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Guns Save Lives censorship case
Guns Save Lives censorship case--

Oral argument, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, at 9:30 a.m.,
Arizona Court of Appeals, 1501 W. Washington, Phoenix, Courtroom 2, 2nd Floor.

FOX-TV Report:


Click the image for details

What's at stake (3 years into the censorship):

1. This notion that a public bus stop is a non-public venue is preposterous. It is absurd on its face to any normal person of average intelligence. When I tell people about this facet of the case they stare in disbelief, jaws agape. I let the silence hang for a while. I have read the briefs and understand the arguments and precedents. No amount of explanation, about the rarified atmosphere of the legal world, helps justify this bizarre excuse America's fifth largest city puts forward to deny our speech and allow its censorship of our message, at least to average citizens. In my opinion this needs to change.

2. Giving greater protection for commercial speech than political speech defies the underlying principles of free speech as I understand them (and I am not suggesting our ads were one or the other, as this case does). A city should not be an arbiter of such things. The Constitution makes no such distinction in any way, shape or form, as numerous attorneys and experts keep reminding me when this subject comes up. Both forms of speech should receive equal protection.

3. The fact that our message has been censored now going into its fourth year is an outrageous affront. It demolishes any notion people hold of speedy justice. It is a denial of justice, at the hands of the city and the courts the city and the state runs. It is inexcusable, and we now face further delays and unknowns even with this hearing imminent. Some expedient resolution would be fair if the case drags on, but we cannot expect one, which is why we are running new alternate ads, that the city can somehow judge acceptable. The fact that the city accepts the new ad (images below) highlights the inconsistency of their policies.

4. The hubris and malignant attitudes of those in a position of authority, to deign to tell us what we can and cannot say in public (short of fraud or indecency) so offends the sense of freedom in this country it is grounds for punishment against the offenders in my opinion. We realize this will never occur, but the fact they can do this to us with no repercussion or even fear of reprisal only encourages more of the same, and is injustice writ large. Wrongdoing deserves punishment. Just not in this case. Does that seem right to you?

5. The fact that none of the city officials could clearly identify why our ads were not acceptable makes it plain as day their actions are arbitrary and improper. The fact that they posted numerous ads that were clearly outside their published guidelines is glaring evidence that they make decisions in an inconsistent and unequal manner, favoring some ads and disfavoring others. I believe we were singled out because they don't like our message. They are prohibited from doing so, actions so far from their authorized duties and in such violation of our rights I feel it merits punishment. I fully understand we are not pursuing that, but it leaves me wondering who should, since someone should. Content-based discrimination is a terrible offense. A lack of punishment for official denial of rights encourages further denials. I probably shouldn't even say that.

6. This concept that the city can write our advertisements for us is so far beyond any delegated authority they do or should have defies imagination. No conceivable form of government in this nation dreams of a system where elected officials or unelected bureaucrats maintain internal ad agencies to concoct what advertisers are allowed to say, or how they should market their wares. Such tyrannical activity must be nipped in the bud, its berries plucked harsh and crude, its roots ripped with forced fingers rude (with thanks to John Milton for a well turned phrase).

7. We have been severely harmed by this censorship, disruption to our business, emotional distress, distraction from our real work, and extensive delays. I believe in my heart the resolution of the case ought to include something to make up for the egregious damage the city has caused us, but I understand it is not part of the case. It is my position that the city be required to post the advertisements again for at least as long as the original contract required. And that would just bring us back to even, where we would be -- had they not interfered more than three years ago.

8. If I were in charge (I'm not), to help compensate us for the enormous and unjustifiable delays, which could have put us out of business and caused us such grief, the posting should be at the city's expense, but I understand that's not how this system typically works. Considering the city's outrageous (my opinion) denial of our fundamental rights, interference with our contract and business, excruciating offense and delays, even that would barely be fair, but what do I know. The people I talk to, they think something like that wouldn't be unreasonable either, but what do they know.

9. I would like to learn who exactly decided to censor our ads, we never did find out.

Now you know how I feel, where I see the touchstones in the case, and what I would like to see as an outcome.

The Goldwater and ACLU attorneys goals, summarized from the filed briefs:

1. Establish state constitutions as a focal point in fundamental rights cases; and the Arizona state constitutional provision for free speech as providing greater than the federal protection, and paramount depending on context. Establish strict scrutiny as the only standard for free speech issues.

2. Require the city to implement guidelines that are constitutional, unambiguous, and provide clear guidance for what is and is not allowable. Prevent bureaucrats from acting with unfettered discretion, in an arbitrary and capricious manner, with discriminatory enforcement.

3. Put Korwin's signs back up. Even while making other determinations.

4. Eliminate Ninth Circuit and federal forum analysis from control in Arizona and elsewhere.

5. Challenge (overturn) the city's claim to allowable content-based restrictions on free speech.

Our side had mentioned relief under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in a brief; I would encourage a quick look at 18 U.S.C. §241 and §242, whose context may seem remote (to a legal mind at least, I'm not a lawyer), but whose written text is poignant, explicit and spot on. Google those if you want an eyeful: Denial of civil rights under color of law is a federal felony, with punishment including fines, imprisonment and up to the death penalty.



Go figure.

They should not be in the business of approving words.

Photos and montage by John Rosado of Rosado LegalShield for

We are now reaching 1.8 million viewers daily
with this message the lamestream media suppresses.

With all the hubbub surrounding guns in this day and age,
you would think people would welcome a little education and training.
Some of the people who talk about gun safety want anything but.

Excerpt from Your First Gun:
by Alan Korwin

"Contemporary images of a gun-free America may envision an entirely disarmed public, but do not go so far as to imagine an entirely disarmed state -- the police, the military and officials remain armed in such scenarios. Even in the hoplophobic fantasies of the most ardent anti-gun-rights advocates, police are armed to protect us from criminals who do not disappear with an imaginary gun evaporation.

"Somewhere deep inside, the idea of solving problems of peace and freedom by simply eliminating weapons nags. How would that work? The fascists, radicals, the hardened criminals, religious zealots, sociopaths and psychopaths, would-be dictators and tyrants -- they do not become peaceful or go away merely because we disarm and make ourselves defenseless.

"Instinctively we recognize this. Strategically, people charged with protecting us and freedom understand this. In fact, the problems supposedly solved by blanket disarmament get worse, since we can pretty much rely on bad actors picking up clubs, or knives, or enough machine tools to start making guns again.

"So the gun-free-society model generally presupposes a heavily armed government presence -- drug enforcement agents, secret service, air marshals, border patrol, customs officers, coast guard, postal inspectors, and of course, local sheriffs and police. Not to mention a National Guard, FBI, TSA, CIA, and armed forces of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Plus private detectives and some bodyguards, maybe private security forces for gated communities.

"Would American society remain the bastion of freedom, the linchpin of liberty on the entire face of the Earth, if the government was armed to the teeth and the public was completely disarmed? It is such a massive change from the way this country has always been, it is difficult to imagine the scope and effect of the change. The hopeful do dream of a world where hostility ends when government is fully in control at last. The skeptics aren't so sure...

"Of all the definitions of peace, the practical ones recognize a need to preserve peace. This preservation only comes through the use, or ability to threaten the use, of force. This is generally called peace through strength.

"Utopian notions of peace recognize a possibility of peace without force, and without even the potential to threaten force, in a world of true enlightenment and enduring tranquility, abundance and prosperity. This of course requires a fundamental shift in human nature across the planet, and does not appear likely any time soon.

"A magical world where weapons cease to exist -- where by a wave of a wand America is suddenly gun-free -- does not get us any closer to peace or freedom. In fact, it makes matters worse. The good guys, it turns out, need to be able to protect their freedoms...

"It's easy to picture a gun-free world. Just go back in time to before guns, and look at history. You find a more violent, less stable and less safe world than we enjoy today. In a gun-free world, instead of stick-up men, gang bangers, Al Capone, Josef Stalin and Mao Tse-Dung, you have highwaymen, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar. They wiped out entire civilizations, and raped, pillaged and plundered, with impunity, without guns. It was times like those when you really needed a gun. Or two. And a whole lot more ammunition than whatever you had.

"Eliminating guns merely shifts the balance of power to the strong and the brutish. It does not eliminate the Four Horseman of Sociopathology -- Angry, Hungry, Stupid and Wicked. And it does not provide peace or enhance personal or national freedom. Until those horsemen are somehow defeated (and no one has even a remote idea on how to do that) the good guys need their guns. For safety. For protection. For deterrence. For the children.

"If guns suddenly disappeared by magic, the good guys would have to reinvent them, and quickly. It wouldn't be hard -- Communist China, Brazil, Italy, Russia and other high-quality gun-producing nations we have little control over would simply flood the market with product (with prices shifting as supply and demand move with market changes). Well-intentioned desires to disarm America typically overlook and would do nothing to stop weapon production abroad. (In fact, our own Army currently relies on the Italian Berretta for all its sidearms).

"Import restrictions would have roughly the same effect on guns as they do on illegal drugs and immigrant workers, namely nothing. If you like the war on drugs, you're going to love the war on guns..."
das, proud to be a member of since Sep 2012.

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