Current US president Donald Trump is in the process of "banning" Tiktok in the USA:

The following actions shall be prohibited ...: any transaction by any person ... with ByteDance Ltd. ...
Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok

It thus seems possible for the US president could do likewise for any group they dislike; for this question, I'm interested in the National Rifle Association (NRA). If the reports that Trump hates guns are accurate, perhaps Trump could do this himself, or perhaps a future president.

Question Could a US president do to the NRA what Trump is currently doing to TikTok?

  • 11
    I don't see how these are even remotely related. The issue with TikTok is that it is controlled -- or at least heavily influenced -- by the Chinese Communist Party. A foreign actor. The NRA is a domestic political interest non-profit focused on preventing the erosion of the 2nd Amendment within the United States. The CCP is actively working to subvert American society and institutions (they've admitted this themselves). The NRA is working to "Conserve" a constitutionally guaranteed right.
    – holaymolay
    Sep 24, 2020 at 16:02
  • 18
    @holaymolay The only relationship is “Something that POTUS wants to ban”. It could easily have been something like “Walmart” in the example instead. If the differences between the TikTok and the NRA (or Walmart) mean that one could be banned and the other can’t, that’s an answer. If the differences are just that one makes sense to ban and the other doesn’t, that’s not.
    – Bobson
    Sep 24, 2020 at 17:07
  • 11
    @Bobson There are those out there questioning whether the NRA used laundered Russian money during the 2016 election, and NPR has reporting on a Senate committee report from last year that claims the NRA was a "foreign asset", making the relationship to the TikTok example much more concrete.
    – user5155
    Sep 24, 2020 at 17:46
  • The NRA has problems, and I'm no big fan of them, but "a Senate committee says" is hardly a credible source for anything. There are "those questioning" the validity of the 2020 election, too. Let's not propagate cheap rumors here.
    – acpilot
    Oct 20, 2021 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Yes, if the President declared a national emergency related to an unusual or extraordinary foreign threat and identified the NRA as intrinsically linked to foreign interests.

President Trump's actions, in this case, come under authority granted to limit transactions with respect to foreign interests, under 50 U.S.C. 1702(a)(1):

(1) At the times and to the extent specified in section 1701 of this title, the President may, under such regulations as he may prescribe, by means of instructions, licenses, or otherwise—

  • (A) investigate, regulate, or prohibit—

    • (i) any transactions in foreign exchange,
    • (ii) transfers of credit or payments between, by, through, or to any banking institution, to the extent that such transfers or payments involve any interest of any foreign country or a national thereof,
    • (iii) the importing or exporting of currency or securities, by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;
  • (B) investigate, block during the pendency of an investigation, regulate, direct and compel, nullify, void, prevent or prohibit, any acquisition, holding, withholding, use, transfer, withdrawal, transportation, importation or exportation of, or dealing in, or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to, or transactions involving, any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and.

  • (C) when the United States is engaged in armed hostilities or has been attacked by a foreign country or foreign nationals, confiscate any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, of any foreign person, foreign organization, or foreign country that he determines has planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in such hostilities or attacks against the United States; and all right, title, and interest in any property so confiscated shall vest, when, as, and upon the terms directed by the President, in such agency or person as the President may designate from time to time, and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe, such interest or property shall be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold, or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States, and such designated agency or person may perform any and all acts incident to the accomplishment or furtherance of these purposes.

Additionally, we see in 50 U.S.C. 1701 that:

Any authority granted to the President by section 1702 of this title may be exercised to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States, if the President declares a national emergency with respect to such threat.

So the first requirement would be for the President to declare a national emergency under these terms. In the case of TikTok, this was declared on May 15th, 2019 - Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.

Secondly, the President would only be able to prohibit transactions involving the NRA related to foreign interests. In this case, the transactions prohibited were those related to TikTok's current owner, the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd. (a.k.a. Zìjié Tiàodòng), Beijing, China, or its subsidiaries, in which any such company has any interest

So in order to pursue the same action against the NRA as Trump has against ByteDance, the President would also have to argue that any transaction with the NRA intrinsically involves an interest of a foreign company or a national thereof.

This argument could be made, and in fact, has been made by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, who released a report in September 2019 entitled The NRA and Russia which described the NRA as a "foreign asset". If a President were to attempt to argue this, it would likely be subject to some contention, as the Republican majority on that committee released a rebuttal report arguing that the original report "repeatedly attempts to paint a picture which does not exist".

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