NRA Wants ‘Murder Insurance’ Fight With New York in Court

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(Bloomberg) -- The National Rifle Association says it wants a fight with New York state over the marketing of an insurance policy critics have dubbed “murder insurance” to take place in open court.

In a court filing on Friday, the gun-rights group asked a judge to halt an enforcement proceeding initiated by the New York Department of Financial Services, the state’s insurance regulator, on Feb. 5 and resolve the fight in court. The NRA said it wants to highlight the biased treatment it’s received in the state.

“The NRA has been treated more harshly and differently by DFS than other regulated entities -- singled out to weaken gun-rights advocacy in New York,” William Brewer, the NRA’s lawyer, said in a statement. “The NRA plans to defend itself and expose the motives of those involved in the attacks against the association and its members.”

According to DFS, the NRA acted as an unlicensed insurer in New York by marketing Carry Guard insurance to residents there in 2017. Carry Guard offers coverage for costs associated with the purposeful use of a firearm, including defending a possible criminal prosecution. DFS says such coverage is illegal in New York.

The NRA, which sued in 2018 over the DFS’s enforcement actions, claims it’s being targeted as part of a political vendetta by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has frequently criticized the organization. The NRA said it has “startling new evidence” backing its claim and showing that DFS pressured insurers to cut ties with the group.

“Today’s filing by the NRA is an attempt to distract and deflect from the serious allegations brought by DFS asserting that the NRA violated state law,” the regulator said in a statement. The department has repeatedly denied the NRA’s allegations and filed detailed evidence of NRA-branded insurance policies being offered in the state.

The DFS action that began in February goes beyond Carry Guard, which was sold to hundreds of New York residents. The NRA is also accused of illegally pitching many other insurance products to its members, including polices for firearms instructors, gun collectors, gun clubs, gun shows and federal firearms dealers, none of which were permitted under New York law.

Brewer, the NRA lawyer, said the NRA views the DFS proceeding as too private, although it will be open to the public.

“The proceedings are private, in the sense they are in a DFS controlled forum -- without the benefit of full discovery, rules of evidence, and an impartial judge or jury,” Brewer said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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