The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday declaring the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization” and urging the city to examine its financial relationships with companies that do business with the group.
The sharply worded declaration noted recent acts of gun violence, including the July shooting that killed three people, all younger than 26, at a food festival in Gilroy, Calif., south of San Francisco.
“The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” it read. “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 resolution, adopted unanimously by the board’s 11 supervisors, notes many of the statistics that make the United States stand out in terms of gun violence, stating that the country’s gun homicide rate is “25 times higher than any other high-income country in the world” and that 36,000 people in the United States die in gun-related incidents every year, an average of 100 per day.
It also said the city would assess its financial and contractual relationships with vendors that do business with the NRA.
“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,” it noted.
Supervisor Catherine Stefani told reporters that she had decided to write the declaration after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. A gunman there killed a 6-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 25-year-old before taking his own life. The mass shooting was followed within days by massacres in El Paso, where a gunman killed 22 people, and Dayton, Ohio, where a man killed nine people.
“The NRA conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and most importantly aggressively tries to block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed on any level, local state or federal,” Stefani said, according to KQED. “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.”
Stefani told The Washington Post that she believed the group had earned the designation as a “terrorist organization.”
“They should reasonably know by now that they are fueling the hate fire in this country,” she said. “People are dying, and they continue to stand in the way of reform.”
Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NRA, called the resolution a “reckless assault on a law-abiding organization, its members and the freedoms they all stand for.”
“This is just another worthless and disgusting ‘sound bite remedy’ to the violence epidemic gripping our nation,” she said. “We remain undeterred — guided by our values and belief in those who want to find real solutions to gun violence.”
The NRA has been at the center of political tensions in recent years as horrific acts of gun violence continue to regularly punctuate the political conversation. New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is investigating the group’s finances over its tax-exempt status as a nonprofit group.
Lawrence B. Glickman, professor of history at Cornell University, said it was unusual for governments to orchestrate boycotts of private entities.
“Municipalities in the era of the American Revolution called for ostracism or boycotting of individuals who violated the non-importation movement by using, for example, British tea,” he wrote in an email. “Those might be the clearest antecedents for the SF Board of Supervisors decision.”