By Sean Jackson
Last week on September 3rd the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco unanimously voted to denounce the National Rifle Association which came in the form of the local government denouncing the gun rights lobby as a ‘domestic terrorist organization’. The designation from the San Francisco city officials comes following a mass shooting in nearby Gilroy when a 19-year-old suspect killed three in a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
The resolution created by the Board of Supervisors declares, “The National Rifle Association is a domestic terrorist organization whose advocacy is a direct cause of arming ‘individuals who would have committed acts of terrorism.”
The resolution further states that San Francisco should “take every reasonable step” in limiting interaction with NRA backed vendors and contractors and is “urging other cities, states, and the federal government to do the same.”
The NRA has offered a statement calling the designation “obviously unconstitutional,” and has responded with a lawsuit against the city Board of Supervisors. The association suggests that the city is targeting gun vendors and contractors in a clear violation to their right to free speech.
Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, told the Washington Post, “This lawsuit comes with a message that those who attack the NRA: we will never stop fighting for our law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms.”
In response the impending lawsuit the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office suggested that the NRA’s focus is misaligned, suggesting they should use their power to help with the reduction of gun violence. John Coté, a spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office stated, “The American people would be better served if the NRA stopped trying to get weapons of war into our communities and instead actually did something about gun safety. Common-sense safety measures like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and restricting high-capacity magazines would be a good start.”
The NRA has spoken out about the terrorist label, calling it a “frivolous insult” in their lawsuit, instead opting to side with vendors and contractors who may be impacted by the designation. The lawsuit states, “San Francisco’s actions pose a nonfrivolous threat. Defendants are intent on targeting the NRA for its advocacy, chilling the NRA’s and its members’ rights of free speech and association under the First Amendment, all with an eye to silence the NRA from the debate on Second Amendment rights.”
While the resolution has not fully taken effect yet, and must still be signed by the Mayor of San Francisco London Breed. Without a veto or signature from the Mayor the resolution will be passed within ten days of the initial presentation. The strongly worded resolution goes on to say, “All countries have violent and hateful people, but only in America do we give them ready access to assault weapons and large-capacity magazines thanks, in large part, to the National Rifle Association’s influence.”
The NRA’s attorney William A. Brewer III issued a statement highlighting the tumultuous battle between gun rights advocacy groups, and gun control advocacy groups, stating, “This action is an assault on all advocacy organizations across the country. There can be no place in our society for this manner of behavior by government officials. Fortunately, the NRA, like all U.S. citizens, is protected by the First Amendment.”