FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2014 Information Contact: Geoffrey Talmon (208) 258-2280 ext. 213
Liberty Center expresses concern to BSU over its handling of a gun rights event
On Monday the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Center for Defense of Liberty sent a letter to Boise State University expressing its concern over the handling of an event sponsored by the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). YAL brought a speaker, Dick Heller, to the campus to discuss his successful lawsuit challenging a gun registration law in Washington, D.C., and to express his support for Second Amendment gun rights.
The Supreme Court of the United States in a 5-4 decision in 2008 in the Heller case held that the Second Amendment applies to federal enclaves and protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
YAL says it was charged an additional $465 for security purposes, information about the event was removed from BSU websites and literature was denied approval.
Geoffrey Talmon, director for the Center for the Defense of Liberty, told the university in his letter that it had violated the group’s First Amendment rights. "We believe that Boise State University violated the First Amendment when it assessed ‘security fees’ against the Young Americans for Liberty, a Boise State University student group, and when it required prior approval of event flyers, both of which occurred in connection with the speech given at the University by Dick Heller on May 16, 2014."
Talmon continued, "Allowing security fees to be imposed based on the expected reactions of the attendees at the speech not only has a chilling effect on free speech, but also institutionalizes a ‘heckler's veto’ as official University policy. With regard to the flyers, a group should not have to seek prior approval from the University before engaging in protected speech."
On behalf of YAL, the Center is asking that the additional security fees be refunded and BSU’s policies be revised.
"In addition to refunding the improperly assessed fees, we hope that the University will take this opportunity to work with us to revise its policies to fully comply with the requirements of the First Amendment. If it does not, however, we are willing to employ all resources at our disposal to achieve a just conclusion in this matter,” said Talmon.