Politics & Policy

San Francisco Mayor Orders City Officials Not to Interfere with NRA Business

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera during a news conference at the city hall in San Francisco, Calif., January 31, 2017. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

San Francisco mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera have ruled that a City Council resolution declaring the National Rifle Association a “terrorist organization” will have no effect on the relationship between the NRA and the city government.

Early last month, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani that referred to the NRA as a “domestic terrorist organization” and called on the city to limit any business dealings with the NRA and to encourage other cities, states, and federal government agencies to adopt similar policies.

But according to a joint memo Breed and Herrera sent city officials last week, “no department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA.”

The memo goes on to say that for the City Council to have an effect on policy regarding the NRA, it would need to approve an ordinance rather than simply passing a resolution.

“Resolutions making policy statements do not impose duties on City departments, change any of the City’s existing laws or policies, or control City departments’ exercise of discretion,” it says.

The NRA filed a lawsuit against San Francisco on September 9, arguing that the resolution had violated its constitutional rights to free speech and association. Legal experts have said the lawsuit would be difficult to prosecute unless it could be shown that city contractors curtailed business relationships with the NRA or any affiliated groups.

The NRA said that the city’s efforts did not represent the first time a local government had tried to ban its presence, citing similar efforts by New York governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the Los Angeles City Council.

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