The National Rifle Association is suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Financial Services for allegedly targeting insurance companies they partner with to offer protection programs for gun owners.
In a statement, Cuomo called the lawsuit an attempt by the NRA to advance its “dangerous agenda to sell more guns.”
Earlier this month, New York State’s Department of Financial Services fined Lockton Companies, a private insurance broker, and the Illinois Union Insurance Company, for their involvement in the NRA’s “Carry Guard” insurance program. The companies paid $7 million and $1.3 million in fines respectively.
According to the DFS, the NRA does not have a license to conduct insurance business in New York state. The agency further alleges that the Carry Guard Program “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.”
There are 680 Carry Guard insurance policies issued to New York state residents. The insurance provides money for criminal proceedings if the policy holder or one of their family members were to face criminal charges after a shooting. According to the Carry Guard website, if a policy holder were to “face serious criminal or civil liability” in an attempt to save their own life, Carry Guard would provide “access to important resources.”
The NRA responded by filing a lawsuit against Cuomo, the Department of Financial Services and its Superintendent, Maria Vullo.
According to the lawsuit, Cuomo’s directed “campaign” was a political tactic to try to silence gun owners. Further, it was a way “to deprive the NRA and its constituents of their First Amendment right to speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also refers to Cuomo as a “political opportunist” who attacks the NRA as a means to gain political power. The lawsuit goes on to say that the fines were a way to make it seem as though working with the NRA is “bad business” and that the fines were only issued because of the firms’ interactions with the NRA.
In a statement, Cuomo said he refuses to be intimidated by the lawsuit and will keep the protection of New Yorkers as a top priority.
“I am proud of my ‘F’ rating from the NRA, and I will continue to do everything I can to keep New Yorkers safe,” Cuomo said.