The memory of a mass shooting that killed three at the Gilroy Garlic Festival was still fresh in nearby San Francisco when its Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last week to denounce the National Rifle Association, The Washington Post writes.
But the city’s leaders took their message a step further, declaring on September 3 that the NRA is a “domestic terrorist organization” and discouraging the city from working with contractors or vendors with ties to the gun rights lobby.
Now, the NRA is hitting back with a lawsuit that calls the resolution “obviously unconstitutional,” arguing that targeting gun-friendly vendors and contractors violates their right to free speech.
“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 and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said in a statement shared with The Washington Post.
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office responded by suggesting the NRA focus on reducing gun violence.
“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,” John Coté, a spokesman for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, told the Associated Press. “Common-sense safety measures like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and restricting high-capacity magazines would be a good start.”
The legal battle comes as legislators nationwide grapple with how to address gun violence after a summer marked by mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio. It also comes at a time of turmoil for the NRA, which has lost a president, its top lobbyist and several board members amid financial woes, and as public opinion swings in favor of stricter gun laws, even among Republicans. Last week, Walmart announced it will stop selling ammunition for military-style weapons and asked customers to refrain from openly carrying guns into stores.
San Francisco passed the resolution after a gunman killed a 6-year-old, 13-year-old and 25-year-old in Gilroy, about 80 miles south of the city, on July 28. Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who wrote the resolution, told The Washington Post she believes the NRA deserves to be known as a “terrorist organization.”