Supervisor Stefani to Introduce ‘Free Speech Protection Act’
For Immediate Release: February 13, 2018
Media Contact: Kanishka Karunaratne, 415-554-7752
SUPERVISOR STEFANI TO INTRODUCE ‘FREE SPEECH PROTECTION ACT’
Stefani’s law would ban guns at all parks, and large public and 1st amendment events
SAN FRANCISCO – At today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Catherine Stefani will introduce her ‘Free Speech Protection Act’ that will ban firearms at publicly-owned parks, public gatherings, and similar First Amendment related events in San Francisco.
“The Second Amendment doesn’t trump the First Amendment,” said Supervisor Stefani. “Your right to free speech should not be endangered by people carrying guns.”
While State law prohibits the open carrying of firearms within San Francisco, concealed weapons present a significant public safety risk at public events, protests, parades, and rallies. Publicly carrying firearms while people are engaged in first amendment activity can intimidate others and chill, or suppress, free speech.
Stefani's law seeks to promote the public health and safety of all San Franciscans by reducing the presence of firearms and the potential for gun violence, injuries, and death. Stefani's law will help increase expressive activity and civic engagement because it will drastically reduce the chances of people being intimidated by the presence of concealed firearms at public events.
“By restricting access to firearms in public spaces and at demonstrations, the city will promote public safety and secure the First Amendment rights of San Franciscans and others who come to the city to enjoy its public spaces and engage in peaceful assembly without fear of intimidation," said Allison Anderman, Managing Attorney of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
To make matters worse, the House of Representatives approved and the Senate is now considering approving the ‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,’ which would allow people with out-of-state-permits to carry a concealed gun in San Francisco. That law, if passed, would significantly increase the number of concealed firearms in San Francisco.
“A public gathering at a public park is no place for firearms," said Stefani.
Stefani’s law would require City departments to issue permits for events that include as a condition of the permit that the public carrying of firearms would be prohibited. Stefani's law also seeks to close a loophole that was exploited by the far right-wing Patriot Prayer event on Crissy Field last August that allowed for the public carrying of firearms and caused severe disruption of city services and the quality of life in District 2 and across San Francisco.
A violation of Stefani's law would be a misdemeanor and upon conviction a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. San Francisco would become the first large urban area in the country to have such a law on the books.
Supervisor Stefani expects to hear her legislation in a Board of Supervisors committee in just over a month. Stefani's law is supported by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.