Yes, you read that correctly. The NRA, famous for its defense of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, is now fighting one of the biggest legal battles ever to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights. The NRA’s Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre explains the legal battle, writing:
Several years ago, the anti-Second Amendment groups and their allies were reeling after another historic defeat at the hands of NRA members—namely, Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election. After many decades of trying, and failing, to destroy our Second Amendment rights at the ballot box, in the courts and in state legislatures and Congress, Clinton’s loss was, in many ways, the last straw.
Not long after, Andrew Cuomo, then-governor of New York, where the NRA is incorporated, unveiled a nuclear option to, in his own words, “put the NRA out of business.”
You and I have seen how the power of government is weaponized in other countries to stamp out opposing views and silence political opponents. But never in my life did I think we’d see such tactics openly and brazenly deployed by government officials, right here in the United States, to destroy the people and organizations they disagree with.
Maria Vullo, Cuomo’s head of the New York Department of Financial Services, which is the most powerful regulatory institution in the world outside of the federal government, sent a chilling message to every bank and insurance company in America. She threatened them, saying that if they did business with the NRA, they could suffer “reputational risks.” It was like something out of a mobster movie—i.e., “Nice bank you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.”
Cuomo and Vullo knew that without a bank account or insurance, NRA couldn’t remain in operation. We couldn’t write checks. We couldn’t accept membership dues or contributions. In short, our very existence would be in serious jeopardy. And because the very touchstone of operating a bank or insurance company is mitigating risk, that threat was clearly understood by each of them. The choice they had to make was that if they did business with the NRA, they faced the risk of being run out of business by New York’s army of state regulators. As a direct result, some banks and insurance companies dropped the NRA.
I’m proud to say that NRA members fought back and survived this attack.
However, our First Amendment lawsuit against Vullo and her unconstitutional weaponization of government power was—after being sustained in the trial court—dismissed by an appellate court in New York. But we kept fighting, and now the highest court in the land has decided our suit is important and rises to a level that impacts the sanctity of freedom in our nation.
In fact, there’s no question in my mind that this is the most important First Amendment legal case of our lifetimes—to decide whether government officials in America have the right to silence and shut down organizations that have opposing political views.
And it’s by far the most important Second Amendment case in the history of the United States of America. Because without the NRA—without our ability to assemble, associate freely, speak freely, and amplify the voices of our millions of members and the tens of millions more who believe in our cause—no one in this country would be allowed to keep their guns except government officials and criminals.
Moreover, the outcome of this single Supreme Court case will have far-reaching implications for every citizen, advocacy group, company and political institution in America. For that reason, it’s not hard to understand why seven amicus briefs representing 40 individuals, organizations and 20 state attorneys general were filed in support of NRA.
Or why organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union are squarely on our side.
As David Cole, ACLU’s legal director, wrote: “… they [New York public officials] cannot use their regulatory authority to penalize advocacy groups by threatening companies that do business with those groups. And here the state has admitted, in its own words, that it focused on the NRA and other groups not because of any illegal conduct, but because they engage in ‘gun promotion’—in other words, because they advocate a lawful activity.”
I could not be prouder that, once again, you, me and our fellow NRA members are the front lines of an epic battle that will profoundly determine the course of freedom in America, not only for today and tomorrow, but for as long as the stars and stripes fly high over our blessed nation.
Action Line: Every Constitutionally protected right should be bolstered by politicians, not attacked by them. Support the Second Amendment by getting your gun and your training now. And support the First Amendment by clicking here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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