Butler: Cuomo, Department Of Financial Services Use Bullying To Pit Private Business Against Law-Abiding Gun Owners

April 25, 2018

Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I,Ref-New York) is stunned by Gov. Cuomo’s complete overreach in essentially severing ties with organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA), which work to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued a memorandum indicating that all New York State-chartered banks and financial institutions should “manage their risks…in dealing with organizations such as the NRA.” The governor then issued a press release stating such continued relationships “jeopardize public safety.”

Butler believes these tactics to be of a nature that is bullying and threatening to these businesses, since DFS is responsible for charters and has authority over such institutions.

“It is unbelievable that the governor and the Department of Financial Services would make such an outlandish and inappropriate move in issuing memoranda recommending banks and other such institutions sever ties with organizations like the NRA, which represent numerous law-abiding gun owners, especially here in upstate New York,” said Butler. “For a district such as mine, a move such as this is a complete insult to the many men and women of all political backgrounds who chose to lawfully own a firearm, as it is their Second Amendment right. When the governor and a business-regulatory agency make such statements, one must question if banks and other financial businesses that do not comply will cause the state to shun or blacklist these businesses. I call on the governor to retract this immediately.”

Butler said that a governmental entity making such determinations sets a terrible precedence. The memorandum issued by Maria T. Vullo, the Superintendent of Financial Service, included the following:

“In light of the above, and subject to compliance with applicable laws, the Department encourages its chartered and licensed financial institutions to continue evaluating and managing their risks, including reputational risks, that may arise from their dealings with the NRA or similar gun promotion organizations, as well as continued assessment of compliance with their own codes of social responsibility.”

Butler had indicated such incendiary statements are out of line. Such language implies that the superintendent and the governor are essentially taking the position that it is these institutions’ duty to sever ties with organizations which support law-abiding gun owners.

Editor’s Note: The memoranda issued by the Department of Financial Services is attached.