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ACLU backs NRA's lawsuit against New York State

The American Civil Liberties Union is supporting the NRA in their lawsuit against New York State. 

"There are acceptable measures that the state can take to curb gun violence," said the ACLU in a statement. "But using its extensive financial regulatory authority to penalize advocacy groups because they “promote” guns isn’t one of them."

In May, the NRA filed a federal lawsuit against New York State.

The lawsuit said "back-channel communications" by the state "made it clear to banks and insurers that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA."

The NRA said multiple financial institutions have entered into consent orders that compel them to end business relationships with the NRA in New York as well as other states.

"The actions of defendants are a blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of our organization," William A. Brewer III, an attorney representing the NRA, said in a statement. 

The ACLU agrees with Brewer. 

"In the ACLU’s view, targeting a nonprofit advocacy group and seeking to deny it financial services because it promotes a lawful activity (the use of guns) violates the First Amendment," said the ACLU's Legal Director, David Cole, in a statement. 

The NRA's lawsuit seeks the court to have the Cuomo administration stop its practices against the association.

Cuomo said the state filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. "New York will not be intimidated by the NRA's frivolous lawsuit to advance its dangerous gun-peddling agenda," he said.

The ACLU said they are not against "reasonable" restrictions on guns. 

"Our position in this case has nothing to do with our opinions on the NRA’s policies — it’s about the First Amendment rights of all organizations to engage in political advocacy without fear that the state will use its regulatory authority to penalize them for doing so" said Cole in the statement. 

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