On Tuesday, the L.A. City Council passed an ordinance forcing companies with contracts with the city to reveal whether they have ties to the National Rifle Association.
There was no hint of dissent in the vote, which was unanimously passed, 14-0. The new policy jives with the City Council’s ordinance that was passed in 2017 requiring companies involved with the city to reveal if they were helping President Trump’s plans for a border wall with Mexico.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who brought the NRA bill before the council, blustered that the NRA has “been a road block to gun safety reform at every level of government now for several decades.” Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, echoed, “Let’s take a look at who we’re doing businesses with who is doing business with the NRA.”
In August 2017, the Los Angeles City Council, determined to flout President Trump’s effort to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, voted to draft a law forcing companies seeking or doing business with the city to reveal whether they have contracts to help design, build or provide supplies for “any proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States of America.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that the 2017 law was proposed by Councilman Gil Cedillo, who said, “We want to know if there are people who do business with the city of Los Angeles ... who wish to profit from building a wall that would divide us from our nearest and dearest neighbor Mexico.” He added that the idea of the wall was “repugnant,” terming it a racist and xenophobic plan. Cedillo pontificated, “Immigrants are the foundation, here in Los Angeles, of our economy. They are tightly woven into the social fabric of this city. And you cannot separate them or divide their families here in this city without disrupting the character of this city.”
Before the vote, Council President Herb Wesson stated, “I do think that it’s important for us on this council to send a message as to ... what our values are and the type of people that we want to do business with.”
The NRA’s attorneys have said they would file a lawsuit if the newly-passed ordinance became law; they sent a letter arguing that the law violates the 1st Amendment, adding it would be “an unconstitutional effort to restrict and chill an individual’s right to associate and express their political beliefs.”
NRA attorney Chuck Michel told the 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. This is modern day McCarthyism, and my clients are confident no judge will let it stand.”
The Studio City Neighborhood Council told the City Council that focusing on the NRA “smacks of politics, makes little sense and could result in unwanted legal costs.”