The City of Los Angeles was ordered to pay $144,160.74 in legal fees and costs to the National Rifle Association to partially cover the cost of a lawsuit that charged the city violated the organization’s constitutionally protected rights.
US District Judge Stephen Wilson issued the 36-page ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by the NRA against the City of Los Angeles for its adoption of a city ordinance requiring private companies and individuals to disclose whether they had contracts with or sponsored the association.
The ordinance, which went into effect on April 1, 2019, stipulated that if contractors did not disclose all links to the pro-Second Amendment organization city contracts could and would be revoked. The ordinance passed by unanimous vote.
“Even though the ordinance only forces disclosure of activity that may not be expressive, the clear purpose of the disclosure is to undermine the NRA’s explicitly political speech,” Judge Wilson wrote. He cited public statements by Los Angeles Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, a Democrat, in his decision. O’Farrell had explicitly stated he supported boycotts of businesses that dealt with the NRA.
Los Angeles is not alone in its attack on the organization. San Francisco’s mayor backed down from a similar measure under threat of a lawsuit from the NRA, and the group is still embroiled in a challenge with New York State over a letter officials sent to financial institutions warning them away from working with the group.
The NRA’s lawsuit alleged the ordinance violated the US Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Ironically, the Los Angeles City Council voted to repeal the ordinance in January of 2020.
“Violations of any constitutional rights by government officials should carry consequences,” Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the NRA said. “The courts have rightfully imposed those consequences upon Los Angeles.”