August 14, 2018

Letter to Montana Governor: What Happens With “Reasonable” Restrictions on First Amendment

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From Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association:

Governor Steve Bullock
Helena, Montana
Dear Governor Bullock,
Just like you “support” the Second Amendment, we support the First Amendment, but as with you and the Second, we support the First Amendment with reasonable and commonsense restrictions.
Because of these commonsense restrictions, you are no longer allowed to speak on government property, including within 1,000 feet of schools and buildings occupied by any level of government.  That would be just too dangerous.  You are also not allowed to speak in any other public place unless you have a government permit to do so.  Such a permit will only be granted if you have satisfactorily completed an approved training course about how to comply with writing and speech restrictions – how to use your rights safely.
You are no longer allowed to use amplification to enhance your speech, as such amplification is considered to be “high capacity” or “assault speech.”  No microphones.  You are no longer allowed to use any electronic means to write, record, or transmit your speech, since those mechanisms were not yet invented when the First Amendment was ratified.  Being a smart and capable guy, we’re sure you can get by with a pen made from a turkey feather and the volume and reach of your natural voice.
Another commonsense restriction will be what you may write or talk about.  We will have a committee available to review any proposed writing or proposed speech from you, in advance.  This committee will research your past writings and speech, and the proposed writing or speech, looking for any abuse or history of abuse.  If there is any such abuse or history, the committee will not approve your writing or speech.  If you attempt to write or speak without this advanced approval, you may be prosecuted for a federal crime, bankrupted with legal costs, put in a federal prison, and lose all of your rights.  Oh, by the way, Republicans will appoint this review committee.
Oh, and there will be a ten-day waiting period after your writing or speech has been approved by the committee before you will be allowed to share the writing with others or deliver the speech.  You may have composed the writing or speech in a moment of passion, and you may reconsider your intent or language after you’ve had a few days to cool down.
You will be allowed to speak to one person at a time, in a private setting, as long as you do not disturb others and the content of your speech is approved in advance.  And, you will be allowed to write as much as you want, as long as the writing is with a quill pen, is approved in advance by the committee, is reproduced only manually, and is carried only by foot or horse power, all following the ten-day cooling down period.  We will allow so much, for now, because we fully support your First Amendment rights and because we do not wish to be unduly restrictive.
We hope you understand that these commonsense restrictions are best for everyone, for the public good.  You aren’t opposed to the public good and everyone, are you?
If these commonsense restrictions don’t solve whatever problems may be apparent or imagined, we will need to look at other possible restrictions.  We don’t really want to take away your First Amendment, but everyone demands that we solve the terrible problem of First Amendment abuse and solve it now.  Surely we must all bow to the majority of public opinion in this, don’t you agree?
Sincerely yours,
The Public
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