NRA Sues San Francisco Over Resolution Declaring It To Be A Domestic Terrorist Organization

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has filed a lawsuit against San Francisco over the resolution denouncing the organization as a “domestic terrorist organization.” I am cited in the brief, which can be read below. The NRA is correct that I have written in opposition to the resolution of the Board of Supervisors as a direct attack on free speech and “the very definition of demagoguery.” However, the quote that is attributed to me is in error. it was in fact from another column by Henry Olson. It is minor matter since the NRA correctly attributes my view that the resolution is an attack on first amendment rights of free speech and association.

The brief contains the following graph:

“And Jonathan Turley, a public interest law professor at George Washington University, writing in the Hill on September 5, 2019, bluntly stated that the Resolution “sets the power of a government against a set of citizens solely on the basis of their politics. This is called ‘viewpoint discrimination’ in First Amendment law and is unconstitutional.”

That is actually a quote from Olson’s column which ran around the same time as my column in the Hill newspaper with a similar headline. As a litigator, I am sympathetic. It is an easy mistake to make in the fog and frenzy of a filing, particularly with two articles with similar titles. I just wanted to give Olson credit for the specific quote.

As for the filing, the NRA advances three specific claims claiming viewpoint discrimination. The grounds are the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and 42 U.S.C. 1983. It is a curious case since the NRA is (correctly) objecting to the measure as an attack on its exercise of free speech. However, the court is likely to be wary of intervening in a case that is so heavily imbued with political opinion on both sides.

Nevertheless, this was an incredibly reckless and abusive act by the Board of Supervisors. It is seeking to sever ties with the NRA and lead an effort among other cities to do so. The resolution is clearly meant to chill speech by labeling the NRA as a terrorist organization and, by extension, all of its five million members.

The effort to end relationship with the NRA on the basis for this resolution does create a material act, not just an opinion, direct against the NRA. The greatest problem is found at the end of the resolution:

RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco intends to declare the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to assess the financial and contractual relationships our vendors and contractors have with this domestic terrorist organization; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to limit those entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco should encourage all other jurisdictions, including other cities, states, and the federal government, to adopt similar positions.

That would entail an intrusion into the associations of vendors as well as the NRA. It raises serious first amendment implications.

It is still a highly difficult case to bring but the Board of Supervisors could not have create a worse record for itself.

Here is the filing: NRA Complaint

40 thoughts on “NRA Sues San Francisco Over Resolution Declaring It To Be A Domestic Terrorist Organization”

    1. good why not spell it out:

      “throughout his Middle School years, Cruz was marked as someone obviously disturbed who routinely disrupted classes and who openly talked about his interest in blood and violence:

      SEE ALSO: DOJ rejects Andrew McCabe’s appeal to avoid facing charges (CNN hardest hit)

      Cruz’s torture and killing of animals became a source of pride for him as he interacted with other students. One student, Devin, recalled that, although he tried to avoid Cruz, Cruz would approach him almost every day and ask, “Would you like to see videos of me skinning animals?” Devin always declined, but Cruz kept asking.

      Cruz’s records suggest that his reign of terror at Westglades Middle School began halfway through his seventh-grade year, in February of 2013. For the next calendar year, Cruz was suspended every other day. Why did the school allow him to remain enrolled despite his daily, deranged behavior for a full year? Not by negligence, but by policy.

      Students with disabilities are supposed to be educated in the “least restrictive environment” possible, regardless of whether their disability is that they’re dyslexic or a psychopath, and the paperwork requirements to send them to a specialized school can take many months.

      Cruz’s language arts teacher spent months documenting his outbursts in class. Eventually, an assistant principal came to class to observe him:

      Report: Christine Blasey Ford’s father told Brett Kavanaugh’s father he was glad he was confirmed
      On Oct. 24, Assistant Principal Antonio Lindsay came to class to observe Cruz. As soon as Lindsay left the room, Cruz yelled, “Yes, now I can talk!” He continued to be disruptive, and Yon said, “I know that you can behave. I have seen you. You’re a good kid.” Cruz shouted, “I’m a bad kid! I want to kill!”

      It took several more months before the efforts to document Cruz’s behavior finally led to him be put in a school called Cross Creek which was designed for kids with serious problems. While there he regularly met with a therapist and also met with a consulting psychiatrist named Dr. Ortiz. Dr. Ortiz was so concerned about his behavior that she wrote a letter to Cruz’s private psychiatrist to make sure they were fully aware of his behavior and could continue his treatment over the summer before he was set to start high school. Here’s a sample:

      At home, he continues to be aggressive and destructive with minimal provocation. For instance, he destroyed his television after loosing [sic] a video game that he was playing. Nikolas has a hatchet that he uses to chop up a dead tree in his backyard. Mom has not been able to locate that hatchet as of lately [sic]. When upset he punches holes in the walls and has used sharp tools to cut up the upholstery on the furniture and carve holes in the walls of the bathroom. Per recent information shared in school he dreams of killing others and [being] covered in blood.

      Cruz started his freshmen year at Cross Creek but by October some improvement was noted in his behavior. Near the end of the school year Cruz asked to be allowed to join the Junior ROTC program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas:

      Ortiz recorded, “interested in [J]ROTC? — not advised … Discussed the safety of others/himself.”

      But the next month, every member of Cruz’s “Child Study Team” recommended that he be mainstreamed for two class periods a day at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year: for one class to be determined and JROTC.

      Despite every indication that he was dangerous and obsessed with violence, they mainstreamed Cruz back into the high school where he eventually murdered 17 people. As the book recounts, teachers at Westglades Middle School who had worked so hard to get Cruz out of regular schools were surprised not by the shooting but by the fact that he’d ever been allowed back to a regular high school.

      Andrew Pollack appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night and put the blame on Obama-era policies which were apparently designed to end the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. Pollack says that students were each allowed up to four infractions before police were involved and the number was reset every year. Meanwhile, parents weren’t told that kids with serious behavioral problems…”

  1. If the NRA had 20 million members the democrats would be sucking up to them. Bernie Sanders would come up with government money to buy you guns. It’s all about numbers.

  2. One aspect of local city and county councils that I can’t stand, of which there are admittedly many with me, is that they tend to engage in political and personal misadventure knowing all to well that a legal tender conflagration will quickly envelope them. And they will always fight on until the bitter end in spite of all the cost to the taxpayers and individuals who they target. It is a sign of the mating of stupidity, incompetence, and self-righteousness.

    With no regard to any embrace of fiduciary responsibility to their employers, had they been instead on private payrolls someone would slap them with a much needed rebuke and put them back in their place. The company generally does not want liability but politicians answer too often only to themselves because few possess the resolve and ethics to send these politicians packing. Instead too many citizens only line up to entreat these political prostitutes, handing over their loyalty and self-respect for mind-numbingly worthless promises that often go unfulfilled.

    And in this case simply because some fools will believe that attacking this particular association of persons serves their small-minded political agenda, it the practice was permitted where any Tom, Dick, or Harry sitting on a city council can declare a million plus Americans to be subject to persecution simply for “being”, their supporters will ALWAYS find that eventually it is they who are labeled as subversives and disposed of.

    1. Doesn’t happen around here. The county commissioners and the city council keep strictly to business.

  3. The NRA does not sell firearms. It just fights for 2nd amendment rights. Something like 17 million people purchase hunting licenses each year. 90 million Americans own a third of a billion guns.

  4. C’mon peeps, THINK! What this is about is gun confiscation. If the NRA is a “terrorist” organization, then Red Flag laws will allow their guns to be confiscated. All they will have to do is subpoena a membership list.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. a wise lawyer told me three decades ago, that if i was really worried about gun confiscation, I would do two things.

      a– don’t get a concealed carry license
      b– stay off the NRA membership list

      perhaps wise, and you are on his wavelenght. however….

      Ironically, if every gun aficionado acted that way, then the gun confiscation would have happened by now., its in all the gun people massing together lawfully that they have strength like a labor union

  5. Calling NRA “a terrorist organization” for peaceably defending an enumerated civil right is malicious and corrupt. If a body of government deserved to be slapped down hard in court for malicious defamation covering up a corrupt attempt to strong-arm its vendors into acting for them against a perfectly legal citizens’ group, it is San Francisco.

    I wonder whether the city’s insurers have begun withdrawing from protecting San Francisco from self-inflicted damage in court, or if that city is “running naked” and its citizens will face more bond issues and other direcrt and indirect taxation to pay for damages wrought by those who they elected to represent them.

  6. basically the left wing so-called progressives of this ilk are a bunch of nasty bullies.
    they’re intent on framing a conflict which can’t be resolved peacefully
    that’s a poor choice– for them.

  7. they want to make all the NRA guys in the district budding terrs? kind of like the little boy who’s told too often that he’s bad, maybe one day he wakes up and decides to quit trying to be good, and earn the insult with glee

  8. You have to wonder how many Americans our politicians consider to be the enemy. They surely treat us this way.

  9. “By the rude bridge that arched the flood

    Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled

    Here once the embattled farmers stood

    And fired the shot heard round the world.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. Don’t care for this sort of lawfare, but maybe you punch back twice as hard the progtrash leave you alone for a while.

    1. It’s not “lawfare” when a major city uses bogus and libellous charges of “terrorism” to get its vendors to cut financial ties with anyone. It’s a good and proper use of the courts to punish liars in high office.

      1. that should have read “It’s not “lawfare” to sue a major city for using bogus and libellous charges of “terrorism” to get vendors to cut financial ties with a third party.

  11. I wish the NRA every success in their suit, and that they make the necessary corrections and citation.

    Conservatives have had enough with the constant, vicious, unrelenting, and false ad hominem. You have to stand up to bullies.

  12. It is long past time that the “terrorism” label be retired, as it adds nothing qualitative except a politically motivated characterization of criminal acts committed by those labelled terrorists. It has been clear since 9/11, if not before then, that if civil liberty is to be maintained against an overreaching government then the motive for criminal acts (as opposed to an intent to commit them) should be irrelevant in defining a crime, even though motive may legitimately be taken into account at sentencing, because doing so invites the kind of political labeling using vague epithets, seen here, that the user can pin on any person or organization he or she does not like politically. The normalization of this practice has led to grave injustices, not the least of which is the military’s infiltration of the criminal justice system, as in the case of Guantanamo Bay. As Petra Bartosiewicz observed, a terrorist is “an enemy of the state as defined by the state.” For “state” can be substituted anyone, or any organization (including the FBI), hurling verbiage at their political opponents to discredit them as evil. This San Francisco thing is one instance of this kind of spurious characterization, but it also happens all the time in the media, in Congress, at the FBI, etc. This should not be allowed, certainly not in the criminal justice system, or by any act of any official government body, if not also in the public discourse, where resort to the terrorism label should automatically discredit the speaker.

    1. It would be helpful to stop all of this mean-spirited labeling – racist, terrorist, homophobe, bigot, etc. Intelligent people should be able to discuss issues without name-calling.

  13. Are there grounds for damages for individual NRA members who have been defamed/damaged?

    A class action suit?

    1. i dont know what henry you’re talking about paul but here’s a song about henry i love

      1. i think this is some kind of old Scottish song but Judy rendered it well
        Come in, Come in, my Love Henry, stay with me this night.
        And you shall have both candle and coal, my fire burning bright.
        Oh, oh, oh, my fire burning bright.

        Well, I won’t come in, I can’t come in, I won’t come in at all.
        There’s a lady ten times fairer than you waiting in Lord Barnett’s Hall.
        And then he bended o’re her snow white pillow,
        Give her a kiss so sweet
        She drew her penknife in her hand, wounded him full deep.
        Oh, oh, oh, she wounded him full deep.

        And then she picked him up by his long yellow hair
        Also by his feet
        She threw him in her cool, draw well full 50 fathoms deep.

        Lie there, lie there, Love Henry, then she cried,
        I know you will not swim
        That lady ten times fairer than me will never see you again.
        Oh, oh, oh, she’ll never see you again.

        Lie down, fly down, you pretty little bird.
        Light upon my knee.
        Oh no, a girl who’d kill her own heart’s love
        Might hurt a little bird like me.

        If I had my arrow in my hand,
        Bow on a tuneful string,
        I’d shoot a dart straight through your heart,
        You’d no longer sing.
        Oh, oh, oh, and you’d no longer sing.

        Come in, come in, my Love Henry, stay with me this night.
        And you shall have both candle and coal, my fire burning bright.
        Oh oh oh my fire burning bright.

      2. Mr. Kurtz,

        What the —- was that, other than the weirdest song I have ever heard and entirely without redeemable purpose?

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