The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously branded the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization,” citing the NRA’s “extremist positions” and deceptive “propaganda.” The NRA is calling the legislative maneuver a “chilling” and “unprovoked assault” on its membership.
The resolution, passed Tuesday, was introduced by supervisor Catherine Stefani, a former prosecutor who identifies herself in her city bio as a “gun violence prevention activist.” The measure cites the nation’s “epidemic of gun violence” — including more than 36,000 killings and a gun homicide rate “25 times higher than any other high-income country in the world” — and invokes the July mass shooting at the Garlic Festival in nearby Gilroy.
The resolution paraphrases the U.S. Department of Justice’s definition of terrorism as including anyone who “commits an act that the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords material support, including communications, funds, weapons, or training to any individual [who] has committed or plans to commit a terrorist act.”
The measure describes the NRA as using “its considerable wealth and organizational strength to… incite gun owners to acts of violence” and accuses the NRA of promoting “propaganda that… aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence.” The resolution takes particular aim at the NRA’s leadership whom, it claims, promote “extremist positions” that “undermine the general welfare.”
The resolution builds to this crescendo:
WHEREAS, The National Rifle Association through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism; and
WHEREAS, 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; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED That the City and County of San Francisco intends to declare the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization.
The resolution is largely symbolic, but it calls on the city “take every reasonable step to assess the financial and contractual relationships our vendors and contractors have with this domestic terrorist organization” and to “limit those entities who do business with the City… from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization.”
The resolution further calls on San Francisco to “encourage all other jurisdictions” — from cities and states to the federal government — to adopt similar positions.
Supervisor Stephani could not be reached for an interview, but she has defended her resolution citing the NRA’s efforts to limit research on gun violence as well as its inciteful rhetoric: “When they use phrases like, ‘I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands,’” she said, “they are saying reasoned debate about public safety should be met with violence.”
Prior to passage of the resolution, the NRA denounced the measure as a “ludicrous stunt.” Reached Thursday, NRA public affairs director Andrew Arulanandam gave Rolling Stone the following statement: “This action is an unprovoked assault on the First Amendment rights of millions of law abiding Americans for exercising their fundamental constitutional rights. The Board of Supervisors maligned more than 5 million members of the NRA but their actions and implications should be chilling to every American.”
Read the full resolution, below: