(Reuters) – The National Rifle Association (NRA) sued San Francisco on Monday after the recent declaration by the city’s Board of Supervisors that the NRA is a terrorist organisation, media reported.
The suit also claimed that the move by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors to limit city agencies from working with companies doing business with the NRA was effectively a blacklist, the San Francisco Chronicle and other media reported.
It comes after heightened debate in the United States following a spate of devastating mass shootings, including one last month at an El Paso Walmart in which 22 people were killed and about 24 wounded in the city near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The NRA, a gun club and gun rights lobbying group with deep political influence, alleged in the suit that the city was violating its free speech rights for political reasons, the media reports said.
“This lawsuit comes with a message to those who attack the NRA: We will never stop fighting for our law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms,” Wayne LaPierre, the group’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
However, Supervisor Catherine Stefani of the San Francisco board, who introduced the measure, said she believed their action would stand up in court, according to the New York Times.
“It’s a resolution, it’s not an ordinance, it’s non-binding,” she told the newspaper.
The suit asks the court to “instruct elected officials that freedom of speech means you cannot silence or punish those with whom you disagree,” the Washington Post reported.
Neither city officials nor a representative for the NRA were immediately available for comment.
The suit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Paul Tait)