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NRA sues San Francisco over ‘domestic terrorist’ designation

NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center on February 22, 2018, in National Harbor, Md. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
September 10, 2019

The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Monday against San Francisco Board of Supervisors over its unanimous vote to designate the gun-rights group a “domestic terrorist organization.”

According to court documents, the NRA lawsuit primarily charges the city officials with violating the NRA’s free speech on political grounds, alleging, “The government cannot discriminate against citizens based on the viewpoint of their political speech.”

“This lawsuit comes with a message to those who attack the NRA,” NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a statement accompanying the lawsuit. “We will never stop fighting for our law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms.”

LaPierre said the lawsuit aimed to confront “illegal and discriminatory practices against our organization” and its 5 million reported members.

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The NRA lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, names the city and county of San Francisco as well as the San Francisco Board of Directors.

The resolution calling for the terrorist designation, introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani, implied the NRA played a part in a recent shooting attack in Gilroy, Calif., and has armed other criminal shooters by way of their advocacy for gun rights.

The resolution not only calls the gun-rights group of about 5 million members a “domestic terrorist organization,” but also calls on the city to review its contracts with vendors and businesses in San Francisco and limit or cut ties to any of those businesses that also have ties to the NRA.

The resolution also accuses the NRA’s leaders of promoting extremist positions and says the organization “spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence.”

“This resolution states outright that it targets the NRA’s political speech,” the NRA’s lawsuit further states.

Along with the terrorist designation against the NRA and calls to limit business interactions between the city and companies that have ties with the NRA, the resolution also calls on other cities, states and the federal government to impose similar designations against the gun-rights group.

The lawsuit points to similar measures introduced in other cities, which it says have caused banks to avoid providing bank accounts to members of blacklisted political organizations. As a result, the lawsuit argues that the action’s taken by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors “chill” people from engaging in protected speech and association that “mandates swift relief.”

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In a previous statement following the initial San Francisco decision, the NRA called the resolution “a reckless assault on a law-abiding organization, it’s members, and the freedoms they all stand for.”

The decision by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors comes amid other actions by banks and businesses to distance themselves from gun sales. Last week Walmart announced a decision to limit gun and ammo sales and stop gun owners from open carry in their stores.