Judge Issues Injunction Blocking Los Angeles Law Requiring Businesses to Disclose NRA Ties

nra national rifle association logo

Courtesy NRA

In February, the City of Los Angeles enacted an ordinance requiring that any contractor doing business with the city disclose any contracts or sponsorships it may have with the National Rifle Association.

This was a clear attack on the NRA and a blatantly unconstitutional one, at that. The Supreme Court ruled in 1960 that compulsory disclosures of political associations violate the right to free association under the Fourteenth Amendment. That fact must have slipped by the L.A. city council and its attorneys.

The Court wrote in its ruling that to mandate such disclosures . . .

…is to impair his right of free association, a right closely allied to freedom of speech and a right which, like free speech, lies at the foundation of a free society.

The NRA, as you’d expect, sued the city over the ordinance.

Now US District Court Judge Steven Wilson has issued a preliminary injunction, blocking enforcement of the noxious law. TTAG contributor LKB read through the injunction order and highlighted this paragraph:

The City’s intent, as established by the overwhelming evidence on this record, is to suppress the message of the NRA. Such motivation is impermissible under the First Amendment and provides no justification for the Ordinance. We therefore conclude the Ordinance is a content-based regulation of speech, and it must survive strict scrutiny.

As LKB noted,

Not surprisingly, once strict scrutiny is applied to a First Amendment challenge, the law in question goes down for the count.
Imagine if strict scrutiny was equally applied to all enumerated civil rights.

Here’s the AP’s report . . .

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked enforcement of a Los Angeles law requiring businesses that want city contracts to disclose whether they have ties to the National Rifle Association.

The NRA’s request for a preliminary injunction was granted by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson in Los Angeles. It temporarily prohibits enforcement of the measure while the case unfolds. The next step could be an appeal by the city or an NRA request to make the injunction permanent.

The judge also threw out part of the lawsuit on technical grounds and removed the city clerk and Mayor Eric Garcetti as defendants but he refused to entirely dismiss the lawsuit.

The ordinance that took effect in April was passed in response to mass shootings around the country, including a November 2018 attack that killed 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, northwest of L.A. It requires those wanting city contracts to disclose whether they have contracts or sponsorship from the gun-rights group.

“Public funds provided to such contractors undermines the city’s efforts to legislate and promote gun safety,” the law said.

The NRA argued that the measure violates the constitutional First Amendment right to free speech and association and the 14th Amendment right to equal protection. NRA attorney Chuck Michel called it “modern-day McCarthyism” that would force NRA supporters to drop their memberships for fear of losing their livelihoods.

In his ruling, the judge said the city contends that granting contracts to those “with business ties to the NRA invariably creates more NRA membership, which leads to more pro-gun advocacy, laxer gun laws, and inevitably more mass shootings.”

“Even if this chain of logic was supported by fact, the city is not permitted to restrict political speech as a means of achieving its goal of safer cities,” Wilson ruled.

Messages seeking comment from an NRA spokesperson and attorneys for the city were not immediately returned.

The NRA has been battling a number of challenges to its operations in recent months, including an investigation by the attorney general in New York, where its charter was formed, and the attorney general in Washington, D.C., where authorities are questioning whether its operations are in violation of its nonprofit status. Several corporations also have cut ties to the group.

The NRA sued the city of San Francisco earlier this year over a September resolution by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that declared the group a “domestic terrorist organization.” The NRA alleged the resolution, which had no legal weight, violated the group’s free speech rights. However, it withdrew the suit in November.

comments

  1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Just another attempt of many to “otherize” gun owners. I hope the the injunction is made permanent and LA government gets bitch slapped.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Just another attempt of many to “otherize” gun owners.”

      Yup. The way to deal with that is to apply the Civil Rights playbook of the 50s and 60s to gun rights.

      Just substitute the word “Black” for any type of firearm, and see if the law passes the smell test…

  2. avatar Sam I Am says:

    OooooKaaaaayyyy. Put one in the NRA “This is what we have done for you recently box”. Let’s hope they have the staying power to press this all the way.

    1. avatar Baldwin says:

      Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
      And Wayne still sux.

    2. avatar David Bradford says:

      I beg to differ, it was NOT done for us. Although it is a bad anti 2A ordinance that needed to be put down, the NRA’s action was simply an act of self preservation and had nothing to do with gun owners rights.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Hear, hear!

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        Let’s try this again. Any contractor who wished to work for the City of LA was required to disclose an NRA affiliation–which would mean that the contractor would not get the job because the City Council is 100% anti-gun, as is the city attorney. so tell me again how this lawsuit ONLY benefits the NRA, as opposed to any of those NRA members who want to contract with the City for the millions of dollars in contracts it issues every year.,

        1. avatar David Bradford says:

          As I said, Yes it was a BAD ORDNANCE, and yes it would have caused harm to businesses other than the NRA. But if it had not specifically named the NRA, the NRA would have done absolutely nothing to stop it. The NRA seems to be focused on damage control and cares nothing for its members nor for their opinions on how the NRA is operating.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “But if it had not specifically named the NRA, the NRA would have done absolutely nothing to stop it.”

          Perhaps, but it is conjecture. Anytime NRA fights to overturn a law, I will happily accept the action as a win for gun owners, and the industry. Of particular note, NRA offered no opportunity to negotiate a compromise.

        3. avatar Sian says:

          ” But if it had not specifically named the NRA, the NRA would have done absolutely nothing to stop it.”

          Wayne sux, but the NRA is not a first amendment advocacy organization. If they had not been named then it wouldn’t have been their fight to begin with.

  3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    Yup, LA is correct…the Eddie Eagle and School Shield programs are the very hallmark of vileness.
    /sarc

    What is it about California…is it the air, water, the fear of thinking about tectonic annihilation…that promotes totalitarian ideals? Why do the uber-rich dilettantes of Hollywood and the farthest Left shit-stirrers find acceptance for their distorted moral / legal views?

    We only thought that Escape from LA was a work of fiction…turns out that it was a prophetic look at our future.

    1. avatar HP says:

      A few more terms of DeBlasio or anyone like him and Escape from NY will be equally prophetic

      1. avatar M says:

        Well, the problem is those who escape LA and NYC go ruin other states. They are like locusts. Californian liberals have been moving to Colorado, Idaho, Arizona by the thousands for years, and so do NY-era to Florida. Then they vote for the same kind of politicians, and complain about the same issues they had back home (overpopulation, traffic, cost of living going up, crime).

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Yup, LA is correct…the Eddie Eagle and School Shield programs are the very hallmark of vileness.”

      Just straight-up ask an anti what their problem is with the Eddie Eagle program. What in the program is objectionable. Do they want children hurt or killed due to ignorance of unsafe gun handling?

      We have an opportunity to really nail their hides to the side of the barn on this…

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Just straight-up ask an anti what their problem is with the Eddie Eagle program. What in the program is objectionable. Do they want children hurt or killed due to ignorance of unsafe gun handling?”

        Broter-In-Law answered that one Thanksgiving…..”We don’t want out kids to have anything to do with guns. If they find one, we told the to run away, and tell an adult; no need to handle a gun, ever.”

        When asked if leaving a firearm unattended wasn’t just adding to the danger, BIL said, “It’s not adding to the danger of our children, because they ran away, and did not touch the gun. We are not responsible for what someone else does.”

        Besides the fun of spinning BIL up, such a closed discussion left no room for further discussion along the lines of firearm safety taught in the school.

        1. avatar UpInArms says:

          ” We are not responsible for what someone else does. ”

          Sounds like the B-in-Law has some serious disconnect issues. The whole foundation of gun control is to make all gun owners responsible for “what someone else does”, is it not?

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “The whole foundation of gun control is to make all gun owners responsible for “what someone else does”, is it not?”

          BIL would probably not disagree with your assessment, but with a twist: leaving the scene where a random gun is found is not actually doing anything, whereas gun owners are doing something that actively harms others.

          What is comical, and BIL hasn’t hit on it yet, is that he will argue about guns all day, but doesn’t seem to grasp that he and his family are in the presence of gun owners who are carrying. And the arguments can get noisy.

        3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Remember when it was proposed to have sex ed, birth control, and venereal disease prevention taught in schools and some conservatives really got their noses all bent out of joint?

          The Leftist’s argument to do it (and the correct one, in my opinion) was simple and logical – There isn’t a damn thing you can do about it, the kids are gonna fuck. Might as well give them the correct information, so at least when tab “A” is inserted into slot “A”, “B”, (or wherever) pregnancy and disease at least have the chance of being avoided.

          We use the same exact chapter of the Leftist playbook against them. Sure, you think your little Johnny would *never* touch a gun, the same way in time immortal mothers and fathers believed their precious little Sally would *never* get knocked up.

          Puritan conservatives pitched a fit about explicit sex education in grades as low as elementary school , we can do the exact same with gun education, and use the same argument. Guns are out there, kids will find them, and kids will die. It’s a simple public health issue, and knowledge will save lives. Actual “Gun Safety”. Duh.

          We *must* push this, hard. And mock them the same way they mocked the puritans about sex ed. Point out the clear parallels in the risk to human life, and call them out as hypocrites. Even if schools make it optional, the kids whose parent’s wont let them attend the class are gonna be damn curious about what the big deal is… 😉

        4. avatar David Bradford says:

          This was in my FB feed today. Found it annoying at first but some how seem appropriate for this argument.
          https://www.facebook.com/lester.valentine/videos/10157449949567626/

  4. avatar rt66paul says:

    The NRA did not do this for us, they did it for the NRA. This is very self serving of them, I don’t blame them at all, but it has more to do with the NRA as an entity and much less to do with guns.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    I have a couple of NRA ties hanging in my closet. Does that disclosure satisfy Los Angeles, or do I have to tell them the colors too?

  6. avatar moreadventuresonotherplanets says:

    This is the type of case the disingenuous gun hating courts love. They can pretend to be pro 2A because the law was not banning guns.

  7. avatar enuf says:

    Not at all surprising really. Political partisanship makes people stupid, as evidenced by the moronic bullshit spewed by Republicans and Democrats on a constant basis. Hoplophobia is an irrational fear that finds a welcoming place within one of America’s two primary collections of delusional ideologues.

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      ” Political partisanship makes people stupid ”

      I dunno… just as likely it’s the stupid that makes people politically partisan. Either way, the two seem to be intimately connected.

  8. avatar Hankus says:

    Time to cut off all sales of arms and ammo to CA, period. If the citizens can’t have any, then neither can the LEOs.

    Give them a real taste of what it’s like when only criminals are armed. Let CA burn for a while until they end the campaign of stupid.

    Make Newsom beg, and enjoy the antics by Auntie Pelosi.

    1. avatar Prndll says:

      What are the chances of convincing all firearms and ammo manufacturers to go that direction? Given that the California state government can decide to manufacture their own just like the rest of the world, it would be something interesting to see.

  9. avatar No one of consequence says:

    And the actual repercussions for the politicians who proposed, voted for, and signed into law this odius legislation?

    Crickets.

    Laws and ordinances like this will continue to be passed until the politicians are held to account, personally and professionally.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      A consequence is certainly rich and fat lawyers.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “A consequence is certainly rich and fat lawyers.”

        Lawyers have their place.

        Earlier this year, I paid a lawyer 5 grand for his work, and that put several multiples of that in my hand as cold, hard *cash* …

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “Even if this chain of logic was supported by fact, the city is not permitted to restrict political speech firearm possession as a means of achieving its goal of safer cities.”

    Wouldn’t that be grand? I fail to see why this should not be the case.

  11. avatar John Henry says:

    To take the absurdity of this law even further the City would need to disclose its indirect ties to the NRA when purchasing magazines, firearms, etc. for it’s police force(s)! Enacting a law where you have to report yourself, what a thought………………….

  12. avatar MarkPA says:

    This case inspires me to wonder: Is there a difference among rights? E.g., is there a difference between the right to speak the the right to keep and bear arms?

    Arguably, there IS a difference.
    – Will someone die if speech (press, association, religion) is not regulated?
    – Will someone die if the keeping and bearing of arms is not regulated?

    It might be equally argued that “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

    Reasoning as illustrated above probably won’t get us closer to an answer.

    It may be more fruitful to consider whether a law will be effective in preventing harm to society notwithstanding that it regulates a right.

    Could a law mandating duct-taping theater goers’ mouths prevent someone from yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater? If it could not do so, then it ought to be subjected to strict scrutiny. What would the net positive and negative consequences be? A theater goer’s ill intent MIGHT be thwarted; a positive effect. Yet, a theatre goer desiring to warn of a genuine fire he observes would likewise be prevented from shouting “Fire!”; a negative effect. What is the net? If negative, then again strict scrutiny is called for.

    If we really believe our duct-tape law will stop the one with ill intent then we must also expect it to stop the other with good intent. Yet, if we believe the other will defy our duct-tape law in case of genuine emergency then we must admit that the one with ill intent will defy our law as well.

    Could a law (explicitly or by disparate impact) forbidding bearing arms prevent someone with ill intent from concealed carry? Would it prevent another from defending herself? What is the net? If negative, then again strict scrutiny is equally applicable. We hold that someone with ill intent will defy the law (our law is ineffective against him) while at the same time another person of good will will obey the law to her own peril. Clearly, the net effect is negative.

    Does this reasoning hold water? Is it persuasive?

    1. avatar Mark says:

      Please stop with the “shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater” discredited-trope and read about Brandenburg v. Ohio.

  13. avatar Mark N. says:

    Actually, the City was not oblivious to the clear unconstitutionality of the ir ordinance–they had been warned before it was even passed that they would be sued and on what grounds before they ever passed it. But they, and their rabidly anti-gun City Attorney Fleuer, did not care. Any more than the City of NY cared when a challenge to their ordinance now before the Supreme Court. It is one of those, if you don’t like it, “so sue me.” The City’s attorneys are on salary after all. It only hurts when the case results in a permanent injuction and the City has to pay the NRA’s legal fees

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