A cherished ritual will warm hearts in cold season

Jerry Moore

In one fell swoop, some California legislators attempted to diminish both the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution — and they may have taken their cue from Albany.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution labeling the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.” Members of the board also indicated that they intend to dissuade city contractors and vendors from associating with the gun rights group.

Catherine Stefani, who represents District 2 on the board, introduced the resolution. She was prompted to do this following the July 28 mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco.

“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,” she said, according to a San Francisco Chronicle story published Wednesday. “It is time to rid this country of the NRA and call them out for who they really are: They are a domestic terrorist organization.”

The resolution claims that the NRA “musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence, and … spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence, and … through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism …”

Nowhere does the document explain how the NRA incites gun owners to acts of violence or arms terrorists. But as long as the board members weave a compelling narrative that will make the NRA’s critics swoon, a lack of evidence doesn’t concern them.

Calling the NRA bad names is one thing. But this resolution isn’t really directed at the organization or its members.

Rather, it is communicating a message to private companies that have business dealings with the NRA. If these firms want to remain on the good side of San Francisco’s government, they better cut any ties with this group.

They took this tactic right from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s playbook. Last year, he had state regulators ask financial services companies if dealing with the NRA would harm their reputations.

A couple of insurance firms participated in the NRA Carry Guard. This program offered insurance to help pay legal expenses for civil and criminal cases for specific incidents of self-defense.

The Cuomo administration said this program was illegal because it offered insurance for those who engage in “intentional wrongdoing.” As a result of legal disputes in several states, the NRA discontinued the insurance aspect of the program.

The problem with the Cuomo administration’s claim is that the insurance was designed to cover future actions that were deemed legal. The governor pinned the “intentional wrongdoing” label to acts that haven’t yet been taken. That is for a court of law to decide, not Cuomo.

Two insurance companies no longer participate in this program. The NRA sued Cuomo and other officials for violating their First Amendment rights, and it will prevail. We can’t allow government authorities to coerce a group into silence because they don’t want to hear what the organization has to say.

But this poisonous trend has now spread to San Francisco. Members of the Board of Supervisors said they’ll do what they can to limit city contractors and vendors “from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization.”

Never mind constitutionally protected liberties.

Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to jmoore@wdt.net.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(12) comments

Kevin Beary

All the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are Democrats. Every anti-gun initiative and all anti-gun legislation comes out of the Democratic Party. If the self-proclaimed pro-2nd Amendment Democrats in St. Lawrence County and elsewhere are serious about defending gun rights, they should leave the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party, the only party in SLC that is truly committed to preserving our 2nd Amendment rights. Anyone who registers as a Democrat in NYS sends a message to Albany that he or she approves of the anti-gun/NRA polices of Governor Cuomo and like-minded Democratic office holders. To vote Democratic is to vote your gun rights away.

LAW

Are you on crack or just pi ping for the murder for profit mob? No one is trying to take away your 2nd rights, crybaby. Stop lying about Democrats and address the mass murderers NRA keeps supporting year after year. And don't waste anyone's time with crocodile tears, Comrade Complicit Republican Sheep. It's worn out these last thirty years.

rockloper

The US government proclaims some organizations as terrorist groups why can't a city government? As I've said many times before I think it's a mistake to have a Bill of Rights rather than a Responsible Citizens Bill of Rights. We need to stop hiding behind the mask of freedom to promote irresponsible and dangerous activities. Now, can we do something about how this stupid forum is set up and get back to how it worked with disqus?

rdsouth

I would imagine that the difference is not which level of government is declaring a group terrorist but the basis of that decision. If the federal government decided a group were terrorist based on its advocacy, no matter how indirectly harmful (vie speech), then it would meet a legal challenge. The federal government tends to reserve the label for groups which directly do physical violence. Then again, fire in a theater and all that.

Fwfigher

The San Francisco resolution that was passed proclaiming the NRA as a domestic terrorist org is a stunt, but a dangerous stunt. What message does it send to members of the SF govt, PW, Parks and Rec, SFFD, SFPD, etc who are not only owners of firearms but also member of the NRA. Will their fitness reports and evaluations be affected by them being members of a domestic terrorist org. Will they be fired. Will citizens of SF who are members of the NRA have member of a domestic terrorist org pinned to their background checks. That's the goal isn't? Create a simple background law and then start adding and adding disqualifers to the background check. Owe the IRS...going on the background check. Ever had a DWI.....going on the background check. Anything and everything will be added to that "sensible gun control" background check.

Airball55

Not a fun owner here. Jerry is spot on with this. And worse...with “leaders” like cuomo...it’s political grandstanding but also illegal. The nra will win that lawsuit. This is not the path to better gun laws.

LAW

NRA won't win. They're too busy scamming their suckers for money to buy Wayne LaPierre $1000 suits and a hidyhole mansion in a gated community. Their corruption is on display for everyone whose dumb enough to give them blood money.

Nice_Commenter

Spend five minutes watching NRA videos and ISIS videos. They are quite similar. "Invaders are coming to the lands God gave us." Both the NRA and ISIS love God and tradtional values. More similarities than differences.

Holmes -- the real one

Excellent to point out that comparison. Side by side they might both be crafted by the same mindset.

rdsouth

"As a result of legal disputes ," sounds like a court deciding. And if we stretch the definition of "speech" to cover insurance, what does it not cover? Maybe it should cover speech and just speech. Like verbal communication. As for the NRA being a terrorist organization, that's also a stretch. It's more like Sinn Fean than the IRA. It seems to me intuitively that San Francisco should be allowed to deal with whoever they like. But what if we extend that. What freedom should local governments have to declare favoritism based on specific political positions? If a car fleet maintenance company also routinely lobbied to get rid of all speed limits would it be legitimate for a local government to ban doing business with any company that used them?

Nice_Commenter

If a car rental company advertised that getting drunk before driving was a good idea they government should step in. That is where we are with the NRA.

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

"Legal disputes" are not necessarily court decisions. Using this phrase, I mean the differences over a point of law between various parties. Some states have investigated the legality of the NRA Carry Guard as New York has done. This resulted in the insurance companies backing out, which prompted the NRA to cancel this aspect of the program. It also involves lawsuits, which have not been concluded. So while no court has yet made a ruling, the legal bickering has led to this portion of the program being withdrawn.



As for governments being allowed to disassociate with contractors due to their advocacy of some issue, that's unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that the First Amendment protects the free speech rights of independent contractors from arbitrary actions by government entities.



https://reason.com/2019/09/06/san-franciscos-anti-nra-campaign-could-be-unconstitutional/

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