Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Supreme Court Accepts NRA First Amendment Case – A “Historic Step Forward” for the NRA and Free Speech

Friday, November 3, 2023

Supreme Court Accepts NRA First Amendment Case – A “Historic Step Forward” for the NRA and Free Speech

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) commented today on the United States Supreme Court accepting National Rifle Association of America v. Maria T. Vullo for review. The decision is a landmark development in one of the most closely watched First Amendment cases in the nation.

“This is a historic step forward for free speech, the NRA’s millions of members, and for all who believe in freedom,” says NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA’s fight for justice continues – this time in the highest court in the land. 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.”

In a May 2018 lawsuit, the NRA alleged that Vullo, at the behest of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, took aim at the NRA and conspired to use the regulatory power of the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) to “financially blacklist” the NRA – coercing banks and insurers to cut ties with the Association to suppress its pro-Second Amendment speech. The NRA argues that Vullo’s actions were meant to silence the NRA – using “guidance letters,” backroom threats, and other measures to cause financial institutions to “drop” the Association.

The NRA's First Amendment claims withstood multiple motions to dismiss. But in 2022, after Vullo appealed the trial court’s ruling, the Second Circuit struck down the NRA’s claims. The court ruled that in an era of “enhanced corporate social responsibility,” it was reasonable for New York's financial regulator to warn banks and insurance companies against servicing pro-gun groups based on the supposed “social backlash” against those groups’ advocacy. The court also ruled that Vullo’s guidance – written on her official letterhead and invoking her regulatory powers – was not a directive to the institutions she regulated, but rather a mere expression of her political preferences.

On February 7, 2023, the NRA petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Second Circuit decision.

The Court granted review on the following question: Does the First Amendment allow a government regulator to threaten regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, as a consequence of (a) the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint or (b) a perceived “general backlash” against the speaker’s advocacy?

“The Second Circuit’s opinion…gives state officials free rein to financially blacklist their political opponents – from gun rights groups, to abortion-rights groups, to environmentalist groups, and beyond,” the NRA states in its petition. The Association argues that the Second Circuit erroneously opened the door to unrestrained harassment of advocacy groups by state officials, and seeks to have it closed.

“We are grateful the Supreme Court will review this First Amendment case and excited by the opportunity to argue to the Court that a government regulator cannot take adverse action against its political enemies,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The ruling from the Second Circuit condones public officials having unbridled power to attack those with whom they disagree.”

Seven amicus briefs representing 40 individuals and organizations were filed in support of the NRA.

The amicus briefs include those from state attorney generals from Montana and 17 other states, in addition to a brief filed jointly by Texas and Indiana. Various business and legal scholars, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and the Gun Owners of America, among others, also submitted briefs.

The NRA observes this is not the first time state officials have leveraged their regulatory power to suppress a disfavored civil rights organization or choke off disfavored speech. The NRA's petition to the Court emphasizes a long line of First Amendment cases – from seminal decisions involving the NAACP, to the Supreme Court's storied Bantam Books decision – that forbid such tactics.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has voiced its support for the NRA.

In August 2018, ACLU Legal Director David Cole wrote that, “…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.” The ACLU wrote that dismissing the NRA’s case “would set a dangerous precedent for advocacy groups across the political spectrum. Public officials would have a readymade playbook for abusing their regulatory power to harm disfavored advocacy groups without triggering judicial scrutiny.”

Eugene Volokh joins Brewer in representing the NRA, along with Brewer Partner Sarah B. Rogers and firm counsel Noah Peters.

For more information on the case, visit www.nralegalfacts.org.

TRENDING NOW
Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Ontario Latest Province to Snub Trudeau’s Gun Grab – “Ontario Should Not Be Spending Taxpayers’ Money Towards the Program”

News  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ontario Latest Province to Snub Trudeau’s Gun Grab – “Ontario Should Not Be Spending Taxpayers’ Money Towards the Program”

The wheels are coming off the mandatory “assault weapon” gun ban and confiscation scheme that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched four years ago.

Hawaii Justices “Declare War” on U.S. Supreme Court, to the Cheers of Anti-Gun Media

News  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Hawaii Justices “Declare War” on U.S. Supreme Court, to the Cheers of Anti-Gun Media

In Hawaii, a man who was peacefully carrying a pistol for his own self-protection while on a nature hike was arrested and subject to felony prosecution under state laws that generally confine the possession of ...

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Colorado: Semi-Auto Ban Introduced in General Assembly

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Colorado: Semi-Auto Ban Introduced in General Assembly

Anti-Gun extremist State Reps. Tim Hernandez (D-04) and Elisabeth Epps (D-06) introduced House Bill 24-1292, a bill banning the manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell, or transferring ownership of so called “assault weapons”. 

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Last week, South Carolina moved one step closer to becoming the 28th state to enact Permitless/Constitutional Carry! This effort has been years in the making, clearing a major hurdle by passing the Senate, which has been ...

Virginia: Mandatory Waiting Period and Other Anti-Gun Bills Headed to the Governor's Desk

Friday, February 23, 2024

Virginia: Mandatory Waiting Period and Other Anti-Gun Bills Headed to the Governor's Desk

Contact Governor Youngkin today and urge his veto!  Anti-gun extremists in the Virginia General Assembly have made diminishing your Second Amendment Rights a top priority this legislative session. This week a slew of gun control ...

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Monday, February 26, at 10:00 AM, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee will hear Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation. SB 1 was passed by the Senate earlier this week with overwhelming support. Please contact committee members ...

2024 SESSION OF THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE COMES TO AN END

Thursday, February 15, 2024

2024 SESSION OF THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE COMES TO AN END

The New Mexico Legislature concluded its 30-day session on Thursday at noon.  Gun control dominated the discussion during what was supposed to be a "budget session". NRA-ILA was at the Roundhouse every single day, fighting extremist gun ...

New Hampshire: House Advances Critical Gun Owner Privacy Legislation

Friday, February 23, 2024

New Hampshire: House Advances Critical Gun Owner Privacy Legislation

On Thursday, February 22nd, the New Hampshire House of Representatives held floor votes on gun related bills.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.