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Is it time to treat the First Amendment just like the Second?

2nd Amend.

Is it time to treat the First Amendment just like the Second?

How many of those attorneys and public defenders and newspaper editorialists voted for I-594? If they don’t understand the parallels between restricting peaceful protest and being photographed by the police, and building records on gun owners, then they shouldn’t be practicing law or pounding keyboards for a living.

The Public Defender Association has also chimed in with a statement, the newspaper reports. “The law is clear that permit requirements are a prior restraint on speech and assembly. We appreciate that city officials appear to recognize this, and do not apply the street use permit process to speech activities. They are correct and that practice should continue.”

In the other story, about concerns over police photographing protesters gathered at Nike Town, it was noted that under Seattle Police guidelines, “photography at protests is sharply limited.” The Times notes, “If demonstrators are not acting unlawfully, police can’t photograph them.” The story also says that new Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole has asked for a review of what happened because of “concerns raised by a reporter for The Stranger newspaper.”

Now a question for the attorneys and the Stranger: Why shouldn’t peaceful protesters be treated any differently in their exercise of the First Amendment than law-abiding, peaceful gun owners be treated in their exercise of the Second Amendment? Background checks for all firearms transfers, including loans or gifts and private sales might just as easily be considered “prior restraint.”

Note to protesters: If you don’t care to be photographed in a public place on the suspicion that you just might be preparing to commit a crime, don’t squawk because gun owners don’t care to have the government recording every time they loan or borrow a firearm, especially to a friend or neighbor they have known for years, perhaps decades, on the mere suspicion that some crime might occur. That’s how Second Amendment advocates could explain why blindly voting for a “universal background check” initiative is insidious. Passing a law that ratchets down on someone else’s civil right is not nearly as noticeable as your own civil rights ox being gored.

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