March 21, 2013
Free speech was under attack during Austin’s famous SXSW conference, after an Infowars street team, along with other groups, was cited with a warning for handing out free magazines on street corners. Alex Jones responded with a flash protest of the event, while police soon refused to further ticket groups and told Jones they disagreed with any policy to restrict speech.
Now, Infowars has learned that ranking police officials viewed the action as unconstitutional, and ordered officers to leave groups doing street promotions during the conference alone.
Assistant Police Chief Raul Munguia said today that the ordinance the street team had been ticketed for violating, § 14-9-42 RESTRICTIONS ON DIRECT SALES, did not apply to people handing out printed materials, which was reportedly viewed as “pamphleteering.”.
Munguia told Infowars that he felt applying the ordinance violated first amendment rights. He met the next day with other police administrators who agreed, and decided to stop police action on the matter.
The local CBS affiliate reported on Munguia’s actions after a band wearing sandwich boards advertising “free hugs” was ticketed, then immediately told by another officer that it was ok. KEYE misleadingly reported “Pamphlet Ordinance Not Enforced During SXSW,” yet consultation with the police department and city code officials has made clear that no such ordinance exists barring pamphlet distribution (which is obviously protected under the first amendment).
Simply put, handing out literature is obviously not illegal. The founders sparked revolution in large part through pamphlet’s like Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. If we don’t fight to protect the first amendment today, then we will lose it along with the republic itself.
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