Landmark Legislation Comes After a Conservative Student was Hit with Terror Threats for Posting Rifle on Social Media
Big League Politics broke the story two weeks ago regarding 20-year-old Michigan resident Lucas Gerhard, a former Lake Superior State University (LSSU) student who was arrested, charged with terrorism, and then thrown in jail for months for posting a picture of a legally-obtained firearm on social media.
The shocking story has since gone viral, been picked up by other sources, and a Republican state lawmaker is preparing legislation that will protect the free speech of conservative students and stop prosecutorial abuses like what has occurred with the Gerhard case.
Republican Rep. John Reilly of Lake Orion is introducing legislation in the Michigan state legislature that would create a requirement for a particular target in the current terror threats statute as well as a “reasonable person” test so more conservatives are not targeted in a similar manner to Gerhard by the vague and open-ended laws.
“A bright young man has had his life ruined, all because of one overzealous prosecutor who was unfamiliar with First Amendment law,” Rep. Reilly said in a press release.
“Lucas Gerhard’s aspirations to a career in criminal justice have been irreparably harmed, and we don’t know how many other people’s lives have been destroyed in the same way,” he added.
Reilly is urging people from Michigan to contact his office via phone at (517) 373-1798 and email at JohnReilly@house.mi.gov if they have had their 1st Amendment rights trampled upon in similar fashion to Gerhard. Reilly will hold a press conference on Tuesday at 4pm at the Governor’s Room at Karoub Associates, 121 W. Allegan St., Lansing, MI to officially announce his legislation.
Gerhard is currently looking at years in prison but is refusing to take a plea deal despite the odds facing him. He and his father Mark believe that this case will set a precedent that could resonate throughout the country, as the digital crackdown against free speech intensifies and more conservatives are targeted as a result.
“Lucas is adamant that he didn’t do this. He is not in any way or fashion looking to take a plea. He is going to fight this all the way through, which I think is a good thing,” Mark Gerhard said.
“There are a lot of kids getting prosecuted under these kind of charges. If Lucas takes a plea, everyone following him is diminished. There are not going to be many opportunities for them to fight back against this after it becomes a precedent,” he added.
The Gerhard family is raising money to cover the legal fees for the case as the state doggedly tries to make an example of Lucas. Big League Politics will cover tomorrow’s press conference and any developments surrounding the case as it continues to unfold.