Harold Hutchison / Aug. 13, 2018

Andrew Cuomo v NRA

His anti-NRA crusade shows that a tyrannical government is possible unless voters stand for Liberty.

The latest shots in Andrew Cuomo’s war against the National Rifle Association haven’t received much media coverage. But they should be something Americans follow because the Cuomo playbook, if allowed to succeed, will have devastating consequences for the country.

According to the latest filings from the NRA in its legal action against Cuomo over his weaponization of bank and insurance regulations against the nation’s oldest civil rights group, his blacklisting campaign would “deprive the NRA of basic bank-depository services, corporate insurance coverage, and other financial services essential to the NRA’s corporate existence and its advocacy mission.”

To put it bluntly, if the NRA is denied access to banking institutions or insurance coverage (whether for events like its Annual Meetings, health insurance for the employees, or even liability coverage), the NRA can’t effectively defend the Second Amendment. It may be unable to take in donations and membership dues, leaving it unable to pay the bills that result from the unfortunate need to defend the Second Amendment against people like Cuomo. That’s precisely the outcome Cuomo wants.

Cuomo, though, has been defiant in the face of the lawsuit, even though the head of the First Amendment Coalition noted the NRA’s claims are plausible. In recent media appearances, Cuomo has labeled the NRA an extremist group that has “caused carnage” though its opposition to gun-control laws. He called the NRA “the bad guys.” Here’s the problem with Cuomo’s argument — it’s just not true. The blame for shootings and violent crimes lies not with those who didn’t go along with Cuomo’s legislative agenda but with the perpetrators of the crimes.

The NRA’s actual non-culpability for those malicious shootings aside, the First Amendment protects the right of Americans to speak out against gun-control laws (or on any other issue), to assemble (and to create associations to magnify their voice), and to petition for redress of grievances (including to urge the passage or defeat of legislation). All of which the NRA has done on behalf of its five million members. The fact that many self-proclaimed defenders of the First Amendment are silent in the face of this is appalling.

In 2014, Cuomo was widely condemned when he declared that pro-life and Second Amendment advocates were among those “not welcome in New York.” Now, he’s acting on that animosity. It seems as if he realizes that he has largely lost the debate on Second Amendment issues, his SAFE Act notwithstanding. In 1999, Cuomo similarly came under fire for his attempts to use civil lawsuits to enact gun control rejected by Congress and state legislatures in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

Gun-control supporters are moving to silence supporters of the Second Amendment. They’re also carrying out a more ruthless version of Operation Choke Point, with banks demanding that companies discriminating against gun-makers or FFLs who don’t voluntarily relinquish the right to sell legal firearms or related products.

Cuomo isn’t the only one. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) says he has a list of sites or media outlets he wants banned. We assume there’s an element of “or else” to Murphy’s demand. They may succeed, and thus harm law-abiding citizens, but for Democrats, winning gun control through government abuse is likely to backfire.

Indeed, the silver lining in the cloud is that this pattern of abuse, combined with the IRS scandal and other government malfeasance, will only convince many more Americans that a tyrannical government is possible, especially if people like Cuomo and Murphy are in charge. Perhaps that will rally voters to stand for Liberty.

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