San Francisco legislative body declares NRA a domestic terrorist organisation
Spokeswoman says group conspire to limit gun violence research and sharing of data
People leave flowers at a makeshift memorial for shooting victims at the Cielo Vista Mall Walmart, in El Paso, Texas, on August 6th. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a resolution this week declaring the National Rifle Association (NRA) a domestic terrorist organisation.
The legislative body within the government of the city and county of San Francisco in California has been unsettled by recent mass shootings across the nation.
The resolution was introduced by supervisor Catherine Stefani on July 30th, two days after a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, in which three people were killed and more than a dozen injured.
Ms Stefani said the NRA conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed at local, state and federal levels.
“The NRA exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorise us,” Ms Stefani said in a statement.
“Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the NRA.” While the resolution has no practical effect, Ms Stefani said Wednesday, “I firmly believe that words matter, and I think this is a step in fighting the negative impact of the NRA.”
The NRA saw the action as a publicity stunt. “This is just another worthless and disgusting ‘sound-bite remedy’ to the violence epidemic gripping our nation,” Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the association, said in a statement Wednesday.
“This is a reckless assault on a law-abiding organisation, its members, and the freedoms they all stand for. We remain undeterred, guided by our values and belief in those who want to find real solutions to gun violence.”
The NRA also responded on Twitter, saying that it was “the fabric of American society” and “San Fran should be ashamed.” The post included a video of Wayne LaPierre, the organisation’s chief executive, calling on NRA members to stand up as Americans.
In a news release Wednesday, Ms Stefani referred to the federal justice department’s definition of terrorist activity, which involves the use of a firearm, weapon or dangerous device to endanger the safety of individuals. The definition also includes members of organisations that provide funds, weapons or training to individuals who commit terrorist acts.
The gun homicide rate in the United States is 25 times higher than any other high-income country and the gun ownership rate is two times higher, Ms Stefani said. With 393 million guns in this country, there are more guns than people, she added.
“Every country on Earth has video games, movies and mental health issues, and yet only the US has gun violence at elementary schools, at the movies, at Walmart,” Ms Stefani said. “The difference is guns. No other country has so many assault rifles on their streets.”
In August alone, 53 people died in mass shootings, including 22 in El Paso; nine in Dayton; and seven near Odessa. The justice department defines a mass killing as three or more deaths in a single episode, excluding the death of a gunman. –New York Times