NRA Sues San Fran For Declaring It A ‘Terrorist Organization’

Eric Scheiner | September 10, 2019
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The NRA has filed a lawsuit that the city and county of San Francisco as well as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors infringed on the NRA’s free speech rights and is trying to blacklist those associated with the group, when it passed a resolution labeling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” last week.

In the lawsuit announced Monday, the NRA argues the city’s resolution poses a constitutional threat to freedom of speech.

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. 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. 

The NRA court filing goes on to say:

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. 

Moreover, the Resolution, both on its face, and as applied or threatened to be applied, violates the NRA’s and its members’ freedom of association by forcing them to publicly disclose affiliations that are disfavored by some, and which have no relation whatsoever to the ability of a vendor or contractor to perform requested services or provide requested goods under a government contract. 

The lawsuit asks the court to require San Francisco from taking any official action pursuant to the resolution and asks the court to award the NRA for actual, exemplary and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

You can watch San Francisco city lawmakers vote for the resolution below: