Gun rights group sues California over censored blog post

August 8, 2016

United-states-bill-of-rights_1-630x670A Second Amendment rights group claims to be defending First Amendment rights in a lawsuit it has filed against the California Legislature’s legal counsel. The dispute surrounds a censored blog post that contained the home addresses of lawmakers who recently voted for gun control legislation. [Sac Bee]

On July 1, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of gun control bills into law. Shortly afterwards, a conservative blog published the home addresses of 40 legislators.

The author of the post pledged to keep the names up until the legislators voted to repeal the laws or until the lawmakers died. The Office of Legislative Counsel then demanded that WordPress take down the blog post. WordPress complied, and the author was barred from publishing similar content.

On Friday, the Firearms Policy Coalition filed a federal lawsuit in Sacramento against Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine. The Firearms Policy Coalition filed the suit on behalf of the author of the blog post. The coalition is not identifying the author, but is saying the author is a member of its organization.

State law forbids publishing an elected official’s home address with the intent of threat of causing great bodily harm. The law also prohibits publishing elected officials’ home addresses if the politicians or their representatives demand the addresses not be published. Boyer-Vine’s office cited the law when demanding the blog post be taken down.

However, the Firearms Policy Coalition says the application of the law violated the First Amendment rights of its member. Brandon Combs, the president of the coalition, said the state government is censoring speech it does not like.

Combs also said the comment the author of the blog post made about legislators dying was not a threat. The comment implied death by natural causes, Combs said.

The Firearms Policy Coalition has published a video announcing its lawsuit:

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Why don’t they want people to know where they live? Does it make them feel DEFENSELESS? Well chumps, welcome to the club. Now you know how it feels to live under your oppressive lawmaking.

LAramsfan you are a hypocrite. You hide behind your moniker while blasting the author for not giving their name. It’s hard to take anyone’s opinions seriously who isn’t willing to use their real name to stand by their opinions.

Jon, Jon… Jon,

I’m hypocritical? Well I guess with your fast and loose definition I would be! What about “Mr. Blogger’s” hypocrisy? You take his suit seriously while he hides behind his “moniker” DOE

PUBLIUS? You’ll not address that, now will you? Why? Because he shares your values of threatening and intimidation? You bet your sweat hypocritical ass he does. If you can’t take my posts seriously why bother reading them let alone answering them? Just ignore me, we’ll both be better off…



Plus there is no reason to hide behind a handle because no one in a position of power or authority has ever used their position to harass, arrest, intimidate, and otherwise bully someone once they knew their name……..

I’ve experience something close to that and some of my opinion about the Right to Privacy stems from that experience…

I used my real name and city of residency in response on a political party’s web sight to a situation I was thrust into at a rally a few years back, one that left me confused and questioning the real intent of this particular party. I wrote to them and voiced my concerns and asked if they condoned what happened. I never got a response from them, on the web sight or otherwise, but some of their party members sure did.

Since I was listed in the local phone book with name, address and phone number I got three phone calls, two telling me what a POS I was, and one asserting the “problem” I CREATED wouldn’t have happened if I had not brought the “Mexican Bitch” with me to the rally and let her question the need for racially charged images of President Obama. But the coup d’etat (did I spell that right Perspicacious?) was when I came home from work and found a placard NAILED to my door calling me a race traitor that should be hung!

Now I challenge any of you out there, especially those with a spouse and or children to worry about, to experience those same things, or even just one of them, and not feel strongly about my Right to Privacy and defending that same right for others. Even yours Perspicacious…

Sorry, when I said “…feel strongly about my Right to Privacy” in the last paragraph what I meant was YOUR Right to Privacy. Did I clean that up correctly Perspicacious? Is my spelling correct?

This “Blogger” remains “anonymous”, exercising his right to privacy, while suing a state legislator and 39 of her piers and co-workers for not allowing him to infringe on theirs? How does that work? When “Mr. Blogger” heard of the new bills making it harder to buy ammunition and barring magazine clips that hold more than 10 rounds being signed into law “Mr. Blogger” retaliated by posting a “tyrant registry” of 14 senators and 26 Assembly members who voted to approve the new laws, saying the people listed could be removed in only two ways: by repealing the laws, or by dying. “Mr. Blogger” went on to state: “These tyrants are no longer going to be insulated from us.”

Veiled threats? You betcha! Meant to intimidate rather than inform? You betcha! Meant to send a clear message of intimidation to anyone who would side with the new laws? You betcha! Meant to incite rather than inform? You betcha! Worth the time and money we the tax payers will shell out in defending against this asinine law suit? Hell no!

This frivolous law suit goes on to state: “…residential picketing is often constitutionally protected, concerned citizens can hardly picket demanding action from their legislators

without knowing where they live.” What it doesn’t say is that many more court decisions says it isn’t. Besides you can picket them at their work place, the State Capitol Building.

I’m a 1st Amendment advocate, exercising that Right as often as I can, but in saying that I would never use it to threaten, intimidate or incite others to violence, veiled or otherwise. Using it for those purposes is an abuse of that Right and should be treated as such.

Hey, Mr. Blogger! I need you name and address so I can bring a few of my friends over to picket your home! How ’bout it?!

“39 of her piers”

Hopefully she doesn’t own the Cayucos pier, they just got that one fixed. What about Avila, does she own that one too?

Interesting how the double-standard hypocrites in the California State Legislature exempted themselves from their own unconstitutional, totalitarian laws.

The Govt. allows posting of police officers addresses but not the loser politicians who write the law the cops have to enforce. This is bullshit all politicians should have their addresses listed just like every other citizen. Again the political class wanting “special rules”. You are a public servant jackass.

No, they don’t allow the posting of police officers addresses…

California Government Code section 6254.21(c) also cover that aspect. I don’t have my address, or phone number, “listed” anywhere with my permission, should I be held liable because I’m not acting like one of your self described “…every other citizen”? Is the National No Call List an infringement on a business’s rights who use telemarketing to do business? When, if ever, did the 1st Amendment give the right to anyone to threaten another.

One should also read what “Clear and Present Danger” means when it comes to your Freedom of Speech. Maybe, just maybe it’ll clear some things up…

The 13 “up” votes for this post just goes to show the level of ignorance we have when it comes to what is legal and what is not. While I’m called mindless for asking why, folks like the “13” pop-off their votes ignorantly and suffer no indignation what-so-ever for doing so. Wow! Welcome to the “Happiest Place On Earth…”

Only someone not comfortable in their own skin would care about up or down votes on a news thread. Really? You care about thumbs up and thumbs down and expect to be taken seriously?

Look at all of my other posts, did I ever use the vote tally, for any reason, in those past posts? No, I didn’t. This time was to prove a point about ignorance, especially that shown in regards to what is legal and what is not.

Comfortable in my own skin? Pretty much! I do wish my chin would stop sagging though…

They could if they wished create a completely self owned and self published blog, instead they are using a third party(wordpress) that can control content and has a use agreement. So it’s not a violation of the 1st amendment.

WordPress took the blog down which is completely within their rights.

People forget just what the internet is, It isn’t a newspaper or a private conversation or speech from a box top in the middle of town. It is a digital electronic manipulation of information that is engineered by people that know how to write computer code, if you are using someone else’s code then they can delete it.

This basic fact of the internet is just so hard for people to grasp, hence we have huge e-mail scandals, hacking scandals, porn scandals. The list goes on and on.

Number one rule of the internet: Never believe anything you see from just one source.

Number two is never post anything on a device connected to the internet that you don’t want the entire wold to see.

Nothing is secure on the internet.

I don’t find your argument compelling, as government force majeure compelled the service provider.

What if I repost on my own self-controlled web site? Then will it be a First Amendment issue?

I don’t see what an the hubbub is about. Anyone can walk into the Clerk’s office and view anyone’s address, including the grand jury. It’s all public. It will be interesting to see how the court system feels.

The argument is that the government can’t force an internet company( in this case WordPress) to post things they don’t want to. And yes if you post it on a website you built and control then is is a first amendment issue, sue away!

The fact that all that information is easily found (Or to someone that knows how, ANY information) is irrelevant.

The original blog post and Legislator contact info is attached to the court complaint as an exhibit:

Well, is been changed since Friday. Hit me up if you would like a copy.

Just read through there and I didn’t see that at all

See above.

I don’t need their home addresses…their names and party affiliation will do to make a wise decision in the ballot box.

I would be very suspicious of any political representative who lived in hiding. This is very concerning that there are decision makers who object to having their home address made public.

A couple of years ago some of the legislators were discovered to not be living in the communities they represented. I remember they all stated moving back to their “rented” residences. Such a group of bozo’s we have in the State!

Didn’t a Alan Settle pull the same thing when he was mayor or such in SLO, trying to convince us that he really did live in a rental he owned with 5 other college/or such students and not in the high dollar house he owned in the five cities area?

Yeap. That guy is a real POS.

Why? Why would that bother you? Especially in this age of the “Modern Sporting Rifle” being toted around by just about every nut out there! If not that particular Assault Weapon than any gun available! There is only ONE reason for this law suit, just as disclosing those 40 lawmakers addresses was… to intimidate those 40 while showing other lawmakers the consequences of going against them! PERIOD! How could there be any other reason? HOW!

We also have a right to privacy alluded to in OUR 4th Amendment Rights and ruled upon by many Supreme Court decisions stating that several of the amendments create this right. Why would a lawmaker be excluded from this right? Just because he or she becomes a thorn in the side of the gun lobby? Rule in the favor of these idiots and the right to privacy will be attacked at every level, including yours Mr. Estrada…

Instead of mindlessly asking ‘Why?’, why don’t you read the Complaint and inform yourself?

Why?! I’m responding to Mr. Estrada… Mindlessly? Really? I guess if I don’t agree with “gun nuts” I’m “mindless”? Oh well, I’ll remain so. Oh, by-the-way, I did read it…

It’s mindless if you haven’t read the legal assertions. If you have read it, then why are you asking ‘why’? Present a counter argument.

Ignorant anti-gun zealots don’t know what a “counter argument” is.

Ignorance is curable but a gun shot to the head by some gun zealot is not! Just ask that of the family members, friends and acquaintances of those killed in Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and the countless other places where gun zealots exercised their Right to Bear Arms to kill innocent people trumping their Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Let me help cure your ignorance; I’ve never stated I am anti-gun, I am not! I am however anti-AR15, anti-M16, anti-extended clip capacity and anti-semi or fully automatic weapon, full bore, no compromising Zealot.

Did I correctly spell everything this time? Is my punctuation okay? Sentence structure acceptable? Is this counter argument up to your standards?

Now for the record explain to me and the rest of the posters your comprehensive, informed and fact filled position on how the Right to Bear Arms trumps everyone else’s Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

As I have already said I’ve read the complaint which would include the legal assertions. I ask to see how a person comes to his or her assertion and or conclusion, as is the case with Mr. Estrada.

Mindless, in my opinion, is a presumption without merit let alone proof based on an obvious prejudice towards another without knowing him or her! That’s mindless…

Please let Mr. Estrada speak for himself and if and when he does I’ll be more than happy present my opinion. Until then? Please stop heckling me… Jeeeez! All of a sudden I feel like I’m at a Trump or Tea Bagger rally!

Damn it! I was really hoping that the Moderator would step in and delete my last post (not being on point) showing that the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply when it comes to private businesses! They not only can control and moderate the content they can also make you sign a User Agreement outlining that fact BEFORE you can use it. Deleting any “post”, for any reason, is well within their rights.

That was easy, mindless or not!

Good point. One that I already conceived three days ago. While the deletion was effected by the service provider, it was a result of external government threat. Thus, I’m not compelled. What if I repost on my own site which is not subject to any service provider? Think I’ll get a threat letter?

While I agree with our right to privacy, there is a public right too. So if you choose to run for a popularity contest to acquire an elected public office, think of it this way, you a now work for the public and your primary qualification is that you were elected. Some may disagree with my opinion but I will stand firm on the public’s has a right to know what their elected employee’s are paid, how they perform and where they live. This is a condition employment and everyone who considers these publicly elected jobs understand this. Returning to the private life is what they say when leaving public office.

I appreciate your civil response but I disagree. The one thing all of those who oppose these peoples personal privacy forget is the fact that most have families residing with them. You put them at risk as well… Don’t forget that.