Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Criminal Empowerment is backing a lawsuit over Texas’ 30.06 and 30.07 signs. If you’re new to this, those are the signs property owners must post on their premises to designate it as “gun-free” (well, free of the lawfully carried guns; criminals tend to ignore the rules for some reason). The intent is to make sure that lawful gun carriers can plainly see that a location — usually a store or a restaurant — is a designated target-rich environment.
Everytown, and the suckers they’ve recruited as plaintiffs, claim that the specific requirements for the signage — font size, law citations, placement — unduly burden the free speech rights of those wishing to post their facilities off-limits.
My guess is they would prefer to use less-prominent signs so that they can play gotcha with unsuspecting gun owners and have them ticketed for trespassing.
From the lawsuit:
But Texas has ignored the First Amendment and enacted legislation that singles out a group with which it disagrees — those who refer to keep guns off of their property—and selectively burdens their speech. Specifically, Texas property owners who espouse this viewpoint must post multiple large, text-heavy signs containing language specified by the State in order to exercise the longest established and most fundamental of their property rights: the right to exclude. If these property owners use other means of indicating that firearms are not welcome on the premises — even if entirely reasonable and understandable — they cannot avail themselves of Texas’s criminal trespass laws.
That last assertion is false. A simple reading of the law in question makes that clear.
For purposes of this section, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.
Even if they don’t have any sign, any property owner can still tell a carrier that they exclude guns. That person must then remove his firearm from the premises. Only if he declines to do so could he he then be charged with trespassing.
Through the lawsuit, Everytown wants to create legal booby traps for gun owners.
It’s unlikely that this silly lawsuit will succeed. After all, states routinely regulate all manner of signage. But if Everytown somehow wins, I think Texas gun owners would take great pleasure in seeing the judicial precedent that’s set used against other burdens on constitutionally guaranteed rights.
If rules making sure the speech on signs is clear and understandable somehow burden property owners’ First Amendment rights — “heightened and onerous speech requirements” according to the lawsuit — then what of the Second Amendment burdens?
Everytown whines about having to post signs at stores. Well, they object to these signs. I seem to recall that they approved of King County mandating suicide prevention signs in gun stores. Requiring someone to express a mandated message that can harm your own business is just fine with them.
But what about the Second Amendment burdens gun control want to impose on us?
- Background checks
- Waiting periods
- “Gun-free” zones
- Magazine restrictions
- Ban on entire classes of firearms
Those are somehow “reasonable” and “sensible” burdons on an enumerated right. If posting 30.06-compliant signs are somehow ruled burdensome, then Everytown will have handed us a useful precedent.