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Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives and 2 others

STOP Impeding our 1st Amendment rights! REVISE/DELETE #2 & #3 Points of bill HR 347

"We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive." King Jr. Martin Luther

H.R.347 - Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 SUMMARY AS OF: 11/17/2011 Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 - Amends the federal criminal code to revise the prohibition against entering restricted federal buildings or grounds to impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly enters any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. Defines "restricted buildings or grounds" as a posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of: (1) the White House or its grounds or the Vice President's official residence or its grounds, (2) a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting, or (3) a building or grounds so restricted due to a special event of national significance.

Stop impeding on the 1st Amendment. The presence of the NSSE (secret Service) at events of importance should not give lawmakers the ability to curb 1st amendment rights to protest - nor should it legally enable any police authority to effectively issue a federal arrest for such actions. Revision/Deletion of point #2 and #3 in the bill H.R.347, are necessary as to not impede on 1st amendment rights of people across the United States. The point of hiring Secret Service is for protective roles, ensuring the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, such as the President, past Presidents, Vice Presidents, presidential candidates, foreign embassies, etc. The presence of such an entity should confidently enable any representative speaking publicly the assurance of his/her protection without altering amendments to entrap civil liberties.

Under current law, White House trespassers are prosecuted under a local ordinance, a Washington, DC legislation that can bring misdemeanor charges for anyone trying to get close to the president without authorization. Under H.R. 347, a federal law will formally be applied to such instances, but will also allow the government to bring charges to protesters, demonstrators and activists at political events and other outings across America.

Although such protection isn’t extended to just everybody, making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest. Judgement can be carried out by police whether or not the public is even made aware of the presence of such an official in the vicinity.

The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a government function with a federal offense if Secret Service is on the scene, but the law stretches to include not just the president’s palatial Pennsylvania Avenue home. Under the law, any building or grounds where the president is visiting — even temporarily — is covered, as is any building or grounds “restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance."

Entering such a facility is thus outlawed, as is disrupting the orderly conduct of “official functions,” engaging in disorderly conduct “within such proximity to” the event or acting violent to anyone, anywhere near the premises. Rep. Justin Amash writes on his official Facebook account Tuesday,

“The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it's illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect it's illegal.”

Under that verbiage, that means a peaceful protest outside a candidate’s concession speech would be a federal offense, but those occurrences covered as special event of national significance don’t just stop there. And neither does the list of covered persons that receive protection.

“Some government officials may need extraordinary protection to ensure their safety. But criminalizing legitimate First Amendment activity — even if that activity is annoying to those government officials — violates our rights,” adds the representative.

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

In criminal law, entrapment is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit.

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