Short Take: The Regulators’ Kill Shot

Gov. Andy Cuomo made it abundantly clear that any regulated financial and insurance industry that wanted to function in New York, which is code for Wall Street, would do well to flex its muscle by snubbing the National Rifle Association.

This is about as uncontroversial as an unprincipled dictate could be in New York City, where guns are neither loved nor appreciated by most voters. It’s not a gun haven, and most New Yorkers have a serious hate on guns.

But financial and insurance institutions care nothing about guns. They care about money, and they are regulated up the ying yang. And regulators can make their ability to function, to avoid administrative demands, monstrous delays in approvals, hearings, litigation, fines, a nightmare. In the scheme of making money, the NRA is just one player, and while not an insignificant player, not a big enough player to go to the mattresses over. And so Andy’s gambit played out as intended.

In the new document — an amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court in late July — the NRA says it cannot access financial services essential to its operations and is facing “irrecoverable loss and irreparable harm.”

Specifically, the NRA warns that it has lost insurance coverage — endangering day-to-day operations. “Insurance coverage is necessary for the NRA to continue its existence,” the complaint reads. Without general liability coverage, it adds, the “NRA cannot maintain its physical premises, convene off-site meetings and events, operate educational programs … or hold rallies, conventions and assemblies.”

Some will shrug, because it’s the NRA. Others will applaud for the same reason. After all, if you hate guns, or if you hate the NRA for its hypocritical defense of the Second Amendment or its outrageously disingenuous attempts to shift blame for gun violence away from reality into its fantasyland, why get hot and bothered over the NRA? They suck, right?

Except this requires one to believe that if a state governor can destroy an advocacy group because he hates its message, or worse yet, because he figures he can get votes by pandering to his constituency, he’s demonstrated that a government official can destroy an advocacy group based on its beliefs and get away with it. And because you don’t care for this group now, you don’t see any problem with his doing so.

If the NRA folded because, like the ABA, its members fled and its continued existence was no longer desired, I wouldn’t shed a tear. But that Andy Cuomo told his regulators, and the financial and insurance industries necessary for its continued existence, to kill it is wrong and outrageous.

And lest anyone suppose that Andy isn’t in the pockets of the cops, prosecutors and teachers’ unions, and couldn’t be pushed to destroy other groups whose missions make them feel unsafe, you haven’t been paying attention. Now that he’s facing a primary from an unqualified lesbian, there are no limits to how he might flex his muscle to pander to his campaign supporters.

It may be true that not every governor could pull off what Andy is doing here. Wall Street doesn’t run through their state, and they don’t house the financial and insurance capitals of the world. They don’t preside over the regulatory machinery that Andy does. Their states may not share New Yorkers’ aversion to guns.

But then, does the rest of America want Andy Cuomo to hold such power as to make it impossible for the NRA to exist? Will they feel the same way when he picks his next target to destroy? Now that he knows his regulatory apparatus can deliver a kill shot, he need only whisper where to aim. Does anyone really want a governor to possess that much power and that little principle?

17 thoughts on “Short Take: The Regulators’ Kill Shot

  1. Jeff Blevins

    What was that, Andy? I can’t hear you over the sound of my CNC milling a lower AR receiver.

    I support the NRA, but from a second amendment perspective, they’ve not been leading the way for a very long time. That honor goes to the Second Amendment Foundation. I’d be interested in knowing if any of this fallout has hit them.

    1. SHG Post author

      See how this was a post about the NRA? See how this wasn’t a post about the Second Amendment Foundation? See what you did there? See why it makes me very sad to have to send you to reddit? See?!?

      1. Jeff Blevins

        Yeah, I get it. But Cuomo is not just going after the NRA. While the DFS memorandum specifically calls out the NRA, they also include any “…similar organizations that promote guns that lead to senseless violence”.

        That could be all of them. Depending on your perspective.

        1. SHG Post author

          Listen. Do you hear it? Do you? It’s the dulcet tones of reddit, seductively calling to you. “Come to me, my darling. I will give you the love that mean old curmudgeon won’t.”

  2. Troutwaxer

    In principle you’re very correct, but my extreme dislike of the Russia-influenced, foreign-money-laundering gun nuts for Jebus is causing me to not care about your very intelligent and thoughtful point. In short, you’re certainly correct, but f–k the NRA.

    1. SHG Post author

      That’s always how mind-numbingly stupid ideas overcome principled policy, because there are more people who hate the initial target enough, and are so utterly unprincipled, that they just don’t give a damn. Later, when it happens to someone you don’t hate so much, you can’t begin to understand how something so awful could happen.

      1. Hunting Guy

        Robert Heinlein.

        “It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”

    2. DaveL

      Will you care when the Federal government decides to follow suit? After all, it controls quite an array of financial regulatory apparatus in its own right, and certainly its leaders are unencumbered by principle. Which organizations do you think might end up in its crosshairs?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    So the short form is that a state governor is trying to set national policy ”with a phone and a pen”. I hope he gets slapped into next week at trial, stripped of immunity, sued into pauperdom and convicted of a felony, to warn state officials to never try that again. This especially applies to state attorneys general who serve as the RIAA’s mercenaries in their war on Google.

  4. Kurt

    I’ll consider it fair and balanced if Andy also requires that businesses that want a seat at the Wall Street table to eschew support for Planned Parenthood and/or PBS/NPR, or even better, SPLC

    It’d still be wrong, though…


  5. tk

    Andy’s taking his cues from the top. Remember “Operation Choke Point?” It targeted undesirable businesses like payday lenders, gun shops and porn stars by freezing their assets — without warning or explanation. Voices on thhe left and right agreed that it was horrible, but it went on for years. Because, who’s going to stop it?

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