The Case Concerns The Ability Of Government Regulators To Speak Out On Matters Of Public Concern Even When Regulated Entities Espouse Controversial Views.

Washington, D.C., February 28, 2024 – The nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, has filed an amicus brief in NRA v. Vullo. The case will soon be heard by the Supreme Court and will determine significant issues about government regulators’ ability to speak out on matters of public concern. The case also may implicate the obligation of financial institutions to consider and manage the “reputational risk” of doing business with the NRA or the gun industry. The NRA claims that the State of New York coerced banks and insurers into severing ties with the organization that promotes an extremist view of the Second Amendment. Brady’s amicus brief explains that the guidance from the State was not coercive but, instead, stated the truism that businesses must consider and manage “reputational risk” as part of their conventional, ongoing operations. In addition, around the time that various New York banks and insurers severed ties with the NRA, a wave of mass shootings across the country led to a nationwide, grass-roots campaign calling on businesses to cease working with the NRA, resulting in legitimate decisions by dozens of businesses across the country to discontinue those commercial relations.

Douglas Letter, Chief Legal Officer of Brady, said:

“The State of New York did nothing wrong by offering guidance to protect the viability of the institutions it is supposed to protect. This is not new. Regulators have long required financial institutions to manage reputational risk effectively. Reputational risk is an important business consideration, and the NRA’s failed responses to mass shootings and the worsening gun violence epidemic do little to convince businesses that its reputation could not cause their downfall.
“The NRA was just found liable for egregious financial mismanagement. There is truth to why the state warned insurers and banks about these risks. The financial ruin the organization is facing has nothing to do with Vullo’s guidance and everything to do with its own practices.”

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