By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold -
The National Rifle Association (NRA) filed suit against the State of New York, Governor Cuomo and the NY Department of Financial Services (DFS) in Federal District Court, for allegedly blacklisting the NRA with various insurance and financial institutions.
Companies providing insurance and banking services have been threatened with “regulatory action” if they continue to do business with the NRA. Why? Because the Governor wants to silence the NRA for their stand on defending the Second Amendment, and feels he has the public support for this (alleged) unconstitutional action. This may well constitute extortion under the color of law. (Hobbs Act, 1951).
In a further move against the NRA, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on August 6th, 2018, urged governors in other states to target the National Rifle Association, which, according to Cuomo, has suffered “tens of millions of dollars in damages” because of financial sanctions imposed in New York.
The primary target of Cuomo is “Carry Guard” insurance sponsored by the NRA to protect citizens who are justified in using a legally carried firearm to defend their life and limb. A person who uses a gun for defense is often subjected to major legal expenses, even if the shooting is beyond reproach. Even if the shooting is ruled justifiable by authorities, a civil suit often arises by the alleged victim or family members. If the shooting is found justifiable, most states will dismiss such suits with prejudice (can’t refile) and assess legal costs to the plaintiff; however, that can take years while the costs continue to mount.
Cuomo claims such insurance is illegal and supports legal “murder.” He compares it to insurance against traffic violations, including legal assistance, which was deemed illegal decades ago; however, “ticket” insurance encourages illegal behavior, while “Carry Guard” insurance protects you for legal behavior, even if some politicians disagree.
Cuomo doesn’t stop there. Also blacklisted is ordinary business insurance for the NRA for their day-to-day operations, special events like National Convention, and rallies. Banks and credit card companies are threatened if they process payments for the NRA, including membership dues and donations.
This is highly reminiscent of “Operation Choke Point,” instituted by President Obama, forbidding financial institutions to do business with blacklisted companies and activities such as PayDay Loans, gambling and illicit drug sales. Obama and the DOJ went further by blacklisting licensed gun dealers and manufacturers, without any evidence of wrong doing while performing a constitutionally protected activity. These actions have forced the closing of many small dealers, and have induced businesses like PayPal and Amazon to ban transactions of firearms, firearm parts and ammunition.
Operation Choke Point officially ended under President Trump, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is still implementing Obama era rules, despite attempts by President Trump to trim its claws. The Federal Depositors Insurance Commission (FDIC) continues to threaten banks with unfavorable reviews for serving gun dealers, under the guise of poor support for community welfare. The Illinois Concealed Carry Act of 2013 prohibits legal carry in establishments which post a legal warning sign, the familiar "beretta with a red circle and slash.” The act also requires businesses which derive 51% or more of their gross sales from on-premises liquor consumption (not sales for off-premises use), to post a carry ban sign. But the City of Chicago goes one step further, requiring any business with a liquor license, including liquor stores and most restaurants, to ban concealed carry, under threat of losing that license.
Although the Illinois Concealed Carry act of 2013 (430 ILCS 66/1) preempts and denies any concealed carry restrictions by local governments, Chicago uses liquor licenses to bypass the state law. Relatively few license holders actually comply with the Chicago ordinance, deferring to State law. Chicago is probably reluctant to force a court case which would almost certainly go against it.
As in New York City, the town bully is still standing in Chicago waving a big stick. Chicago seems to fear citizens exercising their right to self defense, despite statistics to the contrary, and even after the shooting spree that occurred this past weekend in Chicago when at least 72 people were shot, including 12 fatally, in what is not an unusual happening in Chicago at a time when national homicide rates are near an historic low. Concealed carry permits are costly and difficult to obtain. There are no shooting ranges in the City of Chicago, so residents must travel to suburbs for training and the mandatory proficiency test. The cost of 16 hours of training, licensing and fingerprinting fees can easily top $600, not counting transportation and lost work. Nonetheless, Illinois has issued more permits per capita in Chicago than for nearly any other city.
Democrats denounce the “huge sums” the NRA bestows on supporters of the Second Amendment, mainly Republicans. It amounts to about $30 million each year (a day in the Hillary campaign), compared to $80 million, this year alone spent in opposition by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.