In this May 4, 2013, file photo, National Rifle Association members listen to speakers during the NRA's annual Meetings and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Credit: Johnny Hanson | Houston Chronicle via AP

A Casco man has sued the National Rifle Association and its marketing firm alleging they for years have used an automatic telephone dialing system to place illegal calls to consumers around the country, including people who’d put their phone numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry.

Travis McEwen claims in the complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland that in late 2018 he began receiving multiple calls from InfoCision Inc., a direct marketing firm, based in Ohio, working on a membership campaign for the NRA. McEvan received the calls even though he’d placed his number on the Do Not Call Registry. For months, he received multiple calls per week, and the calls continued even after he told them he did not want to purchase an NRA membership and did not want them to call him, the complaint says.

“My phone just kept ringing,” McEwen said in an announcement about the lawsuit. “I didn’t know how to get the NRA to stop calling me.”

He placed his number of the NRA’s do not call list and the calls stopped for time. But in late 2019, McEwen’s phone began ringing again with the same offer.

People across the country allegedly received similar calls. The lawsuit claims the NRA and InfoCision violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which made it illegal for telemarketers to place automated calls to consumers without their prior express written consent and to call consumers who had put their numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry.

“The [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] gives consumers the right to be left alone by telemarketers unless they get permission first,” McEwen’s attorney, Kim Stephens of Washington, said. “In its all-consuming desire to refill its coffers, the NRA has brazenly violated that right.”

Neither the NRA nor the marketing firm immediately returned requests for comment.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the NRA’s unlawful practice of making unsolicited telemarketing calls with an automatic telephone dialing system without consumers’ consent, stop the NRA’s unlawful practice of calling consumers who are on the National Do Not Call Registry and obtain damages for consumers who experienced these unwelcome calls, according to Stephens.

“We want to send a clear message that Travis and other Americans cannot be harassed by unwanted phone calls from the NRA or any telemarketer,” McEwen’s Maine attorney, David Webbert of Augusta, said.

The lawyers claim the NRA and its marketing firm have a history of “legal improprieties.” In 2018, InfoCision agreed to pay a fine to the Federal Trade Commission for engaging in deceptive telemarketing practices. The NRA recently announced that it is cutting staff and salaries as it continues to struggle financially following a wave of legal trouble, which has reportedly cost the organization more than $100 million.