NRA sues Los Angeles over law requiring disclosure of ties to gun group

US

(Reuters) – The National Rifle Association sued Los Angeles on Wednesday over a new law requiring that contractors disclose their ties to the gun rights group as a condition of obtaining business from the second most-populous U.S. city.

An attendee speaks to representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA) at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S., March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Los Angeles was accused of trying to “silence NRA’s voice, as well as the voices of all those who dare oppose the city’s broad gun-control agenda,” by cutting off revenue streams the group needs to advocate for the right to bear arms.

The lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court challenged an ordinance that took effect on April 1, requiring companies that want city contracts to disclose NRA contracts or sponsorships.

According to the NRA, the law is unconstitutional because it violates its First Amendment right to free speech and association, and its 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was also named as a defendant, signed the law on Feb. 18, six days after its passage by the Los Angeles City Council. The city has about 4 million people.

Neither the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office nor Garcetti’s office immediately responded to requests for comment.

Wednesday’s lawsuit came 11 months after the NRA sued New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, accusing him of threatening its survival by pushing insurers and state-chartered banks to stop doing business with gun rights groups.

New York has denied the NRA’s “blacklisting” accusations.

The Los Angeles ordinance was passed in response to recent mass shootings in the United States. It said there have been more than 1,600 since the December 2012 attack at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Shootings that were specifically cited included the November 2018 killing of 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, the October 2018 deaths of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, and the October 2017 killing of 58 people at a Las Vegas music concert.

According to the NRA, the Los Angeles law has nothing to do with awarding contracts to the best candidates, but simply discriminates against the group and its supporters because the city dislikes their views.

“This is one of the largest cities in the country using its power to bully lawful businesses and individual members based on their political viewpoint,” the complaint said.

The case is National Rifle Association et al v City of Los Angeles et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 19-03212.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Tom Brown

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