Gun Rights Groups Applaud Enactment of California Bill That De-Criminalizes Political Speech Following First Amendment Lawsuit Victory
SACRAMENTO (September 22, 2016) – Firearms Policy Coalition announced today that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 884, a measure that followed FPC’s successful federal First Amendment free speech lawsuit FPCSADC, et al. v. Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The lawsuit, filed in late May, resulted in the issuance of a preliminary injunction by federal Eastern District of California Judge Morrison C. England, Jr., in early June, effectively blocking the State of California from enforcing California Government Code Section 9026.5, a law that criminalized the use of Assembly video footage in political speech, including political advertisements and grassroots calls-to-action.
After FPC’s lawsuit was filed, AB 884 was radically amended to completely repeal Section 9026.5. And because AB 884 was passed by the legislature with an “urgency clause,” it takes effect immediately rather than on January 1.
“We applaud the Legislature and Governor Brown for recognizing the constitutional issue raised in our lawsuit and appreciate that they responded to the court’s injunction by enacting this much-needed reform bill,” said FPC President Brandon Combs.
During court proceedings, Attorney General Harris had argued that the now-repealed law was constitutional because, she claimed, it served “a compelling interest in protecting the integrity of Assembly proceedings by ensuring that Assembly members are free to engage in legislation without considering that video footage will be used to support or oppose them in political advertisements.”
However, in his order issuing the injunction, Judge England said that the Attorney General’s “argument that the compelling interest of protecting the integrity of the legislative process justifies section 9026.5 is nothing more than a mirage” and “perplexing.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Bradley Benbrook and Stephen Duvernay of Benbrook Law Group, PC, and Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who has written and taught extensively about the First and Second Amendments.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Stop Prop 63, a grassroots, common-sense effort for rational policy sponsored by Firearms Policy Coalition (FPPC # 1380746) (www.StopNewsom.com) is the first and only grassroots political action committee expressly dedicated to fighting and opposing California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s dangerous Proposition 63 “Safety For All Act” gun control ballot initiative.
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