SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The National Rifle Association has sued San Francisco where city officials recently declared the gun-rights lobby a terrorist organization. The NRA claims in its lawsuit that the city is infringing on its free speech rights and is seeking to blacklist anyone associated with it.
The lawsuit was filed Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
“The City of San Francisco is a political body which chose to pursue a misguided and unlawful plan – to vilify a lawful organization because the city supervisors disagree with the NRA’s views on the Second Amendment,” William A. Brewer III, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel to the NRA, said in a statement. “This action is an assault on all advocacy organizations across the country. There can be no place in our society for this manner of behavior by government officials. Fortunately, the NRA, like all U.S. citizens, is protected by the First Amendment.”
Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.”
The resolution followed some recent high-profile shootings, including one in Gilroy, California, where a gunman entered a festival with an AK-style long gun, killing three people and injuring 17 before killing himself.
The lawsuit names the San Francisco, along with all eleven of the city’s supervisors, both individually and in their official capacities and calls the terrorist designation a “frivolous insult.”
“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,” says NRA CEO and EVP Wayne LaPierre, in a statement. “Some politicians forget that all 5 million of us in the NRA stand for freedom and that we believe it is a cause worth fighting for. We will always confront illegal and discriminatory practices against our organization and the millions of members we serve.”
Supervisor Catherine Stefani sponsored the resolution, citing federal inaction in the wake of the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Since the late July shooting, there have been mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and in Texas.
“We believe that the NRA is a hugely destructive force in this country. There are thousands and thousands of gun deaths every year,” said San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney Monday evening. “There are assault rifles, and weapons of war that are on our streets and the NRA every step of the way has sown division and sought to keep these weapons on the street. And our perspective that’s a threat to public safety.”
John Cote from the City Attorney’s Office responded to the lawsuit in a statement.
“It’s unfortunate the NRA would rather run to court than do something about the epidemic of gun violence in our country. 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. Common-sense safety measures like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and restricting high-capacity magazines would be a good start,” he wrote.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.