After being branded a “domestic terrorist organization” by San Francisco, the National Rifle Association was quick to bring matters to court.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, accuses city officials of violating the gun lobby’s free speech rights for political reasons and asserts that the city is trying to blacklist anyone affiliated with the NRA from trading there, according to a Fox News report.
The gun rights lobby pleaded with the court “to instruct elected officials that freedom of speech means you cannot silence or punish those with whom you disagree.”
Following the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting incident, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the resolution last week with Supervisor Catherine Stefani saying that she was moved to draft it.
The resolution alleges that the NRA uses its resources to “incite gun owners to acts of violence.” Federal law indeed prohibits speech that solicits the commission of a violent crime, though only on the grounds that the speaker acts “with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force,” according to the LA Times.
“This lawsuit comes with a message to those who attack the NRA: We will never stop fighting for our law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a statement.
But critics of the NRA were skeptical about the resolution, and LA Times senior editorial writer Michael McGough was no different, citing that it was largely an empty gesture and blatantly labelling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” is “irresponsible.”
“It’s not the business of a county board of supervisors to designate terror organizations,” McGough pointed out. “Even if you don’t agree with me that legislative bodies at all levels should refrain from passing nonbinding resolutions, this one is particularly inappropriate because it is couched in language that could leave the impression that its declaration about a national issue actually has legal force.”