomo's gloating delight.

The NRA sued, claiming Governor Cuomo's actions were violations of the First Amendment freedom of speech and the press. Cuomo's actions were detailed and clear enough that the national ACLU, no friend of the Second Amendment, agreed the NRA case should go to trial.  From thehill.com:

“In the ACLU’s view, targeting a nonprofit advocacy group and seeking to deny it financial services because it promotes a lawful activity (the use of guns) violates the First Amendment,” ACLU legal director David Cole wrote in his announcement of the filing on Friday.

“If the NRA’s charges are true, the state’s actions would clearly violate the First Amendment,” Cole wrote.

The ACLU argued that dismissing the NRA suit against Cuomo “would set a dangerous precedent for advocacy groups across the political spectrum.”

“Public officials would have a readymade playbook for abusing their regulatory power to harm disfavored advocacy groups without triggering judicial scrutiny,” Cole wrote.

The U.S. District Judge agreed the suit should go to trial. The judge refused to simply throw the case out, as Governor Cuomo had asked. From law.com:

U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy of the Northern District of New York said in a lengthy decision that the NRA’s claims that actions by Cuomo and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo stifled its free speech rights were sufficient enough to be evaluated at trial.

“The allegations of direct and implied threats to insurers and financial institutions because of these entities’ links with the NRA, and the allegations of resulting harm to the NRA’s operations, are sufficient to make out plausible First Amendment freedom-of-speech claims,” McAvoy wrote. “While the NRA may not be able to establish the factual predicates for these claims, it has presented sufficient allegations to allow them to go forward.”

William Brewer III from Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors in Dallas and New York City is the lead attorney for the NRA in the case. He said in a statement Tuesday evening that they are looking forward to proceeding with discovery, which they have said could reveal a deliberate effort to dismantle the gun lobby through state actions.

As in other civil lawsuits, the NRA now has the ability to demand any documentation that might have bearing on the case. New York State can, and likely will, be ordered by the trial court to provide discovery material to the NRA legal team. Governor Cuomo has demonstrated a lack of accountability and hostility to the Constituion. His administration may be less than forthcoming with discovery.

Governor Cuomo has made a lot of enemies. It is hard to believe one or two of them would be above leaking documents the Governor would rather not be seen by NRA lawyers.

The discovery process will be worth watching in this case.


Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 19 thoughts on “NRA Moves Forward in First Amendment Case Against NY Governor Cuomo

    1. This IDIOT GOV. is a milk-sop!
      He has armed guards with GUNS, but doesn’t want you to be able to protect yourself and family!
      Hypocrite at it’s finest!
      If he dropped dead right now from dumb-ass syndrome, I don’t believe many tears would be shed!
      Look up milk-sop, as that’s what Cuomo is.

    2. I have seen photo’s of Cuomo with Rifles for Hunting. Obviously he knows how to shoot. Did Cuomo Take a Safety Course? Does Cuomo have a Carry Permit? #NotMyGovernor

    3. Reminder the NRA is only in this mess because they tried to destroy a pro-2A company, USCAA, and take their business for themselves. If the NRA was about gun rights instead of money for its executives (who have openly stated they have in the past lied to the membership to pass gun control) this would never have happened.

    4. His end should be as was another full-of-himself Fachia Brute Italiano, Benito Mussolini. Shame there aren’t any Esso gas stations left in the vicinity of Albany.

    5. You can bet your last dollar that this communist idiot has a bevy of armed guards no matter how much he hates guns. He knows most people hate him so it is necessary for him to have armed guards to protect his candy ass. I could visualize him as a side show in the circus as a talking ape because that is what he looks like.

    6. That NY’s governor Cuomo’s actions violated the NRA’s speech rights are the least of it. Cuomo and others, mainly in the mainstream media, have charged the NRA and its members with contributing to crimes, “The NRA has blood on its hands”: has become a refrain by anti-gunners and some of their organizations/. This kind of rhetoric verges on libel. Appropriate legal action is called for. The kind of libelous charges hurled at the NRA are deliberately calculated to hurt, diminish and destroy the organization.

    7. The Cuomo family has succeeded in creating a clan of elitism for those who support his chipping away of both natural born and the constitutional rights of his constituents. He is a true enemy of freedom.

      1. His dad and Jerry Brown’s dad, along with Jerry and this turd must be very good friends. Look at all of illegal anti gun bills rolling out of californicate….But we citizens here have yet to see anything such as this lawsuit. Also, one must not forget the infamous 9th Circus of Appeals. If a lawmaker wants the ruling they need, they file here in californicate.

      2. These politicians take an oath of office, they are in violation of that oath when they go against the Constitution. Force these idiots out, especially Cuomo.

    8. Cuomo is a corrupt, far left, radical liberal, a scun bag.
      His Safe Act was enacted without constitutional process and enacted outside of constitutional law. Therefore, it cannot be law , it is just what it says; “an ACT”. Totally fed up with these far lefties, their unconstitutional ACTS, and anti gun rants. ALL of upstate NY hates Cuomo. He does NOT speak for upstate NY. We want him out. I WILL NOT COMPLY WITH THE SAFE ACT

    9. Cuomo is a very dangerous governor – ignores or perverts the constitution, picks and chooses what rules and laws the feds push down to the states to follow, and is beyond anti-gun.

      Hopefully the courts stop his ass before he and a few others end up with toe tags.

    10. Liberals and Democrats are strongly opposed to the Constitutional rights of citizens protected under both the 1st and 2nd Amendments of the Constitution. In Berkley University we saw first hand how liberals will physically assault and attack conservative speakers who come to exercise their 1st Amendment rights on their campus. In fact, the police were ordered not to stop the obstructions and not get involved. The same happened in D.C. where Democrats blocked citizens and military members from attending the Trump inauguration ceremony. Liberals also want firearms confiscated in complete contradiction to the 2nd Amendment. They have become a complete Socialist party that wants the citizens to be their servitudes without protections from their power. A very scary thought.

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