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New York Charges NRA for Allegedly Deceiving Members, Illegal Insurance Sales

February 5, 2020

WASHINGTON –– Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (“Everytown”) released the following statements today after the NRA was charged by New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) with acting as an unlicensed insurance provider and deceiving its members with misleading marketing practices. 

“Carry Guard encouraged policy holders to adopt a wild-west mentality of shoot first and ask questions later, putting lives at risk and providing a false sense of legal and financial immunity,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Through Carry Guard, the NRA was breaking the law, deceiving its members, and funding lavish salaries and extraordinary perks for executives––all at the same time. NYSDFS did the right thing by stepping in to hold these so-called leaders accountable.”

“According to these charges, since 2000 the NRA has been deceptively marketing insurance without a license, in violation of NY state law,” said Eric Tirschwell, Everytown’s managing director for litigation and national enforcement policy. “The NRA’s Carry Guard insurance in particular was used to promote a dangerous shoot first ask questions later mentality, which is why we investigated and brought these legal concerns to the attention of NYDFS and other state regulators.” 

These civil charges, first reported by Reuters, follow years of investigations into the NRA’s insurance program. In 2017, DFS began investigating the NRA after Everytown conducted and shared an investigation into the NRA’s Carry Guard program, which promised to provide insurance coverage for legal and other costs for gun owners who shoot someone and claim self-defense. 

  • Everytown’s 2017 investigation found the following: “[i]t is… possible the NRA is improperly receiving commissions and/or excessive compensation in connection with this insurance product. For a one-year Bronze policy, the total annual charge is $154.95, with an ‘Administrative/Membership Fee’ that goes to the NRA of $69.45, or about 45 percent of the total annual charge. While that fee includes an annual NRA membership and some other minor perks, questions remain about whether the NRA is receiving an improper commission or excessive compensation.” 
  • Today’s DFS complaint mirrors that conclusion: “Despite representing to its members that the NRA insurance programs were negotiated in order to obtain coverage “at the lowest possible cost” to its members, it is clear that the NRA members could have negotiated less expensive coverage for its members but for the fact that a substantial portion of the premiums paid by NRA members — sometimes exceeding 20% — was being paid to the NRA in the form of royalties. Marketing materials relating to NRA-endorsed insurance programs wholly failed to disclose that the NRA was receiving royalties based on the amounts paid by its members.”

A hearing for the case against the NRA has been scheduled for April 6.

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