New York Didn’t Just Attack Free Speech With NRA Assault

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(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Wayne LaPierre is out at the NRA.

For some, that’s cause for celebration and I’m not just talking about anti-gunners. A lot of pro-gun people weren’t thrilled with where the group has been headed for the last little while.

Anti-gunners seem to think that LaPierre’s exit signals the end of something on the pro-gun side of things. It does not.

Nor does it give New York some kind of pass with the shenanigan it tried to play with the NRA and the exercise of free speech.

Each year at the U.S. Supreme Court, an array of marquee cases tends to draw all of the attention. However, there are also sleepers among the pending cases that have significant importance. One such case involves a rare alliance between the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association.

NRA v. Vullo deals with the growing effort by government agencies to target the advertisers of conservative and dissenting websites to kill the funding for opposing views. While the case deals with this effort on the state level, it could produce a ruling on indirect efforts by government, including the Biden administration, to censor viewpoints.

In the case before the court, New York’s Department of Financial Services is accused of using increased regulatory scrutiny and possible penalties to coerce financial institutions into ending their support for certain black-listed groups. The NRA documented how former DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo appears to have pressured financial institutions to drop any association with the organization.

Specifically, the NRA contends that Vullo’s office pressured insurance companies not to cover the NRA or risk retaliation from the state. As the ACLU noted in its amicus brief opposing the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, the NRA might not be able to prove these allegations, but it should be given the opportunity to do so.

Author Jonathan Turley frames this as a free speech issue, and it is. He also correctly points out that this is far from the only example of government action attacking free speech.

But in this case, free speech was necessary but collateral damage. The goal was to undermine the NRA to such a degree that the leading voice for our right to keep and bear arms would be shattered.

Most gun control advocates seem to equate the NRA with the gun rights movement as a whole. I understand why, too. It’s just the largest and loudest group out there.

The reason New York targeted them like this, though, was because of a belief that without the NRA, gun control groups could run rampant through state legislatures and the halls of Congress. They could push through whatever they wanted without any real opposition.

But we’d be fools to think for a moment that this tactic wouldn’t be replicated with other civil liberty groups down the road. Anyone inconvenient to the government can and would find themselves targeted for similar treatment.

Which Turley notes has already happened.

What New York did wasn’t just to assault free speech in an attempt to strip our gun rights away in time. It was an all-out assault on every right anyone holds dear that may be an issue to the powers that be.

My sincere hope is that the Supreme Court handles this like they did with Bruen. This kind of thing should never happen again.

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