The National Rifle Association isn’t having the best 2020 ever. After all, among everything else, they have a state attorney general trying to literally shut them down for political reasons.
Yet the NRA is kind of used to being attacked. It’s par for the course, really. At least it is these days.
However, one city might be just a smidge more hesitant to attack the nation’s oldest civil rights group after a judge handed them a bit of a smackdown.
A federal court ordered Los Angeles to hand over more than $100,000 to the National Rifle Association after ruling that the city had violated the gun-rights group’s First Amendment rights.
Federal district court judge Stephen Wilson struck down a city ordinance aimed at punishing prospective contractors with ties to the NRA as an infringement on the right to free speech and association. On Tuesday, he ordered city officials to pay for the Second Amendment group’s attorney fees, which totaled nearly $150,000.
“In this case, the text of the Ordinance, the Ordinance’s legislative history, and the concurrent public statements made by the Ordinance’s primary legislative sponsor evince a strong intent to suppress the speech of the NRA,” Wilson ruled in December. “Even though the Ordinance only forces disclosure of activity that may not be expressive, the clear purpose of the disclosure is to undermine the NRA’s explicitly political speech.”
The NRA filed suit back in April 2019, which was to be expected. The same can be said about the eventual outcome, really. After all, it’s clear that the city was trying to hurt people who sided with a political group they didn’t approve of, a clear violation of their First Amendment rights.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, did this make a whole lot of difference? Probably not, unfortunately.
For you or me, $150,000 is a lot of money, but for the city of Los Angeles? I mean, this is a city that spends almost $1.2 billion just on police, not counting any of the other things the city does. I’m pretty sure they won’t miss $150,000 enough that it’ll really teach them a lesson.
No, I suspect that they’ll consult with some attorneys and try to figure out just how they can rework this in a way that may pass just enough of a legal sniff test they can get away with it.
The truth of the matter, though, is that we’re living in a world where your politics can and will be held against you, particularly if you support things like gun rights. The city of Los Angeles made if very clear who they want to do business with and they were attempting to codify that into law. They just couldn’t.
Make no mistake, though. They still know who they want to do business with, and it’s up to people in Los Angeles to fight this kind of thing. After all, they might be trying to start with the NRA, but do you really believe that’s where it will end? Today, it’s a group most in LA don’t care for, but who would it be next?
Luckily, they did get slapped down. It’s possible the threat of another, more expensive slap down keeps them in check. I just wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.