Do You Have First Amendment Rights in San Francisco Parks or Not?

Jurisdictional lines are funny things. Here in San Francisco you can hoist your banners and beat your drum to express the message of your choosing per your First Amendment Rights — until you tread onto Ocean Beach, the Presidio, or other federal land.

The National Park System doesn't let just anybody exercise his or her First Amendment rights. You need to get a permit first. This system has long rankled First Amendment activists. And, last week, the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the park system's free speech restrictions are “antithetical to the core.” How this will affect your First Amendment rights here in San Francisco remains to be seen. But, then, it also seems federal officials have an unusual idea of just what your First Amendment rights are.

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