The far left San Francisco Board of Supervisors has backed down on its effort to demonize the National Rifle Association by “investigating” ties between the organization and contractors and vendors, a move labeled by the National Review’s David French as “a direct, viewpoint-based attack on the freedom of association of private citizens.”
According to an NRA report, San Francisco Mayor London Breed sent a memorandum to city officials that instructed, “no [municipal] department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA.”
Six days after the San Francisco decision last month to declare the NRA a “terrorist organization,” the NRA sued. It evidently got the city’s attention.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre issued a statement: “Through these actions and our public advocacy, we hope the message is now clear. The NRA will always fight to protect our members and the constitutional freedoms in which they believe.”
More than one speaker during the recent Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix alluded to the San Francisco action, sarcastically referring to the audience as “terrorists.” The Board of Supervisors quickly became a laughingstock.
But what was really accomplished with the mayor’s back-pedaling was not defense of the NRA or even the Second Amendment. The issue here was the First Amendment, and it took a Second Amendment organization to defend it.
It also revealed just how extreme the Board of Supervisors had acted, and that alarmed some people, including editorial writers at newspapers not friendly to the NRA or the individual right to keep and bear arms. Columnists at the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times were less friendly to what San Francisco had done.
Perhaps NRA attorney William A. Brewer III put it in the proper context in an NRA release, in which the attorney stated, “It is unfortunate that in today’s polarized times, some elected officials would rather silence opposing arguments than engage in good-faith debate.”
The resolution, adopted back on Sept. 3, was approved unanimously. It said “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; 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 finally 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.”
As noted by French in his National Review piece, it’s one thing for cities to “engaged in inflammatory name-calling and vicious public posturing,” but it’s quite another to engage in what the NRA called “blacklisting.”
Whatever perspective from which one views the San Francisco fiasco, the NRA has declared victory with Mayor Breed’s disavowal of the resolution’s key provisions.
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This doesn’t mean the Board of Supervisors no longer thinks the NRA is a “terrorist organization.” They will probably cling to that belief as stubbornly as some people cling to their guns and bibles.
Remember the cliché, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
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