Domestic Terrorists? Not So Fast

I came across an interesting article yesterday. It was from the Canadian group Organization for World Peace. The article by Abhishek Kumar discussed the labeling of the NRA as “domestic terrorists” by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. His conclusion is that such labeling is out of place. Mind you, Kumar is no fan of the NRA and the Organization for World Peace leans left.

Kumar notes that the labeling of the NRA as a domestic terrorist group has a political, not objective, purpose. By such labeling, San Francisco sought to “subvert the political and social influence of the NRA by undermining its legitimacy.” The goal is to reduce the power of the NRA’s opposition to more gun control.

The politicisation of labelling the NRA a “domestic terrorist organisation” raises concerns regarding the subjectivity of terrorism through which personal interests seem to be unavoidable. Terrorism inherently is perceived through an accompanied political narrative, however, San Fransisco city’s ruling appears to reflect broader political and social tensions. The NRA embraces the second amendment and actively promotes gun ownership, however, this does not fit the criteria of being a ‘domestic terrorist organisation’. Following the FBI’s definition of domestic terrorism, the NRA does not promote or encourage the commission of violent crime as a result of extremist ideologies. It does, however, stand on hard-line policies in regards to gun ownership.

He goes on to add that legislative bodies should refrain from such resolutions.

Following this idea of political interests, legislative bodies should refrain from designating opposing actors as “terrorist organisations” in order to fulfil political goals and delegitimise political opponents. While increased social tensions regarding gun violence cultivate an environment to hold an individual or organisation responsible, it important to not address domestic terror attacks and weapons used to enact those attacks as a single issue.

Kumar concludes that gun ownership is a national security issue. But, he adds, the promotion of gun ownership does not make the NRA or other groups responsible for “extremist ideologies, specifically the increasing right-wing extremism.”

I doubt Kumar and I would see eye to eye on most issues including the need for more gun control. I also question the notion that “right-wing extremism” is really on the rise or is any more prevalent than that coming from the left such as Antifa. However, I do agree with him that labeling political opponents as “domestic terrorists” based on policy differences is dangerous and ought not be done.

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