Two editorial columns at opposite sides of the country just drew a line that even the San Francisco Board of Supervisors should be able to see after their unanimous approval of a resolution earlier this week declaring the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.”
Writing at the Los Angeles Times, senior editorial writer Michael McGough cautioned readers that, “it’s not the business of a county board of supervisors to designate terror organizations.” He didn’t stop there, explaining that the anti-NRA resolution “is particularly inappropriate because it is couched in language that could leave the impression that its declaration about a national issue actually has legal force.”
McGough advised readers to “look for NRA supporters to point to the San Francisco supervisors’ resolution to argue that this and similar bills will threaten the organization and its exercise of 1st Amendment rights.”
Meanwhile, back east at the Washington Post, columnist Henry Olsen came out swinging at liberals who think it’s just peachy to sneer at conservatives without hesitation or interruption.
“Liberals often wonder where conservatives get the notion that they are hated and despised,” Olsen writes. “Wonder no more: Just look at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ resolution labeling the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.”
The resolution is the handiwork of Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who was quoted by KQED News:
“The NRA conspires to limit gun violence research, restrict gun violence data sharing and most importantly aggressively tries to block every piece of sensible gun violence prevention legislation proposed on any level, local state or federal.” Stefani said.
In an interview with KTVU News, Stefani added this: “The NRA has it coming to them, and I will do everything that I possibly can to call them out on what they are, which is a domestic terrorist organization.”
Gun owners read these remarks and two words immediately come to mind: Social Bigotry.
The Washington Post’s Olsen sums it up:
“This is McCarthyism, pure and simple. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy was rightly condemned for trying to stigmatize the American left in the 1950s by labeling it Communist and ‘un-American.’ McCarthy’s witch hunts destroyed the careers of many people whose only ‘crime’ was supporting a larger federal government and supporting a different foreign policy toward the Soviet Union. San Francisco’s policy toward the NRA commits the same sin.”
Ammoland News’ report on the resolution has gone viral, with dozens of readers weighing in, and their remarks range from amused to appalled.
But some might conclude what Stefani and her colleagues did was provide an opportunity for at least two members of the working press to set a boundary; show readers what crosses the line when discussing philosophical differences with the firearms community’s largest organization.
The L.A. Times’ McGough says the NRA “richly deserves criticism for its role in preventing the enactment of sensible gun-control legislation. The Los Angeles Times put the matter bluntly in an editorial in February: ‘Because of the gun group’s cynical hard-line policies and near-religious embrace of the 2nd Amendment, more and more Americans live at daily risk from gunfire, be it from a random shooter, from an intimate partner or by their own hands.’”
So maybe that newspaper’s editorial board should get part of the blame for stirring animosity for the NRA.
Newspapers are in an awkward position when they find themselves compelled to defend an organization for which they fundamentally have no use other than as a political foil to kick around.
But don’t newspapers exhibit a “near-religious embrace” of the 1st Amendment? If Congress and the California Assembly were treating the First Amendment like they are treating the Second, newspaper editorial pages might be howling for a revolution…at which point they would finally, albeit begrudgingly and reluctantly, understand what the Second Amendment is really all about, and why it, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, must be defended vigorously against ideas such as those put forth by the San Francisco “domestic terrorism” resolution, and against the people who sponsor and approve such demagoguery.