On September 3, the passed , “declaring that the National Rifle Association is a domestic terrorist organization and urging other cities, states, and the federal government to do the same.”The resolution was sponsored by , who is described on the city’s website as a former prosecutor and “a leader and spokesperson for .”
According to the document, NRA “musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to …incite gun owners to acts of violence.”The board also contended that NRA “through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism.”The resolution also made clear that the City and County of San Francisco intend to “assess the financial and contractual relationships [city and county] vendors and contractors have with”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”NRA.
NRA is a five million member civil rights organization dedicated to preserving the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. NRA carries out this mission by organizing its members and other freedom-supporting individuals to vote and otherwise engage in the democratic process. This ranges from helping individuals register to vote, educating voters on gun rights issues, and organizing members and others to share their views directly with lawmakers at public hearings and meetings or through correspondence. for effective grassroots political participation.
Moreover, NRA’s 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.
The absurd resolution has been met by many with the derision it deserves. Writing for , Jacob Sullum jibed, “Yesterday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously declared that the National Rifle Association is a ‘domestic terrorist organization,’because words no longer have any meaning.”
The urge to dismiss this hateful resolution as the fevered tirade of a radical enclave is understandable. After all, this is the same board that earlier this year adopted “” that rebranded “felons” and “convicts”as “justice-involved persons.” At the time Supervisor Matt Haney noted “We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done.” Evidently, law-abiding individuals engaged in the political process are not to be afforded the same open-mindedness.
For an entity acting under color of law to single out those with differing viewpoints, and those who might do business with them, for government persecution flies in the face of the First Amendment. Such noxious actions chill free speech by discouraging individuals from expressing viewpoints contrary to those of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for fear of official reprisal. Moreover, such government actions can implicate individuals’ freedom of association and right to petition the government.
In recent weeks, the world has watched as hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protestors have assembled on the streets of Hong Kong to petition the Chinese government to respect their rights. Predictably, the Chinese communist regime has sought to around the events by describing many of those involved in the pro-democracy movement as “” in an attempt to de-legitimize their cause.
Totalitarian minds think alike.