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New York governor sued over NRA smear campaign

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been sued by the NRA for an alleged 'blacklisting campaign' against the group. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit on Friday against New York state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, over what the group referred to as  a "blacklisting campaign" staged against them by the defendants.

According to the NRA's complaint, New York's governor and Department of Financial Services actively worked to convince banks and insurers to cease doing business with the gun-rights organization in a "campaign of selective prosecution, background exhortations, and public threats."

New York officials are accused of running a politically-motivated crusade that hinders the right of the NRA to "speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment" according to the suit.

Earlier this month, NYDFS imposed a $7 million fine on Lockton Cos., LLC, the insurance broker that administered NRA Carry Guard - which offers personal firearms liability policies.

On Wednesday, British insurer Lloyd's of London announced that it would end all coverage made available through the NRA, deeming the Carry Guard program an unlawful policy issued "to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing."

Governor Cuomo also ordered a directive issued by the NYDFS which resulted in the regulatory agency sending a letter to state-chartered banks and other financiers, deterring them from doing business with the NRA.

In the letter, NYDFS superintendent Maria Vullo wrote, "There is a fair amount of precedent in the business world where firms have implemented measures in areas such as the environment, healthcare, and civil rights in fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.

"The recent actions of a number of financial institutions that severed their ties with the NRA and have taken other actions after the AR-15 style rifle killed 17 people in the school in Parkland, Florida, is an example of such a precedent."

Cuomo urged in a press release that "New York may have the strongest gun laws in the country, but we must push further to ensure that gun safety is a top priority for every individual, company, and organization that does business across the state."

Responding to news of the NRA's legal action Cuomo said, "The NRA's lawsuit is a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns," referring to the lawsuit as "frivolous."

The NRA claims that actions by the defendants have cost the organization tens of millions of dollars in damages.

 

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