The National Rifle Association on Monday sued the city of San Francisco over a declaration deeming the lobbying group a “domestic terrorist organization,” according to The Associated Press.
The city Board of Supervisors passed the resolution last week, with Supervisor Catherine Stefani saying she was moved to draft it following August’s shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
In the lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, the NRA accused the city of maintaining a blacklist, asking the court to “instruct elected officials that freedom of speech means you cannot silence or punish those with whom you disagree.”
“This action is an assault on all advocacy organizations across the country,” said William A. Brewer III, the NRA’s attorney. “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.”
CEO Wayne LaPierre said the 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,” according to the AP.
Stefani called the lawsuit “a desperate move by a very desperate organization,” noting recent turmoil within the organization over LaPierre’s alleged use of organizational funds for expensive clothing and housing.
The organization has also been the target of several legal challenges and investigations, including a probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and another by Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine (D) into whether it has violated its nonprofit status.
However, critics of the NRA have expressed skepticism about the resolution as well, with Michael McGough writing in a Los Angeles Times editorial that it was largely an empty gesture and the “domestic terrorist organization” label was a bridge too far.
“Police shootings and gun violence understandably inspire strong emotions, and elected officials are no exception. But they need to watch their words, especially when those words are contained in legislation or, in this case, pseudo-legislation,” he wrote.