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ACLU sides with NRA in New York Lawsuit - sm

Posted: Sep 13th, 2018 - 9:54 am

Several New York politicians, particularly Governor Cuomo and Maria T. Vullo, have verbally attacked the National Rifle Association (NRA), written letters to state regulatory agencies, industries regulated by New York State, and advised the industries to evaluate whether they should keep the NRA as a customer.

The NRA has filed a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds. The issue is whether the state government can single out a particular entity it politically disagrees with, and use its regulatory power against that entity.

Such use would effectively silence political foes, nullifying First Amendment protections. The New Republic, a leftist publication, noted the import of Governor Cuomo's words. From newrepublic.com:

The statements don’t actually direct any businesses to cut off ties with the NRA. At most, they are phrased as sternly worded advisory notices. But such words from a state financial regulator are hard to ignore, especially when the governor is backing them up explicitly. “The NRA is an extremist organization,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter the following day. “I urge companies in New York State to revisit any ties they have to the NRA and consider their reputations, and responsibility to the public.”

It’s a nice business you’ve got there, the governor seemed to be saying to Wall Street. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it. In May, a few weeks after DFS sent the notices, state regulators announced consent orders against Lockton Companies and Chubb Group Holdings related to the Carry Guard program; both companies were barred from working with the organization in the future. According to the NRA, the one-two punch of the advisory notice and the consent orders sent a chilling effect throughout its business relationships.

The American Civil Liberties Union has traditionally been hostile to the Second Amendment. Its official position is that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right.

In striking down Washington D.C.'s handgun ban by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court's decision in D.C. v. Heller held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms, whether or not associated with a state militia. The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court's conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment.

The attack on the NRA by the New York government is so outrageous, such a direct assault on the First Amendment rights of all Americans, the ACLU felt compelled to issue an Amicus Curiae brief in favor of the NRA lawsuit. The ACLU's brief states the lawsuit should proceed, that it should not be immediately dismissed. From the brief:

Because the NRA has plausibly alleged that Defendants' actions were motivated by hostility to the NRA's political advocacy, the Motion to Dismiss should be denied.

The ACLU has tremendous experience in defending the First Amendment in the United States. Numerous cases are referenced in their brief to precedents in First Amendment law. Recently, internal memos have left people wondering if the ACLU's commitment to First Amendment rights might be waning.

Second Amendment supporters have often noted their pointed unwillingness to defend the Second Amendment. They will be glad to receive this assist on protection of Second Amendment rights. The argument has often been made that the First and Second amendments compliment and support each other.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

LINK/URL: ACLU sides with NRA in New York Lawsuit


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