NRA Sues San Francisco Over 'Domestic Terrorist' Designation

By Susan Jones | September 10, 2019 | 9:09am EDT
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, at the National Rifle AssociationAnnual Meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

( - The National Rifle Association is suing the City and County of San Francisco for its "reckless assault on a freedom loving organization."

On Sept. 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring the NRA to be a "domestic terrorist organization" that “musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to…incite gun owners to acts of violence.”

Quite the contrary, the NRA lawsuit says:

"The NRA’s nearly five million members include countless military veterans, first responders, and law enforcement officers who have risked everything to protect Americans from terrorism.

"Therefore, the Resolution’s 'terrorist' designation is a frivolous insult -- but San Francisco’s actions pose a nonfrivolous constitutional threat."

The resolution directs the San Francisco government to "assess the financial and contractual relationships [city and county] vendors and contractors have with” the NRA and to “take every reasonable step to limit those entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business with” the NRA.

The NRA lawsuit states:

In the face of recent, similar blacklisting schemes, financial institutions have expressed reluctance to provide bank accounts for disfavored political groups, and city contractors fear losing their livelihoods if they support or even work with the NRA.

Where, as here, the government’s conduct would “chill a person of ordinary firmness” from continuing to engage in protected speech or association, the First Amendment mandates swift relief.

Unless vetoed by Mayor Breed, the Resolution will take imminent effect by operation of law. The NRA cannot stand by and allow that to happen. Nor should this Court.

The lawsuit argues that the government "cannot discriminate against citizens based on the viewpoint of their political speech," and it cites the First and Fourth Amendments.

The NRA is requesting a jury trial -- and damages  -- arising from claims that the defendants have "violated the NRA’s First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association under the United States Constitution."

In an earlier response to the San Francisco resolution, the NRA noted that its bylaws explicitly state: "No individual who is a member of, and no organization composed in whole or in part of individuals who are members of, any organization or group having as its purpose or one of its purposes the overthrow by force and violence of the Government of the United States or any of its political subdivisions shall be eligible for membership."

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