The city of Los Angeles has been ordered to pay the National Rifle Association $150,000 after Mayor Garcetti and co. were caught trying to strong arm and intimidate city contractors who had ties to the gun organization. Federal Judge Stephen Wilson, of the Central District of California, ruled that the city’s tactics were a violation of the contractors’ 1st Amendment rights of free speech and free association. The city will be paying out $100,000 plus attorney fees.
In April of last year, the city passed a resolution that included all of the normal rhetorical bloviations about guns, and read, in part “The City of Los Angeles has enacted ordinances and adopted positions that promote gunsafety and sensible gun ownership. The City’s residents deserve to know if the City’s public funds are spent on contractors that have contractual or sponsorship ties with the NRA. Public funds provided to such contractors undermines the City’s efforts to legislate and promote gun safety…. this ordinance requires those seeking to do business with the City to fully and accurately disclose any and all contracts with or sponsorship of the NRA.”
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 against the ordinance shortly after it was implemented in April 2019. Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NRA, told the Washington Free Beacon the rulings prove the city unfairly targeted the group because of its advocacy.
“Violations of any constitutional rights by government officials should carry consequences,” she said. “The courts have rightfully imposed those consequences upon Los Angeles. The NRA will continue our fight and, as always, work to hold politicians accountable.”
Neither Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti (D.) nor councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (D.), who sponsored the ordinance, responded to requests for comment.
The NRA won a similar court battle last year, when San Francisco backed down after declaring them to be a “terrorist organization” and attempted similar blacklisting of city contractors.