NRA Claims Democrats Are Trying To Kill Its Free Speech

Gun Rights

The Supreme Court is to decide a dispute between the National Rifle Association and New York State amid growing tension between the NRA and Democrat-controlled states across the country.

In National Rifle Association v. Vullo, the Supreme Court will consider whether New York had the right to urge companies to cut their NRA ties in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting in Florida that killed 17 students and staff.

Maria Vullo, then-head of New York’s Department of Financial Services, urged banks and insurance companies that did business in New York to consider the “reputational risks” from doing business with gun-rights groups like the NRA.

The NRA went to federal court, where it argued, among other things, that Vullo had violated its rights to freedom of speech by threatening the banks and insurance companies that had worked with the NRA so that they would end their relationships with the group.

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Andrew Cuomo signs a bill and declares a state of emergency because of ongoing violence in New York City on July 6, 2021. The Supreme Court is to hear a National Rifle Association challenge to his statements after the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida.
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In a filing in the case, Vullo’s lawyers say that, two months after the Parkland shooting, then-New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, issued a press release noting that he had directed New York State’s Department of Financial Services “to urge insurance companies, New York State chartered banks, and other financial services companies licensed in New York to review any relationships they may have with the National Rifle Association and other similar organizations.”

The NRA said that this was part of the New York governor’s attempt to silence it by destroying its financial relationships.

The Supreme Court agreed on November 3 to hear the case, based on the question of whether New York State had immunity to say what it wants about the NRA and its financial relationships, without fear of an NRA lawsuit.

It’s just the latest spat in the standoff between the NRA and Democrat states that want to limit the gun lobby.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told Newsweek that the Vullo case is “a historic step forward for free speech, the NRA’s millions of members, and for all who believe in freedom.”

“At a time when free speech is under attack as never before, it is important that government officials be sent a message that they cannot use intimidation tactics to silence those with whom they disagree,” he said.

Newsweek sought email comment on Monday from New York governor, Kathy Hochul.

This is the second Supreme Court battle this year between the gun lobby and New York’s Democratic government.

In June, the Supreme Court struck down a New York state law that requires gun owners to show “proper cause” to carry a concealed handgun in public.

In that case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen, the justices voted 6-3 along liberal/conservative lines.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, noted that the constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.”

At the time, President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” and said the ruling “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution.”

In October, Democrats won a major victory when a federal judge allowed a gun ban in Albuquerque parks and playgrounds.

It followed outrage in the city over the fatal killings of several children.

U.S. District Judge David Urias rejected arguments that gun-free “sensitive” places refer only to locations where government functions are performed, such as polling places, and not playgrounds and parks.

He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has already recognized schools as sensitive places and said it was natural to extend this to playgrounds. His ruling suggests that the restrictions might be applied to more places where children congregate.

The ban was put in place through a public health order issued by New Mexico Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. During a heated public debate, state Republicans had called for her impeachment.

It follows the death of Froylan Villegas, 11, who was killed near a minor league baseball park on September 6 in what Albuquerque’s police chief described as a case of mistaken identity.

Two days later, Lujan Grisham cited the killing of Villegas and the shooting deaths of a 5-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl earlier this summer in imposing the restrictions in Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque.

Judge Urias said it appears “plausible, although not certain” that, as legal arguments continue in the case, Lujan Grisham may “demonstrate a national historical tradition of firearm restrictions at public parks within cities.” His wording suggests that federal courts may come to accept gun bans in city parks throughout the country.

Jennifer Briemann, NRA Deputy Executive Director, told Newsweek that the organization is now appealing the case.

“We are excited to present our case before the New Mexico Supreme Court on January 8, 2024. Our team is fully prepared and eager to take this battle all the way, reinforcing our commitment to protect the constitutional freedoms of New Mexicans and all law-abiding Americans,” she said.

On Monday, Newsweek emailed Governor Lujan Grisham for comment.

New York University constitutional law professor, Peter Shane, told Newsweek that repeal of the second amendment seems unlikely but a rewording to clarify its meaning would be popular.

“An amendment requires a vote of 2/3 of both Houses of Congress and ratification by 3/4 of the states, i.e., 37 [states]. I cannot imagine outright repeal. But an amendment clarifying the range of permissible reasonable regulation would have a lot of popular support. Of course, translating even huge majority support into congressional votes can prove absurdly difficult, but might be worth the effort to try,” he said.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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