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Harold Hutchison / May 7, 2019

New York and Los Angeles Target NRA's Free Speech

Democrats are going after the First Amendment in a bid to silence the NRA.

Recent controversy with the National Rifle Association has dominated a lot of conservative media. Yet the real story is obscured by the drama between people who are devoted to the protection of our right to keep and bear arms.

Let’s make this very clear at the outset — everyone who gets involved with the NRA in an official or professional capacity has a deep commitment to the defense of the Second Amendment. What has led to this — especially in recent months — comes as a result of the actions by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regime in New York.

Cuomo’s actions have already had an effect on the NRA’s ability to carry out its mission, per the organization’s lawsuit. The frightening implications of that effect have reached the point that even the ACLU, not known for its strong pro-Second Amendment stance, has stood against the left-wing governor for adopting tactics we’d expect from Vladimir Putin or Recip Tayyip Erdogan. By the way, the NRA isn’t the only target of the Cuomo regime. Cuomo has also targeted those opposed to his environmental policies.

A number of years ago, Cuomo listed people who he felt had no place in New York. Second Amendment supporters were among those he felt had “no place in New York.” Those who opposed Cuomo on various culture war issues also were listed. This leads to another uncomfortable question: Does anyone think Cuomo will stop with the NRA? Who else will feel the pressure of official action from his regime? It’s easy to win a debate if you cut off the other side’s leading organizations from banks, insurance coverage, and other financial services they need to function.

This makes what the state of Alabama attempted to do to the NAACP look puny by comparison. Like New York, Alabama targeted an unpopular civil rights organization. In 1964, Alabama’s actions received a unanimous smackdown from the Supreme Court. Sadly, we cannot say the same outcome is certain vis-à-vis New York and the NRA.

What Los Angeles is doing is just as frightening. No, it’s not directly targeting the NRA. It’s just requiring companies competing for contracts to disclose any ties to the NRA. Of course, it’s just the city’s effort to get data for something akin to the “John Doe” investigations that targeted conservatives in Wisconsin or the IRS targeting of the Tea Party.

The goal there is to make supporting the NRA so painful — in the form of lost contracts or potentially other harassment (say, health department inspections that are judged very strictly) — that business owners will at the very least cut off their support. And you can bet that where the state of New York and the city of Los Angeles lead, other states and municipalities will follow.

In essence, what we have seen here are people who sense they are losing the debate among their fellow Americans. What’s scary is that rather than reexamine their arguments or even concede they may be wrong, they have chosen to abuse power to silence their opponents and get their way. This is something that cannot end well for them or the country.

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