(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Los Angeles must pay the National Rifle Association $150,000 in damages after a federal court ruled the city violated the organization’s First Amendment rights, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
A federal judge ordered the payment about 10 months after he decided the case in favor of the NRA.
The ruling came in response to a Los Angeles city resolution in April 2019 that declared the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and an ordinance that punished city contractors who associated with the Second Amendment advocacy group.
When passing the ordinance, the Los Angeles City Council determined that awarding contracts to NRA-supporting groups would undermine its “efforts to legislate and promote gun safety.”
The NRA quickly responded with a lawsuit in April, calling the ordinance an “unconstitutional ideological litmus test for independent contractors, requiring that they disclose information about their political beliefs and associations,” the Free Beacon reported.
Central California District Court judge Stephen Wilson in December 2019 ruled that the ordinance, by punishing businesses that associate with a group dedicated to defending the Constitution, violated the First Amendment rights to the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly.
“In this case, the text of the Ordinance, the Ordinance’s legislative history, and the concurrent public statements made by the Ordinance’s primary legislative sponsor evince a strong intent to suppress the speech of the NRA,” Wilson wrote in his opinion.
San Francisco passed a similar ordinance, but Democratic Mayor London Breed — apparently realizing the ordinance’s lack of wisdom — told city employees not to consider whether a business supports the NRA in awarding contracts, the Free Beacon reported.
The Los Angeles City Council said in February that it would repeal the unconstitutional ordinance and tell contractors that their support for the NRA could remain confidential.