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NRA sues New York governor, alleging 'blacklisting campaign'

NRA sues New York governor, alleging 'blacklisting campaign'
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The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed a lawsuit on Friday against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the state’s financial regulation agency, alleging a “blacklisting campaign” aimed at getting banks to cut ties with the gun group.

NRA asserts that Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) actively worked to strip the NRA of its right to “speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,” Reuters reported.

The lawsuit claims that Cuomo and Maria Vullo, the chief of the NYDFS, engaged in a “campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats” to force banks and insurance companies to end insurance services with the NRA.

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"The NRA's lawsuit is a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns," Cuomo wrote in a statement obtained by The Hill. 

Cuomo said he was "proud" of his 'F' rating from the NRA, adding, "In New York, we won't be intimidated by frivolous court actions from a group of lobbyists bent on chipping away at common sense gun safety laws that many responsible gun owners actually support. We have an obligation to protect New Yorkers, and this sham suit will do nothing to stop that."

An NYDFS spokeswoman declined to comment to Reuters.

The NRA's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, comes after the NYDFS slapped insurance broker Lockton Cos. LLC with a $7 million fine earlier this month after a settlement with the financial regulator.  

Lockton Cos. administered the NRA-branded “Carry Guard” insurance program that provides coverage throughout criminal proceedings for the policyholder or a family member if they’re accused of a crime, Reuters reported.

Insurance company Chubb and its subsidiary Illinois Union Insurance Company also received a $1.3 million fine by the NYDFS on Monday. 

U.K. insurer Lloyd’s of London announced on Wednesday that it would terminate all insurance made available through the NRA after the NRA Carry Guard program was found to have unlawfully provided insurance “to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.”

An NRA lawyer said in a statement that the fines were the outcomes of “years of political activism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations.”

The lawsuit alleges that the NRA has suffered millions of dollars in damages after Vullo and Cuomo encouraged New York banks and insurance companies to cut ties, according to Reuters.