Second Amendment advocacy organization Lone Star Gun Rights (LSGR) announced it has filed a lawsuit in a federal court against Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
According to LSGR’s statement, the lawsuit has three plaintiffs: the organization, one of its cofounders, and a constituent in Bonnen’s House District (HD-25). The lawsuit alleges Bonnen, who is silencing critics on social media by banning them from his Facebook page, has violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs, consistent with court rulings in similar or higher courts.
LSGR’s website says, “The legal precedent has been set by multiple cases that elected officials operating a public social media page for the purposes of providing official statements, legislative updates, etc. cannot ban or silence users, as it constitutes a public forum.”
Furthermore, “The case seeks a declaration from the court that affirms that Speaker Bonnen’s blocking of anyone on his public Facebook page violates the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, an injunction from the court to remove the ban on anyone currently banned from Speaker Bonnen’s page, and legal fees.”
The press release also says the following:
“As there is no official Speaker of the House Facebook page, and all official updates from the Speaker’s Office are posted only on his campaign Facebook page, LSGR and several members left comments to voice their disapproval of the Speaker’s actions. This resulted in an abundance of members, including those who operate the LSGR Facebook page, being banned from interacting on the Speaker’s page. This also resulted in their comments being deleted, leaving only the one side of the argument to be seen by the 15,321 Facebook users that follow the Speaker’s page, as well as the countless number of people who do not.”
Bonnen, who has been the recipient of much criticism following his public opposition to constitutional carry legislation, a three-time Republican Party of Texas legislative priority, did not immediately respond to Texas Scorecard for comment and has not released any official statement about the suit.
Bonnen also found himself entangled in controversy with another Second Amendment group, Texas Gun Rights, over House Bill 357 and the subsequent actions that took place. Chris McNutt, executive director of that organization, was distributing literature in the House Districts of Bonnen and two other influential lawmakers when Bonnen misled the public about McNutt’s actions in order to smear McNutt’s reputation and dodge responsibility for the fate of the bill in the Texas House.
The bill is now dead, and McNutt—along with Dudley Brown, the president of National Association of Gun Rights—has since demanded Bonnen apologize for his mischaracterizations of McNutt.
“We’re not going away. We’re not stopping. In fact, we’re looking at canvassing more districts, and we’re going to hold you accountable for what you’ve done here,” Brown said.
Now LSGR has given Bonnen another fight to consider, and the criticisms of his support—or lack thereof—of Texans’ Second Amendment rights continue to mount.
The full press release can be found here.