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When the city of Los Angeles passed requirements that contractors have to disclose all ties to the National Rifle Association, we all knew what it was really about. The city wasn’t likely to grant contracts to anyone with those ties if there was any other choice. Regardless of what Los Angeles may claim, it’s about both hurting the NRA by discouraging companies from working with them and also about hurting companies that do anyway.
Unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association has filed suit.
The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a newly implemented ordinance by the city of Los Angeles that seeks to limit ties between city contractors and the gun rights group.
The lawsuit alleges that the ordinance, which took effect on April 1, violates constitutional protections for free speech and association under the First Amendment and the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Under the ordinance, city contractors are required to fully disclose any sponsorship of, or contract with, the NRA. It was approved unanimously by the Los Angeles City Council in February. It allows the city to terminate a contract if the contractor does not disclose all ties with the NRA.
The ordinance cites the NRA’s blocking of “sensible gun safety reform” even in the aftermath of several mass shootings in the U.S. It says public funding provided to contractors with ties to the NRA “undermines the City’s efforts to legislate and promote gun safety.”
“I support this policy, I’m confident in it, and we’re not going to be bullied by the NRA,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in an emailed statement.
Other supporters of the ordinance called the NRA’s lawsuit “desperate.”
“The NRA’s First Amendment rights remain firmly in place while the City chooses to exercise its own rights to require disclosing who has ties to the NRA, so residents of Los Angeles know how and where their tax dollars are being spent,” said council member Mitch O’Farrell, who originally introduced the measure, in an emailed statement.
The NRA’s First Amendment rights may well be uninfringed, but other Second Amendment supporters aren’t so lucky.
In this country, we’re supposed to be free to support whatever politics we want. More importantly, we’re not supposed to have to worry about being able to support our families because of our political views, especially due to government regulation. Yet that’s precisely what we see out of Los Angeles.
Honestly, I don’t think this one survives a legal challenge. I think the city is going to be hardpressed to find any constitutional grounds for requiring disclosure of such ties except where a clear conflict of interest may lie.
That’s not what this is about. It’s about sending a clear signal to gun rights supporters that “our kind” isn’t wanted for contracts with the city of Los Angeles.
For me, this isn’t a big deal. They’re not likely to fire up a Second Amendment-supporting website anytime soon, so it’s not like it’ll impact me. It won’t impact most of you, either.
But it will impact a lot of gun rights advocates who live in Southern California who may or may not want to apply for contracts with Los Angeles. Due to the size of the city, contracts could be worth a fortune, and now they’re expressly denied to anyone who doesn’t hold the right views on gun rights.
Oh, sure, it doesn’t ask specific questions. Gun Owners of America members, for example, don’t have to disclose any such ties, but we also have to look into the minds of those who passed this measure.
In their mind, the NRA is the grand boogeyman. That’s the only obstacle they can think of to gun rights being completely repealed–not the six million members or anything, just the NRA–and so they want to remove it. They want to punish gun rights supporters, and that means punishing people with ties to the NRA.
Now, they’ll have to answer in court, as they should.