The California state legislature is well known for passing legislation that criminalizes basic Second Amendment rights. But their attacks on the United States Constitution don’t stop there.
A new bill – AB 1671 – would make publishing an undercover video of a “health care provider” punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or three years in a state prison for first-time offenders, and $10,000 or three years in prison for second-time offenders.
Recording a conversation without both parties’ consent is already a crime in California. The new bill would make it illegal “for a person who unlawfully eavesdrops upon or records a confidential communication as described above with a health care provider, as defined, to intentionally disclose or distribute the contents of the confidential communication without the consent of all parties to the confidential communication.”
It gets worse.
The bill also subjects to criminal prosecution anyone who “aids and abets any person in the commission of those offenses.” That means that if a journalist receives an undercover video from an anonymous source, he or she could be prosecuted for publishing that video or disseminating its contents. Even sharing an undercover video on social media or re-publishing it on Youtube could land a California resident in hot water.
Media companies have come out in opposition to the bill, saying it could have a “chilling effect” on free speech and plunge the state into costly First Amendment court battles, according to the Courthouse News Service.
“This bill directly implicates the First Amendment, especially the concern of the press that this could ultimately penalize freelance reporters or journalists who distribute a truthful communication,” Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, said before voting against AB 1671.
The bill, which has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, was developed by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, as a thinly veiled attack on the recent campaign to uncover Planned Parenthood’s trade in fetal tissue.
So why are we covering it at GunsAmerica?
Here’s what concerns us: the same investigative techniques that captured the Planned Parenthood videos have also been used in support of the Second Amendment.
This video (see above), for example, revealed how the anti-gun lobby lies to the American people about its true gun-banning agenda. In the video, a journalist asks a Hillary Clinton Alternate Delegate whether Clinton supports banning all guns, to which she replies, “for sure… You have to take that sort of moderate ‘We just wanna have common sense legislation so our children are safe!’ You say shit like that, and then people will buy into it.”
AB 1671 sets a dangerous precedent that allows lawmakers to unilaterally protect certain industries or groups by criminalizing legitimate investigative techniques. If such a law were in place to protect party delegates, for example, GunsAmerica could be subject to criminal prosecution. The journalist who captured the video and the author who wrote the article could be thrown in jail for doing nothing more than telling the truth.
Constitutional rights are mutually protective. The First Amendment protects the Second and vice versa. An attack on any constitutional right is an attack on all of them, and supporters of the Second Amendment would do well to keep their eyes open to assaults on any portion of the Constitution.