I remember a “Welcome to San Francisco” sign along the hills of California’s U.S. Highway 101. Now I can picture its green paint faded and its white letters almost unreadable beneath layers of grime. Along the bottom is graffiti—spray-painted words saying, “NRA members are terrorists.” Beneath the graffiti is a shiny new sign stipulating a new clause from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors: “Unwelcome: NRA members and any company or government office that would associate with the NRA.”
That fictional image is perhaps too honest. Reality, however, is more revealing.
The road winds on into the both decadent and rotting city of San Francisco. Downtown there are encampments of homeless drug-addicts in tents. The streets are filthy and the working class are all but gone. Nearby though, are perfect, glass-window buildings housing Silicon Valley elites sipping their Starbucks’ Frappuccinos. The juxtaposition of the haves and have nots is both jarring and telling.
Okay sure, the city had grime on its fashionable facade even in 1968 when Steve McQueen, in “Bullitt,” roared up and down those steep city streets in his 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback. In that film, McQueen was police Lt. Frank Bullitt and he was fighting mobsters with his Colt Diamondback revolver.
If Frank Bullitt were allowed on the streets with a badge and a gun today, he surely wouldn’t be glorified by city officials. No, he and his type are too red-blooded American for them. Today, people with that kind of strong individuality—the good guys with guns—are considered to be terrorists by the city of San Francisco.
So yes, we’re now in a new reality. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to designate the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization—and by association every member of the NRA a terrorist.
This isn’t just some hyperbolic and symbolic action taken by San Francisco’s elites in some extreme act of virtue signaling. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ declaration is actually a direct assault on the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
This is why the NRA is suing the city and county of San Francisco and its Board of Supervisors for voting to designate the NRA a domestic-terrorist organization.
As the NRA says, these San Francisco politicians are discriminating against people “based on the viewpoint of their political speech.” This is so un-inclusive of them.
This San Francisco edict’s chief sponsor is Supervisor Catherine Stefani. She is a gun-control activist associated with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
It surely is discriminatory. This resolution says “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.”
These aren’t statements from some gun-control group; this is from a government body that is supposed to represent all citizens, even those that enjoy their Second Amendment rights. It is also from a city government that is restrained by law—including incorporated parts of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
The NRA lawsuit also points out that the San Francisco board is using “McCarthyist elements” to silence people. The NRA suit says the resolution “would chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing to speak against gun control, or from associating ... with the NRA.”
This San Francisco resolution even claims that gun-safety training and advocacy are tantamount to terrorism. This, of course, is an attack on the freedom of association and speech.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on this issue before. In Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996), the U.S. Supreme Court held that terminating a contract because of a person’s or company’s protected speech is a violation of the First Amendment.
San Francisco’s attack on the constitutional rights of the NRA and its members follows other efforts in Los Angeles and New York State by activists public officials who want to also use their public positions to discriminate against people whose views they don’t happen to like.
If these attacks on the First and Second Amendments are allowed to stand, America will cease to be the America we know.
(Frank Miniter’s latest book is The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide to the Workplace.)
Most-Revealing Anti-Freedom Quote of the Week
“When they use phrases like, ‘I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands’ on bumper stickers, they are saying reasoned debate about public safety should be met with violence.” –San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani
Pro-Freedom Quote of the Week
“If we pass this bill today, we’re going to invert the standard and say you are guilty until proven innocent. Under this bill, you are guilty without doing anything wrong simply because someone thinks you might do something wrong.” –Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in response to anti-Second Amendment legislation being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives