“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.”
HR 347: Pre-empting political protest, threatening
An innocent-looking little bill, HR 347, has made its way through both houses of Congress last week and needs only President Obama’s signature to become law. The law is intended to clarify an existing statute that makes it a crime to trespass on any federal property or designated area protected by the Secret Service. In addition to obvious locations like the White House and U.S. Capitol grounds, restricted areas may be designated by the Department of Homeland Security. Such arbitrarily designated areas could include perimeters around traveling politicians or foreign dignitaries and, particularly in this election year, areas in which protesters or demonstrators are not allowed.
The bill drops the word “knowingly” from the existing terminology about “willfully and knowingly” trespassing. In scrapping the “willfully,” the bill makes it a crime to remain in a restricted area, even if you do not know it’s illegal for you to be there. Essentially it makes it easier for the authorities to arrest and prosecute demonstrators. Persons convicted under the new law could be sentenced to up to a year in prison and up to ten years if carrying a “deadly or dangerous weapon.”
Listen to Judge Napolitano’s analysisi below and then got to the folowing URL for additional information: