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NRA drops lawsuit against San Francisco over "terrorist organization" resolution but claims victory

The National Rifle Association has withdrawn its lawsuit against San Francisco over the city's resolution labeling the gun-rights group a "terrorist organization." The notice filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Northern California was heralded by City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who has called it a "frivolous lawsuit" based on a deliberate misinterpretation by the NRA.

Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO, attends the NRA's annual meeting of members on April 27, 2019, in Indianapolis.
Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO Scott Olson/Getty Images

"This was a baseless attempt to silence San Francisco's valid criticisms of the NRA and distract from the gun violence epidemic facing our country," Herrera said in a statement. "San Francisco will never be intimidated by the NRA."

The group's attorney, William A. Brewer III, was just as spirited in a statement Thursday, saying the lawsuit had achieved what it set out to do and the NRA was celebrating an "important victory." The group posted a picture to Twitter of a giant NRA banner hanging from the Golden Gate Bridge.

"The NRA will always fight for the Constitution and will refile if the city tries anything like this in the future," Brewer said. The resolution approved by the Board of Supervisors in September contends that the gun-rights lobby uses its power to incite gun owners "to acts of violence."

It also says San Francisco "should take every reasonable step" to assess ties between its contractors and the NRA. But the resolution is nonbinding and does not change city law, Mayor London Breed said in a memo later that month to city department heads.

The NRA, which had said officials were seeking to blacklist vendors associated with the group, used her memo to claim victory. San Francisco officials scoffed at the assertion and said the resolution was never meant to change city law.

At the time, Brewer called Breed's memo a positive development but said the NRA will not withdraw its lawsuit until the resolution is formally revoked. In Tuesday's municipal elections, Breed and Herrera were each elected to new terms in office.

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