One of the Left’s favorite ways to attack the Second Amendment is by going after the First Amendment.
Especially the First Amendment rights (and privacy rights) of citizen lobbying organizations.
The First Amendment is what protects our ability to effectively fight for our Second Amendment rights without exposing gun owners and citizen-lobbyists to harassment from “cancel culture” bullies, anti-gun employers, neighbors, activist politicians, and bureaucrats.
This is why the National Foundation for Gun Rights recently joined a coalition of freedom-loving organizations in filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in a landmark free speech case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Oral arguments will be heard Monday, April 26.
This case, AFPF v. Becerra, began when Vice President Kamala Harris – then Attorney General of California – began demanding the names and addresses of top donors from nonprofits who were fundraising in California, including sister organization the National Association for Gun Rights.
The California Attorney General’s office claims they need confidential donor information to help them “police charitable fraud” – which is bureaucrat-speak for “just because.”
As previously noted, this is a common tactic used by Leftist government officials to crack down on Second Amendment activism and lobbying. Disclosing gun owners’ personal information and donor history would open them up to public backlash, crackdowns, and harassment from government regulators.
AFPF v. Becerra seeks to overturn the California Attorney General’s regulatory demands for confidential donor information. When the case was first appealed to the Supreme Court in 2019, NFGR joined NAGR and a number of freedom-minded allies in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take the case.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on January 8, 2021.
NFGR’s joint amicus brief was filed on March 1, arguing that privacy and anonymity are key elements of our First Amendment freedoms of speech and association.
Below are some key excerpts:
- “This case involves a real threat by the California government to coerce the disclosure of the identity of large donors, putting them at risk of retaliation from either the public or partisan office holders. Both mob and ruler are dangerous to dissenters, and the principle of anonymity protects Americans from both.”
- “The California Attorney General would prefer this Court to operate based on some form of judicial presumption that governmental powers are never abused, that Attorneys General engage in nothing but evenhanded administration of the law, that politicians elected or appointed to high office cease to act as politicians, and that state office holders would never use their position to advance their own political agendas, reward their friends, or punish their enemies. Yet, adopting such an assumption would require this Court to disregard both history and current reality.”
- “The Framers enumerated these five First Amendment rights to protect Americans in the exercise of certain rights that the signers of the Declaration of Independence declared to be unalienable because they were bestowed upon man by the Creator.”
- “The American principle of anonymity, restricting what government officials can force us to reveal about our activities to them or to others, is constitutionally grounded in First amendment freedoms of press and association.”
- “[The] principles of anonymity are not second-order concerns that can be disregarded or suppressed, but instead are standards indispensable to both the protection of individual liberty and the preservation of our republic.”
The Supreme Court has not yet set a date for oral argument, but our legal team will provide updates as the case moves.
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