Aug 03, 2018
The National Rifle Association (NRA), America's largest gun lobbying organization, said in a recent court filing that it may soon "be unable to exist" in its current form due to crippling financial troubles, including an "inability to obtain insurance" and "other financial services essential to [its] corporate existence."
Obtained and published in full (pdf) by Rolling Stone on Friday, the NRA's court filing blames New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for its purported financial crisis, claiming the state's regulators have damaged the organization with "abuses" and a "blacklisting campaign" that has threatened its ability to function.
"The NRA's inability to obtain insurance in connection with media liability raises risks that are especially acute; if insurers remain afraid to transact with the NRA, there is a substantial risk that NRATV will be forced to cease operating," the court filing reads. In a further blow to its finances, the organization claims it "could be forced to cease circulation of various print publications and magazines."
As Rolling Stone notes, the NRA has been suing New York's financial regulators over the state's supposed "blacklisting" effort since May.
According to Rolling Stone:
The lawsuit presents these financial risks as catastrophic. Without access to routine banking services, the NRA claims, "it will be unable to exist as a not-for-profit or pursue its advocacy mission." The lawsuit accuses New York's government of seeking to "silence one of America's oldest constitutional rights advocates," pleading to the court: "If their abuses are not enjoined, they will soon, substantially, succeed."
The lawsuit stems from actions taken by New York financial regulators to halt the sale of an illegal, NRA-branded insurance policy. The NRA actively marketed "Carry Guard," a policy to reimburse members for legal costs incurred after firing a legal gun. In May, the state of New York found that Carry Guard "unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for certain acts of intentional wrongdoing." The NRA's insurance partners agreed to stop selling the policies and pay a $7 million fine.
Cautioning that the desperate tone of the NRA's plea to the court could be a fundraising tactic--a concern others raised on social media in response to Rolling Stone's reporting--Splinter's Katherine Krueger noted that "it's in the NRA's best interest to paint its financial outlook as dire in court--especially if it can claim that it's a result of aggression by anti-gun Democrats."
"Still, [this case] also provides a blueprint for how to snuff out the NRA once and for all: Money makes the thing go," Krueger argued. "If you make it untenable or deeply unpopular to associate with the NRA, the money spigot will slowly but surely be turned off."
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