U.S.

San Francisco Deemed the NRA a ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’. Here’s Why That’s Wrong.

Attendees at the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas, in 2013. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)
Labeling supporters of the Constitution as “terrorists” only cements divisive, hateful thinking.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution labeling the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.”

The resolution also states that “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.”

“The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” the resolution states. “The National Rifle Association spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence, and . . . the leadership of National Rifle Association promotes extremist positions, in defiance of the views of a majority of its membership and the public, and undermine the general welfare.”

The NRA has since responded with its own statement: “This ludicrous stunt by the Board of Supervisors is an effort to distract from the real problems facing San Francisco, such as rampant homelessness, drug abuse and skyrocketing petty crime, to name a few,” the statement reads, according to KTVU. “The NRA will continue working to protect the constitutional rights of all freedom-loving Americans.”

Honestly, the NRA is right . . . “ludicrous” is the perfect way to describe this. If the NRA were truly a “domestic terrorist organization,” then it would (and this seems so obvious that I can’t believe I even have to write it) have to have supported at least one act of domestic terror. (Read: It hasn’t.) What it does support is the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and supporting the Constitution should absolutely never result in getting labeled a “terrorist.”

As a Second Amendment supporter myself, I have to say that I am honestly sick and tired of this BS narrative that you have to support whatever gun-control measure that the Left throws our way or else you’re a murderer who wants children to die. Yes, gun violence absolutely is tragic, so I can understand how people’s emotions about it might prompt them to feel that we have to “do something.” The thing is, though, it would be a huge mistake to “do something” that would take away our freedoms just for the sake of being able to say we did “do something” — especially if that “something” likely won’t even solve the problem, anyway.

Unfortunately, “likely won’t even solve the problem, anyway” describes most of the gun-control measures that have been proposed thus far. For example: Over the weekend, Beto O’Rourke announced that, if he were president, then “Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, [would] have to sell them to the government.” This sort of proposal, as a piece in Reason notes, is one that has become popular with Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders. As Reason also notes, however, it likely wouldn’t work. After all, similar things have been tried in the past, and they, well, didn’t. In 1991, the New York Times reported: “More than a year after New Jersey imposed the toughest assault-weapons law in the country, the law is proving difficult if not impossible to enforce. Only four military-style weapons have been turned in to the State Police and another 14 were confiscated. The state knows the whereabouts of fewer than 2,000 other guns”— out of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 privately owned weapons in the state.

Now, these people in New Jersey were faced with the possibility of felony prosecution for disobeying this law, and yet they still disregarded it — which makes me think that most of them would almost certainly not be motivated by O’Rourke’s threat of a fine. As Reason explains, it was easy for New Jerseyans to disobey this law because the state had no registration requirements for guns. Seeing as most of the United States doesn’t have these requirements, either, O’Rourke’s gun-control idea seems like more like wishful thinking than a viable solution.

Why not just make everyone register, then? Well, because people won’t listen to that either — especially if you’ve been open with them about the fact that the reason you’re asking them to register is because you do intend on taking their guns away. As Reason notes, Connecticut’s attempt in 2014 to register “assault weapons” achieved only an estimated 15 percent compliance rate, and a similar law in New York achieved a less than 5 percent compliance rate.

As another piece in Reason notes, the resounding call for “universal background checks” would likely also be a futile policy. After all, most mass shooters either have passed or could pass background checks. For example: Both the El Paso and Dayton shooters did.

The truth is, San Francisco’s labeling of the NRA as a “domestic terrorist organization” over its support of gun rights and opposition to gun control helps absolutely no one — but it could hurt some. In case you haven’t noticed, we have become quite a divided country these days. We are finding ourselves starkly divided along political lines, with each side seeing the other not simply as people with whom they disagree, but rather as actual enemies. Incorrectly and ridiculously labeling supporters of the Constitution as “terrorists” only cements this kind of divisive, hateful thinking — and the folks in San Francisco who are responsible for this should be ashamed of themselves.

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