ACLU Backs NRA, Files Brief Condemning New York Gov. Cuomo

Even the ACLU believes Gov. Cuomo violated the NRA’s First Amendment rights. (Photo: Gov. Cuomo Facebook)

It’s a strange time in American politics.

Just weeks after the historically anti-gun Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of open carry, the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief last week backing the National Rifle Association in their lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Although public officials are free to express their opinions and may condemn viewpoints or groups they view as inimical to public welfare, they cannot abuse their regulatory authority to retaliate against disfavored advocacy organizations and to impose burdens on those organizations’ ability to conduct lawful business,” the brief says.

Gov. Cuomo has made targeting the NRA a central plank in his campaign for governor, and, as GunsAmerica has reported, he’s weaponized New York’s regulatory agencies to dry up the NRA’s financial services in the state.

As the ACLU outlines in its brief, in April of this year Gov. Cuomo and Superintendent Maria Vullo issued a press release directing insurance companies and banks to “review” their relationships with the NRA and other “similar organizations” due to potential a “reputational risk.” In the weeks that followed, insurance agencies began terminating their relationships with the NRA, and the pro-gun organization sued Gov. Cuomo on First Amendment grounds.

The ACLU reviewed the facts of the case and concluded that the state’s motion to dismiss the NRA’s suit should be denied.

“Because the NRA has plausibly alleged that Defendants threatened adverse action against banks and insurers associated with the NRA, and that Defendants’ actions were motivated by hostility to the NRA’s political advocacy, the Motion to Dismiss should be denied,” the brief said.

David Cole, the ACLU’s legal director, followed up the brief with a blog post, warning that if liberals allow anti-gun governors to weaponize regulatory agencies, conservative governors might be able to do the same.

“If Cuomo can do this to the NRA, then conservative governors could have their financial regulators threaten banks and financial institutions that do business with any other group whose political views the governor opposes,” he said. “The First Amendment bars state officials from using their regulatory power to penalize groups merely because they promote disapproved ideas.”

For his part, Gov. Cuomo isn’t doing himself any favors if his legal team tries to argue against illegal bias. The governor hasn’t been shy about riding the post-Parkland anti-gun wave back to Albany, calling the NRA an “extremist organization” on Twitter.

He also claimed on Facebook that “the regulations NY put in place are working. We’re forcing the NRA into financial jeopardy. We won’t stop until we shut them down.”

While the ACLU denies the individual right to keep and bear arms, this isn’t the first time the traditionally anti-gun civil rights organization has stuck up (tangentially, at least) for gun owners. Earlier this year Vermont Governor Phil Scott came under fire from the state’s ACLU chapter for blocking Facebook comments critical of his anti-gun stances.

“We have been contacted by multiple Vermonters whose posts have been deleted and who have been blocked from your page in recent weeks, apparently because they were critical of your support for gun control legislation,” Jay Diaz, an ACLU of Vermont Staff Attorney, said at the time. “As a growing number of federal courts have recognized, these practices are unconstitutional.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Jay September 2, 2018, 10:35 am

    I’ve said it before and ill say it again, “Any person out there want to inform us all which law has stopped any criminal from committing a criminal act?”

  • Luke September 1, 2018, 9:02 pm

    Would someone kindly post a list of those banks and insurance companies that complied with this jackass? I couldn’t find anything about it. Thanks.

  • Richard September 1, 2018, 4:30 pm

    The ACLU is at least consistent in their views on the Constitution and the legal status of government intervention in the lives of American citizens. They do not support the view that the 2nd Amendment gives gun rights to individuals as opposed to militia, however, as shown in this case they oppose the manipulation of governmental powers by Gov. Cuomo to put forth a personal agenda for which there is no Constitutional basis for that action. They have supported the minority rights of many individuals who have views which are not popular, but who have Constitutional protection for those views.

  • Greg September 1, 2018, 4:24 pm

    Cuomo said America never was GREAT, then he says that pro-gun people are delusional, even though we’re not the ones claiming that all kinds of new laws would have stopped gun violence.

  • FirstStateMark August 31, 2018, 9:40 pm

    For a governor to say “America was never that great” , this Cuomo dick head is a fucking scumbag.

    • Andrew Ling September 8, 2018, 6:54 am

      Cuomo should return to where is ancestors came from to the USA.
      There is no greater nation on this Earth than the USA. It is still the GREATEST.
      I can not believe this Cuomo is still thinking he is the greatest! What an idiotic man.
      I am alway leary of visiting NY State and NYC. It may as well be POLICE STATE,
      run by the Cuomo Family.

  • GradyPhilpott August 31, 2018, 12:25 pm

    The very fact that the ACLU doesn’t acknowledge the individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment shows the “beam on their eye relative to the Constitution.

    Their stance in this case has nothing at all to do with the Second Amendment.

    Nonetheless, it’s good to see that their bias doesn’t affect their willingness to stand with the NRA.

  • John Stanton August 31, 2018, 12:21 pm

    Damn right Gov! Put the NRA out of business and illegal gun sales and usage will go away. Wait, sounds like the old saw: All dogs have four legs, a table has four legs, therefore a dog is a table.

  • Luis Bonilla August 31, 2018, 11:23 am

    Those the governor want to compensate the insurance companies loss of revenue , with state tax dollars .

    Do the residents of NY state agree to having their insurance rates go up .

    Banks will have to make changes to makeup for loss of revenue .

    This man Gov. A. Cuomo is a jackass

  • RGE August 31, 2018, 11:01 am

    Well maybe some pro-gun governors can direct their regulatory agencies to start culling Anti-Fa organizations, leftist organizations, and the like and get them booted out of bank accounts and insurance policies. Then let’s see how it feels to them? I don’t know. But I can tell you a lot of screaming lefties will scream louder when they find they can’t buy insurance or even cash a check.

  • Al August 31, 2018, 11:00 am

    LOL! yep. And, I’m sure if you’re REAL quiet, you’ll see a unicorn!

  • Brysant L Metler August 31, 2018, 9:58 am

    Gov. Cuomo is a disgrace to his father and his family. I respected his father, but his sons are way off left!

    • Hondo September 8, 2018, 2:49 pm

      Are you serious ? Mario the Pius was a huge piece of dog excrement in fact that entire family should be deported or hung for treasonist behavior.

  • Marty Ashland August 31, 2018, 8:24 am

    Now there’s a perfect example of the chickens backing the fox.

  • Joe August 31, 2018, 6:44 am

    The stinking ACLU isn’t the friend of the NRA or anything conservative or Constitutional. Tell the stinking ACLU to take a hike !!!

    • bison1913 August 31, 2018, 7:34 am

      Joe… Did you not read the article, shut your trap if you don’t know what you are talking about. First read then open your blow-hole. The ACLU was defending the NRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SuperG August 28, 2018, 11:14 am

    OMG. The ACLU agreeing with the NRA? I’m stunned. Now I’m going to get a beer and sit out on my lawn, as I just know I’ll see pigs flying.

    • Al August 31, 2018, 12:11 pm

      If you’re quiet enough, perhaps a unicorn! 🙂

  • jimboecv August 28, 2018, 2:48 am

    That.
    Is.
    A.
    First.

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