Back in November Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell made a motion requesting the City Attorney draft an ordinance requiring potential contractors “to disclose, under affidavit, (1) any contracts it or any of its subsidiaries has with the National Rifle Association; and (2) any sponsorship it or any of its subsidiaries provides to the National Rifle Association,” as our Alex Parker covered. Not surprisingly, the motion passed unanimously.
City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose looks and intellect resemble Borat, got to work, and on Tuesday the council unanimously passed the final ordinance. While the ordinance requires contractors to disclose any NRA ties, it does not bar them from doing business with the city, and contains numerous exceptions.
What this really is, is an attempt to place a scarlet letter on businesses who support Second Amendment rights. The two-page “whereas” section list numerous mass shooting incidents and anti-NRA talking points, then concludes with:
“WHEREAS, the City of Los Angeles has enacted ordinances and adopted positions that promote gun safety 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…”
Here’s how I picture this playing out. Some anti-gun ninnies (AGN’s) will scour every bid and see which contractors have NRA ties. I’m sure some of them will even do their own research, especially if the owner is a conservative, to see if there are potentially non-disclosed NRA ties. Then they’ll mount a PR campaign to ensure that contractor doesn’t get the contract.
Beyond that, AGN’s will use these disclosures to internet shame any companies with NRA ties as an attempt to ruin their businesses.
On Feb. 4 the NRA sent the City a letter promising litigation if the ordinance passed, saying it is “an unconstitutional effort to restrict and chill an individual’s right to associate and express their political beliefs.” NRA attorney Chuck Michel told the L.A. Times:
“Politicians are free to disagree with the NRA’s pro-freedom, firearm safety, and self-reliance message, but they aren’t free to censor it — as this would do when NRA supporters drop their NRA memberships for fear of losing their livelihood from being on this blacklist,” Michel said. “This is modern day McCarthyism, and my clients are confident no judge will let it stand.”
Though Councilmember O’Farrell says Feuer assured him they were on “firm legal footing,” a requirement to disclose one’s political affiliations clearly violates the First Amendment. Presumably Feuer believes that since the ordinance doesn’t bar the City from doing business with firms who have NRA ties that it’s okay.
Also, the ordinance creates another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy in an already business-unfriendly city.
On the bright side, at least one citizens’ group in the city opposed the ordinance:
“Groups opposing the new ordinance include the Studio City Neighborhood Council, which sent a statement to the City Council saying that while “stakeholders are concerned about gun violence,” singling out an organization “smacks of politics, makes little sense and could result in unwanted legal costs.”
Aside from the fact that this ordinance promotes unconstitutional and blatant discrimination, it’s silly because it only focuses on one of the numerous Second Amendment advocacy groups active in the state, such as Gun Owners of America, Firearms Policy Coalition, and The Calguns Foundation. Business owners could cut ties with the NRA and join all of the above-referenced groups and get around Los Angeles’ ordinance.