A Texan grassroots gun rights organization, Lone Star Gun Rights, filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
The lawsuit can be read here.
The organization claims that Bonnen, who represents House District 25 (Angleton/Lake Jackson), has muzzled critics on his public Facebook page in his official capacity as both the Representative of District 25 and as House Speaker. On this page, he constantly gives legislative updates to his followers.
As BLP reported in April, Speaker Bonnen declared that HB 357, Texas’s Constitutional Carry bill, was “dead” after a grassroots activist, Chris McNutt of Texas Gun Rights, went on a peaceful block-walking campaign to raise awareness about the bill languishing in committee.
On April 6th, the Speaker went on Facebook to state that a number of grassroots organizations “want anyone – including criminals – to be able to carry a gun without a license,” despite the fact that Constitutional Carry keeps the portion of Texas gun law intact which prohibits felons from carrying.
Bonnen doubled down on the Constitutional Carry misinformation when he went on the Chad Hasty Show and said that Constitutional Carry was “an issue that would allow a criminal the ability to carry a gun.”
Given that there is no official House Speaker Facebook page, all official updates from the Speaker’s Office are posted on his campaign Facebook page. In turn, LSGR and their members left comments voicing their disapproval with the Speaker’s actions.
As a result, a good portion of LSGR members, including those who run the LSGR Facebook page, were banned from interacting on the Speaker’s page. Due to the deletion of their comments, only one side of the argument will be seen by Bonnen’s 15,321 Facebook followers and other people who visit his page.
Lone Star Gun Rights is joined by two individual plaintiffs in their efforts to sue Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen in Federal Court for 1st and 14th amendment violations for silencing his critics in what higher Courts have declared to be a public forum in past decisions.
The suit filed aims to get an injunction against Bonnen to unban all Facebook users who have been banned at the moment. On top of that, it will seek to reinforce the precedent that an elected official cannot silence critics in a public forum.
The plaintiffs are not seeking punitive damages, however, they have plans to seek reimbursement of legal fees.
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