City Attorney Dennis Herrera (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF files motion to dismiss NRA’s lawsuit over ‘domestic terrorist’ label

San Francisco filed a motion Thursday to dismiss the lawsuit filed against The City by the National Rifle Association over a resolution that declared the gun rights group a “domestic terrorist organization.”

The non-binding resolution, introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani and unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, also called on city departments to investigate contractors’ ties to the NRA and pressure them to stop doing business with the group.

The NRA’s federal lawsuit against The City over the resolution argued that it violated constitutional rights of free speech and association with the “new government policy: blacklist anyone linked to the NRA.”

But the motion to dismiss the case filed by City Attorney Dennis Herrera Thursday morning argued that “the First Amendment allows lawmakers and other public officials to express their views on matters of public concern.”

The motion said that the NRA’s lawsuit “misrepresents and distorts the Board’s resolution, claiming that it is binding (it is not).”

“The members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors exercised this right when they recently enacted a non-binding resolution declaring the NRA to be a terrorist organization and expressing the precatory view that San Francisco officials should assess the extent to which City contractors do business with the NRA,” the motion said.

The motion said that the resolution does “no more than state the subjective opinions of the members of the Board; they do not change City laws or policies in any way.”

Following the NRA’s lawsuit, Mayor London Breed, who did not sign the resolution, and Herrera issued a joint memo to department heads last month that said the resolution was non-binding and did not change city laws.

The memo said that “no department will take steps to assess the relationships between City contractors and the NRA, and no department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA.”

The NRA issued a statement that said the memo was The City backing down in wake of the lawsuit.

NRA’s attorney William A. Brewer III called it “a clear concession and a well-deserved win for the First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

However, Herrera’s spokesperson John Cote said in response that the memo was not a concession but “just explains what has always been true — the resolution does not change the law”

“If the NRA thinks this is a win, it’s only because their lawsuit completely distorts what the resolution actually does,” Cote said at the time.

On Thursday Cote said that “The NRA chose to file a baseless lawsuit that completely distorts what the resolution does and does not do.”

“It’s clear the NRA would rather waste people’s time in court than do something about the epidemic of gun violence in our country,” he said.

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