Some Stories Have a Happy Ending

When city governments can’t handle excrement on the sidewalks, crime, potholes, and other traditional responsibilities, they often respond by launching grandiose but wholly useless initiatives. They might try to change the weather or, as in the case of San Francisco, destroy America’s oldest and most effective civil rights organization.

We wrote about San Francisco’s attack on the National Rifle Association here. San Francisco not only adopted a resolution labeling the NRA a “terrorist organization,” which is ridiculous, not to mention pointless. It also threatened to boycott not only the NRA, but any company that does business with the NRA–a wholly un-American attempt to suppress free speech.

The NRA reacted to San Francisco’s attack as you would expect: it sued. Jim Geraghty reports that the city has already surrendered:

The NRA sued, and lo and behold, San Francisco is backing down, before the suit even went to court.

In a formal memo to city officials, San Francisco mayor London Breed declared that “no [municipal] department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA.”

The memo declares, “resolutions making policy statements do not impose duties on City departments, change any of the City’s existing laws or policies, or control City departments’ exercise of discretion.”

In other words: never mind. The NRA’s lawyer comments:

“The memo serves as a clear concession and a well-deserved win for the First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel for the NRA. “It is unfortunate that in today’s polarized times, some elected officials would rather silence opposing arguments than engage in good-faith debate. The NRA – America’s oldest civil rights organization – won’t stand for that.”

It isn’t clear from Geraghty’s report whether San Francisco’s surrender is permanent and enforceable, so that the NRA can dismiss its lawsuit without prejudice. But it sounds from Brewer’s statement as though that is the case.

Meanwhile, the NRA continues to pursue a similar lawsuit against Los Angeles, which adopted a similarly benighted policy. Fighting for free speech is like weeding your garden–it is a task that never really ends.