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Feature Article: L.A. Boycott's NRA

Commentary: Government discrimination — Los Angeles city councilman wants city to boycott companies with NRA ties

BY JIM MATTHEWS/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Apr 11, 2018

It seems incredible that the very people who claim to be inclusive, colorblind and gender-neutral; the politicians who want equality for all can be the same people who are willing to attack a group for a legitimate differences of opinion on policy. Isn’t that discrimination? And how is that kind of discrimination different than racism?

Well, that kind of prejudice came to a head this week when Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced a proposal last week asking the city’s staff to compile a list of all businesses and groups that have a formal relationship with the National Rifle Association and options the city has to boycott these people.


This is not about whether or not you believe in more gun control. This is about government officials deciding your associations and beliefs are wrong and taking action to harass and forcibly make you bend to its viewpoint or suffer the consequences. This is institutionalized discrimination and government-run prejudice.


Because the NRA and its members have a different viewpoint on firearms policy and how to make the public safer in public, they would be targeted within the City of Los Angeles because of their personal and political beliefs. Isn’t that what these politicians rile against when someone what to identify themselves outside regular gender contexts. Don’t they denounce anyone who appears to have a hint of sexual or racial discrimination? How is this different?


In the extreme comparison, the City would be saying to a business (that bids and wins city contracts) it can’t have any NRA members, or Republicans or blacks on their staff if they wish to continue to be eligible for that work.


How are an individual’s personal viewpoints or business associations any of the city’s business? And isn’t it against city, county, state, and federal laws to discriminate on the basis of political viewpoint or opinion?


Oh, O’Farrell used all the right anti-gun rhetoric to rally the gun-banning camp to his side:


“It’s important that we send a message as a city with an annual budget approaching $9 billion,” O’Farrell was quoted in a Los Angeles Times story Thursday. “It’s time to speak with one voice and call attention to the assault weapon epidemic.”


This argument is all about emotion to drive useless policy and discriminate against a class of people they hate — gun owners, who are mostly con­servative, and mostly against more gun control.


O’Farrell then kicked off the discrimination with some arm-twisting by asking the city council to hold off on approving a Federal Express agreement with the Harbor Department to rent warehouse and office space there. Why? Because FedEx offers discounted shipping for NRA members (and hundreds of other groups with political viewpoints).


“We have a choice — and they have a choice,” O’Farrell was quoted in the Times, saying FedEx could mimic path other private companies, such as Delta Air Lines, took to end discounts for NRA members. “They could join in this sensible movement to dis­courage the proliferation of guns.”


What O’Farrell apparently doesn’t get is that these other companies did this without threats to their business operations from the govern­ment. They were not coerced. They did it because of their management’s political viewpoints. The public then has the option of using their products or services or not because of the political viewpoint. It wasn’t the government forcing a viewpoint on a business or consumer.


Last month, FedEx issued a statement saying it “opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians,” but that did not change the fact that the NRA is one of hundreds of organi­zations whose members get discounts.


“FedEx has never set or changed rates for any of our millions of customers around the world in response to their politics, beliefs or positions,” it said in that statement.


Wow. The big company gets it. It doesn’t discriminate.


Increasingly, California politicians don’t get it. This week’s action is just another example of how left-leaning politicians and voters are willing to discriminate against someone with a different viewpoint.


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