NRA sues N.Y. governor, regulator for 'blacklisting campaign'

May 11 (Reuters) - The National Rifle Association on Friday sued New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state's financial regulator for engaging in what it said was a "blacklisting campaign" aimed at swaying banks and insurers to stop doing business with the gun advocacy group, according to a complaint.

Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) aimed to deprive the NRA of its right to "speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment," the group said in the suit, referring to part of the U.S. Constitution that protects the right of Americans to bear arms.

"The NRA's lawsuit is a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns," Cuomo said in a statement, calling the suit "frivolous."

The NRA's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, follows a $7 million fine on May 2 imposed by NYDFS against insurance broker Lockton Cos LLC, which administered an NRA-branded insurance program known as "Carry Guard."

On May 7, NYDFS fined insurer Chubb Ltd and its Illinois Union Insurance Company unit $1.3 million for having "unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing," the regulator said.

The fines were part of settlements between the companies and the regulator, outcomes that are the "culmination of years of political activism by Cuomo against the NRA and gun rights organizations," an NRA lawyer said in a statement.

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List of companies cutting ties with the NRA
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List of companies cutting ties with the NRA
Delta

(studioportosabbia via Getty Images)
United Airlines

(superjoseph via Getty Images)

Hertz

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Avis Budget Group Inc.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

TrueCar

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Metlife

(Photo by Robert Caplin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Enterprise

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

@enamoredgirl Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National… https://t.co/uPKwPFMHxo
Allied Van Lines no longer has an affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately. We have asked them to… https://t.co/IQlB6e4gzi
northAmerican Van Lines no longer has an affiliate relationship with the NRA effective immediately. We have asked t… https://t.co/VLJCWSldAm
Symantec has stopped its discount program with the National Rifle Association.
@grafinator @NRA Best Western Hotels & Resorts does not have any affiliation with and is not a corporate partner of… https://t.co/eMnkiPN3YW
@iainjgrant Please know, Wyndham is no longer affiliated with the NRA.
Thank you all for your feedback. Paramount Rx issued the statement below. “The prescription discount program that… https://t.co/ZFpIwKlpej
We have made the decision not to renew our discount program with the NRA. We will be asking them to remove our info… https://t.co/4eqO3kUR1W

Chubb Insurance

(Photo credit: Facebook)

Teladoc

(Photo credit: Facebook)

SimpliSafe

(Photo credit: Facebook)

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National debate has heated up over the issue of gun control, and the NRA’s role in opposing it, since Feb. 14, when a former student killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, using an AR-15 assault rifle he had purchased legally.

Cuomo, NYDFS and its superintendent, Maria Vullo, whom the NRA also named as a defendant, engaged in a "campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats" to coerce banks and insurance companies to withhold services from the NRA, the group said in the suit.

The suit also cites an April letter issued by NYDFS to heads of banks and insurance companies doing business in New York encouraging them to manage “reputational risk” posed by dealings with “gun promotion organizations.”

NYDFS has an obligation to "supervise and guide regulated entities to mitigate the risks to their safety and soundness that may derive from a variety of sources, including reputational risk," said Vullo.

NYDFS must also enforce New York law, Vullo said. The Lockton and Chubb settlements addressed unlicensed and unlawful activity connected with “Carry Guard.”

The NRA has suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages, the group said.

24 PHOTOS
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun rights supporters
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The National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun rights supporters
A gun rights demonstrator armed with a rifle walks past a sign memorializing the children and teachers killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, as protesters aligned with the Women's March hold a rally against the National Rifle Association at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S. July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Supporters listen to U.S. President Donald Trump deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters wait for U.S. President Donald Trump to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Supporters wait for U.S. President Donald Trump to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Onlookers, including a man wearing a National Rifle Association (NRA) t-shirt, watch as a 95-by-50-foot American flag is unfurled on the side of an apartment complex, a replica of the "The Great Flag" that was spun, woven, dyed, constructed and displayed on the same building by Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in 1914, in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
NRA Executive Director Chris Cox (L) and Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre (R) welcome U.S. President Donald Trump (C) onstage to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
File Photo: NRA gun enthusiasts view Sig Sauer rifles at the National Rifle Association's annual meetings & exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. on May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Gun enthusiasts look over Smith & Wesson guns at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meetings and exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II/File Photo
James Bell from Nashville, TN, look over rifle scopes from Burris Riflescope at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meetings and exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II/File Photo
Gun enthusiasts poses for a picture with an FN MK 48 machine gun and a MK 19 grenade launcher at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meetings & exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Gun enthusiasts look over guns at FN America firearms at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meetings and exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Gun instructor Robert Allen (L) works with Eathan Hawkins (8) at the air gun range at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meetings and exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Indiana Governor Mike Pence addresses members of the National Rifle Association during their NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at their annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Attendees recite the pledge of allegiance before the National Rifle Association's NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during their annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Attendees visit the trade booths during the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Attendees visit the trade booths during the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Activists hold a protest and vigil against gun violence on the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass shooting, outside the National Rifle Association (NRA) headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia December 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Brendan Walsh looks at a rifle scope in the trade booths showroom during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee April 12, 2015. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Fans wait in line to meet musician and supporter of the NRA, Ted Nugent, who was signing autographs during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee April 12, 2015. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Musician and supporter of the NRA, Ted Nugent, signs autographs during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee April 12, 2015. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Dave Verner looks at pistols and scopes in the trade booth area during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee April 11, 2015. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Brett Throckmorten of Barnes Bullets shows Logan Wingo how to sight down an electronic rifle in the trade booth area during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, April 11, 2015. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
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(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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