San Francisco, CA – The National Rifle Association (NRA) has filed a lawsuit against the city and county of San Francisco after the city’s board of supervisors declared the group to be a “domestic terrorist organization.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, according to the Associated Press.
The NRA alleged that city leaders violated the group’s right to free speech as a political ploy, and that it is attempting to “blacklist” those who are associated with the gun-rights lobby.
The group argued that the declaration discriminates against citizens “based on the viewpoint of their political speech,” NPR reported.
The resolution was passed with “the purpose of suppressing the NRA’s pro-Second Amendment viewpoint,” the lawsuit read, according to CNN. “Defendants undertook such unlawful conduct with the intent to obstruct, chill, deter, and retaliate against the NRA's core political speech."
The NRA said that the measure is “obviously unconstitutional,” and that it qualifies as a “system of informal censorship.”
The lawsuit also requested that the court “instruct elected officials that freedom of speech means you cannot silence or punish those with whom you disagree,” according to the Associated Press.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to declare the NRA a domestic terrorist organization on Sept. 3.
“The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” the declaration read, according to The Washington Post.
“It is time to rid this country of the NRA and call them out for who they really are,” Stefani said. “They are a domestic terrorist organization.”
Stefani said that the NRA is to blame for all recent mass shootings.
“All countries have violent and hateful people, but only in America do we give them ready access to assault weapons and large-capacity magazines thanks, in large part, to the National Rifle Association’s influence,” her declaration read, according to FOX News.
Stefani further alleged that the NRA is a misogynist organization because it has refused to back proposed legislation expanding gun restrictions for certain domestic abuse and stalking cases.
NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker previously said that the proposed restrictions Stefani was referring to were “too broad and ripe for abuse,” The New York Times reported.
“[For] many of those ‘offenses’ — and I’m using air quotes here — the behavior that would qualify as a stalking offense is often not violent or threatening,” Baker said at the time. “It involves no personal contact whatsoever.”
“How it’s written right now, you could be convicted for a misdemeanor stalking offense for a tweet that causes someone emotional distress and then you would be prohibited from owning a firearm,” she added.
In addition to declaring the NRA to be a domestic terrorist organization, the board also urged city leaders to look into their financial relationships with companies that also do business with the NRA, The Washington Post reported.
“The NRA exists to spread disinformation and knowingly puts weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us by blocking common-sense gun violence prevention legislation, and by advocating for dangerous legislation like stand-your-ground laws, permit-less carry, and guns in schools from kindergarten on up through university,” Stefani told the San Francisco Chronicle.
She also alleged that the group “conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and…aggressively tries to block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation,” according to The Washington Post.
The NRA blasted the board’s declaration, calling it a “reckless assault on a law-abiding organization, its members and the freedoms they all stand for.”
“This is just another worthless and disgusting ‘sound bite remedy’ to the violence epidemic gripping our nation,” NRA spokesperson Amy Hunter told The Washington Post. “We remain undeterred — guided by our values and belief in those who want to find real solutions to gun violence.”
The NRA also referred to the resolution as a “ludicrous stunt” aimed to “distract from the real problems facing San Francisco, such as rampant homelessness, drug abuse and skyrocketing petty crime, to name a few,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“The NRA will continue working to protect the constitutional rights of all freedom-loving Americans,” the group added.
The NRA’s attorney, William Brewer, said that the board of supervisor’s declaration “is an assault on all advocacy organizations across the country,” according to CNN. "There can be no place in our society for this manner of behavior by government officials."
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre touted the lawsuit as a stand against “those who attack the NRA,” the Associated Press reported.
“We will never stop fighting for our law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms,” LaPierre said. “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."
Stefani said that the NRA’s lawsuit is nothing more than a “desperate move by a very desperate organization.”
“I truly believe their time is up,” she added.
The terrorist group designation has not been signed off on by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who has until Friday to approve or veto the resolution, NPR reported.
If Breed takes no action, the resolution will automatically go into effect.