NRA sues city of LA over its new contract disclosure law

LOS ANGELES — The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a new Los Angeles law requiring companies that seek contracts with the city to disclose whether they have ties to the gun rights group.

The suit was filed in federal court on behalf of the NRA, including a John Doe, who is described in court documents as an NRA member and business operator with several L.A. city contracts.

“Plaintiff Doe participates in this action as a Doe participant because he reasonably fears retribution from the city and the potential loss of lucrative contracts should Doe’s identity be known,” the lawsuit says.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell championed the new law, arguing in a motion he presented last year that city residents and stakeholders “deserve to know” whether taxpayer funds are being spent on contractors with ties to the NRA.

O’Farrell’s motion, also signed by Councilman Paul Krekorian, cites statistics about mass shootings and calls the NRA “one of the most significant roadblocks to sensible gun safety reform at every level of government across the nation.”

The City Council in February passed the ordinance, which states that prospective contractors must disclose under affidavit any contracts or sponsorships they or their subsidiaries have with the group.

NRA attorney Chuck Michel on Wednesday issued a statement saying the law represents “modern day McCarthyism.”

“Politicians are free to disagree with the NRA’s pro-freedom, firearm safety, and self-reliance message, but they aren’t free to censor it — as this would do when NRA supporters drop their NRA affiliations for fear of losing work from the city because they get put on this blacklist,” Michel said.

The NRA’s lawsuit states the city law violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association and the 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law. The lawsuit asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Attorney Mike Feuer, said his office will “vigorously defend the city’s ordinance.”

— Los Angeles Times

Alleged killer of Gambino crime family boss pleads not guilty as lawyer frets about his client’s safety

NEW YORK — The accused killer of the Gambino crime family boss stood serenely Wednesday before pleading not guilty to murder charges during a brief Staten Island court appearance.

A relaxed-looking Anthony Comello, 24, was jailed without bail as his attorney expressed fears about the accused killer’s continued safety behind bars and announced plans for a pretrial release application which would include an ankle bracelet.

“He’s very hopeful, he’s very optimistic,” defense attorney Robert Gottlieb said of Comello. “He remains in protective custody. He’s been receiving medical attention, but he is very upbeat. He knows what happened here, why it happened.”

Comello was arrested March 16 for the brutal execution three days earlier of Mafia boss Frank “Franky Boy” Cali outside his Staten Island home. Comello arrived at the home inside his truck, crashed the vehicle into the mobster’s parked SUV and opened fire on the unsuspecting Cali when the boss came out to investigate, cops said.

Sources indicated the suspect’s fingerprint was recovered from a license plate on the victim’s damaged Cadillac Escalade. Comello was officially indicted for second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, authorities said.

Comello — reportedly angered by the boss’s interference in his romantic pursuit of a Cali relative — allegedly pumped 10 bullets into the boss.

“This type of senseless violence will not be tolerated in our Staten Island neighborhoods,” said borough District Attorney Michael McMahon.

— New York Daily News

Florida man accidentally shoots himself at rest stop, claims it was someone else, deputies say

ORLANDO, Fla. — A man made a false report and accidentally discharged his gun at an Interstate 4 rest stop Wednesday morning near State Road 434, according to a tweet from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the scene just before 3 a.m. in reference to a shots-fired call at the westbound rest stop. They found a man inside a vehicle with a non life-threatening head wound, the tweet said.

The victim told deputies that someone had shot him, according to deputies.

Investigators found his claim to be false, deputies said. After accidentally shooting himself, the suspect fired additional rounds inside his vehicle, deputies said.

— Orlando Sentinel

2 broke into sorority house and stole snacks, NC State University police say

RALEIGH, N.C. — Police want to identify two men they say stole snacks during an early-morning break-in at a North Carolina sorority house.

Two men at about 2:55 a.m. Wednesday entered the Kappa Delta house on Greek Village Drive in Raleigh, according to a Facebook post from N.C. State University police. The men took “several snack food items” before being confronted and running away, the post said.

“The white males were described as being college age, average build, one was wearing a lime green shirt, the other a white t-shirt, and both wearing shorts,” police said.

— The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)