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Law Makes it Illegal to Protest in Obama's Presence-Disputed!
Summary of the eRumor:
This forwarded message says that HR-347 has been passed by Congress and
signed into law by President Obama. There were growing concerns that
this new law could end freedom of speech set down in the First Amendment
of the U.S. Constitution and make the act of protesting in the presence
of the President a felony and that the Secret Service has the power to
arrest and detain protesters.
The Truth: The Federal Restricted Buildings and
Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 (HR-347) is a real law but it not
certain as to how far the U.S. Government plans to enforce it.
HR-347 was introduced by Congressman Thomas J. Rooney
(R-FL) on January 21, 2011 and after fourteen months in the committee
process it was passed and signed into law by President Obama on March 1,
A spokesperson from Congressman Rooney's office told TruthOrFiction.Com
that the bill was was introduced at the request of the Secret Service
for a clarification of a jurisdiction for agents assigned to the
protection of the President. The spokesperson said that, For example
that if someone were to jump the fence at the White house the Secret
Service would not have jurisdiction over the trespasser. Prior to this
law the jurisdiction would have fallen on the Washington D.C. Police.
A spokesperson from Congressman Rooney's office told TruthOrFiction.Com
that the bill was was introduced at the request of the Secret Service
for a clarification of a jurisdiction policy for agents assigned to the
protection of the President. The spokesperson said that in
case someone were to jump the fence at the White house the Secret
Service would not have jurisdiction over the trespasser.
Prior to this law the jurisdiction would fall upon the Washington D.C. Police.
Many of the forwarded eRumors contain a video link of Fox News
Contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano saying that this law allows the
Secret Service to define the borders of "no free speech zones" and at
the request of the person that they are protecting can ban the
protesters. Judge Napolitano said that this law actually abridges
the First Amendment.
The First Amendment says, Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.
Speculators also drew concerns that this
new law could criminalize protests put on by the Tea Party rallies or
Occupy movement in any area where the President
might be present. On March 8, 2012
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) addressed that myth on
their blog and said that "H.R. 347 doesn't create any new crimes, or
directly apply to the Occupy protests. The bill slightly rewrites a
short trespass law, originally passed in 1971 and amended a couple of
times since, that covers areas subject to heightened Secret Service
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
the third day of
January, two thousand and twelve
To correct and simplify the
drafting of section 1752 (relating to restricted buildings or grounds)
of title 18, United States Code.
Be it enacted by the Senate and
House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the
`Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011'.
SEC. 2. RESTRICTED BUILDING OR GROUNDS.
Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as
-`Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds
`(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds
without lawful authority to do so;
`(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct
of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or
disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted
building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or
disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official
`(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly
conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or
impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds;
`(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any
person or property in any restricted building or grounds;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in
`(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is--
`(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years,
or both, if--
`(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries
a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
`(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by
section 2118(e)(3); and
`(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year,
or both, in any other case.
`(c) In this section--
`(1) the term `restricted buildings or grounds' means any posted,
cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area--
`(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President's official
residence or its grounds;
`(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person
protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or
`(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event
designated as a special event of national significance; and
`(2) the term `other person protected by the Secret Service' means any
person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect
under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when
such person has not declined such protection.'.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet::
This is really frightening.
They sneaked another one in on us.
New law makes it illegal to protest in Obama's presence
This means that, wherever Obama is at, you do not have a right to ask
him anything you want to. His secret service can have you arrested,
fined, and imprisoned for more than a YEAR if you ask him something he
doesn’t like. Sound like he’s more like Hitler than Lincoln to you?
WATCH AND BE AMAZED AT HIS LATEST ATTEMPT TO STAGE A TAKE OVER OF
Guess you’ve probably heard about this, but sending it on anyway.
It’s probably the scariest thing this guy has done yet.
Are you aware of this new law, signed by “Obama” in early March 2012?
Heading into the most important election of our lifetime, Barack Obama and a terrified Congress want to make sure angry Americans can never again gather en mass to change the course of history as we did with the 1.2 million member 912 March and the demonstrations that flipped Congress in 2010. No, our tyrannical politicians want to force you to stay home and shut up.
The protected right of the people peaceably to assemble is unalienable, something that has afforded deep fundamental and historical foundations to our freedom. Our Founders established a clear "no trespassing sign" via our First Amendment to keep the government away from this God-given right essential to Liberty. "Congress shall make no law abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." But new legislation is gaining ground in Congress that will destroy this absolutely central, simple and non-negotiable right imperative to a free people.
HR 347 and S 1794, the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011" has nothing to do with improving landscaping around federal buildings. This bill is being presented as a No Trespassing bill. Reasonable people understand that lawful restrictions and protections are needed for government officials and government functions. However, this legislation makes it a federal crime to allegedly DISRUPT the "ORDERLY CONDUCT" of government.
The violator doesn't have to be physically on the grounds where the government business is being conducted, just within the vicinity of the self-proclaimed "business of government." The law is not limited to buildings or locations as the title suggests, but seems to be "roving" and follows persons protected by Secret Service wherever they may go.
Standing on a sidewalk with a sign as a Congressman walks by? BUSTED
Traffic slowing to read your Tea Party signs? BUSTED
Make a statement at a town hall meeting that your Congressman doesn't like? BUSTED
1752(a)(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions; 1752(a)(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; 1752(c)(1) the term 'restricted buildings or grounds' means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area – (B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance;
The right protected in the First Amendment is the right to peaceably assemble. We do not have the right to impede the flow of traffic, either on sidewalks or roadways. We do not have the right to impede anyone's business practices. But this law is not about private business, it is about government operations. Make that Big Brother Government Operations.
This Congress has a habit of writing in vague and overbroad terms; yet, in order for laws to be Constitutionally sound they CANNOT be vague and overbroad in ANY aspect, and they can ONLY interfere with the rights of the people in as narrow a capacity as both necessary and according with Constitutional principle. But this law makes it a crime to disrupt the government. The Supreme Court has said this type of broad language gives too much power to the government, and they have been saying this since 1939. This law actually places the desire of the government to be free from disruption unconstitutional power over the right of the people to redress the government of their grievances.
Suppose your Congressman, who is under Secret Service protection, has a town hall meeting and many members of the community show up to challenge him on his voting record. This law could be construed to allow federal charges to be brought against these citizens for disrupting his town hall meeting by attending and demanding to be heard under the First Amendment. After all, it will not be hard to claim that people who are not happy with the Congressman's voting record had the "intent" to disrupt this meeting. This vague and overbroad language has the potential to ultimately prevent people from gathering outside any government building or politician's function for fear of being charged with a federal offense. In Constitutional law, we call that a "chilling effect" and the Supreme Court has always held these restrictions to be unconstitutional. After all, who can afford to risk going to jail, to carry a record of federal arrest, to stand for their rights – even if they will win? The right to orderly conduct of government is NOT a constitutionally protected right. However we DO have the right to free speech and the right to peaceably assemble. Our Constitution enshrines in government the fundamental principle of protection for our God-given, unalienable rights freely to speak and assemble. These rights of We the People are held as foundation stones of our individual Liberty and the government must protect these rights, not limit them. And throughout history, our Supreme Court has protected these rights.
Hague v. CID, 307 U.S. 496 (1939)
Boos v. Barry, 485 U.S. 312, 318 (1988)
United States v. Grace, 461 U.S. 171, 177 (1983)
Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37, (1983)
In every single case, the Court ruled that the people's First Amendment right to protest fundamentally outweighs the government's right to avoid uncomfortable situations at which politicians may be called to account for their actions.
People have the right to complain, the right to have their voices be heard, the right to redress their grievances in the form of protests. These actions are supposed to make the government take notice. Disruption cannot be the standard to stop speech. To allow the government to create this new standard allows the government to tell us to sit down and shut up.
The chilling effect occurs not in the fact that you are denied your due process. If you are arrested because of unlawful legislation you can fight the prosecution and even sue the government for violating your rights. If the Supreme Court has not become completely corrupted you have fairly good odds of winning. But, as anyone who has been wronged by a government agency can tell you, a victory will often come at the expense of a ruined life and livelihood.
The bottom line is that there are laws in every municipality that punish Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, Assault, and any other crime involving real threats against government and persons in government. Why do we need a vague and overbroad FEDERAL LAW to enforce laws that are already in effect, when that law could encroach on our God-given, protected rights? William Penn said, "Necessity, it is said, is the plea for every infringement of human Liberty; it is the argument of tyrants and the creed of slaves." Clearly, we don't need a "Federal Trespass Bill." We already have one; it's called the Bill of Rights!
When will we have enough of government intrusion on our Constitutionally protected rights? We were outraged because we are Taxed Enough Already. When will we recognize that if we cannot trust the government with our finances, then we certainly cannot trust the government with our Liberty?