The 1st Amendment to the Constitution declares that the people of the United States have a right to assemble, speak and petition the government for redress of grievance that cannot be abridged. But with the passage of H.R. 347, the Congress has gone ahead and abridged that right anyway. H.R. 347 (bizarrely named the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act”) declares that whoever knowingly engages in protest near a building where the president is doing his business is guilty of a federal crime if the protest “impedes” or “disrupts” the flow of government business or official functions.
… knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions
…or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–
(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if–
(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.”
No more demonstrating at presidential appearances, at least not if you don’t want to be arrested. No more demonstrating even near wherever the president is, even if nobody gets hurt, even if no property is damaged, even if nobody trespasses (see section b(2)). Raise your voice too loud and bother the president as he goes about his business and you can get tossed in federal prison for a year. Even talk about doing such a thing can get you a year in prison.
The members of Congress who voted for H.R. 347 struck against a blow against freedom of assembly, freedom of protest, and freedom of speech.
Who are the members of Congress voting for H.R. 347? The list is 388 members long, too long to list here.
Who are the members of Congress voting to stop H.R. 347? In Roll Call #73, they number just three: