Second Amendment Foundation
12500 NE Tenth Place • Bellevue, WA 98005www.saf.org
(425) 454-7012 • FAX (425) 451-3959 •
SAF SUES LIBRARY SYSTEM OVER INTERNET CENSORSHIP OF GUN WEBSITES
For Immediate Release: 11/16/2006
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and three Washington State residents have filed a federal lawsuit against a north-central Washington regional library system for denying them access to websites that include information on firearms and publications dealing with guns.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in Spokane. Joining SAF in the lawsuit are Sarah Bradburn of Republic, Ferry County; Pearl Cherrington of Twisp and Charles Heinlen of Okanogan, both towns in Okanogan County. They are represented by the Seattle firm of Rafel Manville, and the American Civil Liberties Union. The defendant is the North Central Regional Library District (NCRL) encompassing Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant and Okanogan counties.
SAF and its co-plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of the library district’s policy of using internet filters on publicly-available computer terminals to block access to constitutionally-protected speech, including publications such as Women & Guns magazine, which is owned by SAF. The library refuses to unblock such access even at the request of the plaintiffs.
“The NCRL’s policy of refusing to disable its Internet filters upon request is restricting the ability of speakers, content providers and patrons of the NCRL’s public library branches to access the contemporary marketplace of ideas,” the lawsuit states.
“We entered this lawsuit because citizens are being denied access to our website and information about our organization and publication,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “That clearly violates both the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution.”
The lawsuit seeks to permanently enjoin the library system from blocking adult access to information upon their request, even though the material they want to view or research is constitutionally protected.
“The library system should not have the authority to censor information a wide range of topics, including gun rights,” Gottlieb stated. “This lawsuit is a warning to other library systems around the country against doing the same thing.”