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San Francisco stands against NRA

by Courtney Deeren - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Sep 17th 2019 10:00 pm
Families and friends write wish notes on the casket of 13-year-old Keyla Salazar (left), one of the people who died during the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting. Survivors
of the Oregon District shooting (right), gather outside of the Capitol to protest for extended background checks and gun restrictions.
Photo Credit: Noah Burger/ AP
Families and friends write wish notes on the casket of 13-year-old Keyla Salazar (left), one of the people who died during the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting. Survivors of the Oregon District shooting (right), gather outside of the Capitol to protest for extended background checks and gun restrictions. Photo Credit: Noah Burger/ AP

With mass shootings in the United States increasing, people are left wondering why. While some tip-toe around the idea, many call this out as domestic terrorism. The resistance seems to come from those who fear their second amendment rights being revoked. 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors had no issue, as they “unanimously voted last week to denounce the National Rifle Association (NRA),” according to The Washington Post. The board also declared the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” on Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

The NRA responded by filing a lawsuit, calling the claim “obviously unconstitutional,” and saying “this lawsuit comes with a message to those who attack the NRA: we will never stop fighting for our law-abiding members and their constitutional freedoms.” 

This elicited a response from the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. 

“The American people would be better served if the NRA stopped trying to get weapons of war into our communities and instead actually did something about gun safety,” John Coté, a spokesman for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, told the Associated Press. “Common-sense safety measures like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and restricting high-capacity magazines would be a good start.” 

San Francisco’s decision came after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival resulted in the deaths of a 6-year-old, 13-year-old and 25-year-old. 

“They should reasonably know by now that they are fueling the hate fire in this country,” Supervisor Catherine Stefani said. “People are dying, and they continue to stand in the way of reform.” 

Stefani wrote the resolution which ends with this message: “the National Rifle Association through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism. All countries have violent and hateful people, but only in America do we give them ready access to assault weapons and large-capacity magazines thanks, in large part, to the National Rifle Association’s influence.” 

Vera Bergengruen and W. J. Hennigan wrote an article for TIME Magazine titled “America’s Lost Battle Against White Nationalist Terrorism,” which questions our preconceived ideas of what a terrorist is. 

“When you think of a terrorist, what do you see,” they ask. “For more than a generation, the image lurking in Americans’ nightmares has resembled the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks: an Islamic jihadist. Not a 21-year-old white supremacist from a prosperous Dallas suburb.” 

The article goes on to explain “white supremacists and other far-right extremists have been responsible for almost three times as many attacks on U.S. soil as Islamic terrorists.” 

According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, most of the bureau’s domestic-terrorism investigations since October 2018 have been linked to white supremacy, and yet, this issue is ongoing. According to TIME magazine, “current and former federal law-enforcement and national-security officials described a sense of bewilderment and frustration as they watched warnings go ignored and the white-supremacist terror threat grow.” 

The article goes on to state over the past decade, “multiple attempts to refocus federal resources on the issue have been thwarted. Offices meant to coordinate an interagency response to right-wing extremism were funded, staffed and then defunded in the face of legal, constitutional and political concerns.” Now, only 20% of the FBI’s counterterrorism field agents are focused on domestic probes, according to Bureau officials. 

Despite the FBI’s warnings, the White House has refused to listen. 

“As a result, agency leadership hasn’t historically prioritized white-supremacist violence even among homegrown threats, for years listing ‘eco-terrorism’ as the top risk,” according to former special agent Michael German. 

Officials at the White House are choosing to ignore this threat, as they have rejected efforts by the Department of Homeland Security for more than a year to prioritize combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists. 

“Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism,” a senior source close to the Trump administration told CNN. “The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on." 

Last fall the National Counterterrorism Strategy was issued, stating “radical Islamist terrorists remain the primary transnational terrorist threat to the United States and its vital national interests.” While not untrue, experts are calling attention to the fact reducing the threat of domestic terrorism, a growing problem, was barely mentioned in the strategy. 

White House officials may not be seeing the threat for what it is, but the FBI states it takes the threat very seriously. 

No one is discounting any external threats that the U.S. may have faced in the past or may still face in the future. One thing is for sure, as a nation we ca not ignore the internal threat of domestic terrorism is on the rise and arguably more dangerous than any external extremist group. 

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