Thursday September 5, 2019
Unsettled by recent mass shootings across the nation, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution this week declaring the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization.The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani on July 30, two days after a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., in which three people were killed and more than a dozen others injured.
Before the resolution was put to a vote on Tuesday, Ms. Stefani spoke about the “carnage across this country,” also citing mass shootings last month in El Paso; Dayton, Ohio; and near Odessa, Tex.
Ms. Stefani said the N.R.A. 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 N.R.A. exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us,” Ms. Stefani said in a statement. “Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the N.R.A.”
While the resolution has no practical effect, Ms. Stefani said in an interview on Wednesday, “I firmly believe that words matter, and I think this is a step in fighting the negative impact of the N.R.A.”
The N.R.A. 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 on Wednesday. “This is a reckless assault on a law-abiding organization, 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 N.R.A. 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 organization’s chief executive, calling on N.R.A. members to stand up as Americans.
In a news release on 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 organizations 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 that of 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 U.S. 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.