H.R. 347 Isn't About Protesting
by Sue Basko
There's a lot of misinfo going around about H.R. 347. This law is not about protest. It has to do with going into a restricted area, that is cordoned off or posted, of the White House, Vice President's official residence, any place the President or V.P. are staying, or any place anyone who is protected by the Secret Service is staying. It also has to do with causing such a ruckus near one of these places that it impedes official business. It also prohibits doing the same at an area that is so restricted for a special event of national importance.
Also, this was the law already, the wording was just slightly changed to remove the mens rea, or mental state, of "knowingly and willingly" to make it "knowingly." "Willingly" is hard to define and pinpoint, so it was changed to merely "knowingly."
Also, causing such a ruckus is a rather minor crime, unless the person carries a weapon or causes significant bodily injury.
Protesting is not a license to act like a jackass. Read the full law below. Go ahead and protest, just keep out of restricted areas, don't carry weapons or throw things, and don't blockade doorways to places guarded by the Secret Service. Protesters should not be doing those things anyway. A protest should not endanger any person. That's a siege, not a protest. Many laws can be misused against protesters, but this one is not aimed at protesters.
H. R. 347
One Hundred Twelfth Congress
United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,
the third day of January, two thousand and twelve
To correct and simplify the drafting of section 1752 (relating to restricted buildings
or grounds) of title 18, United States Code.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Federal Restricted Buildings
and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011’’.
SEC. 2. RESTRICTED BUILDING OR GROUNDS.
Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to
read as follows:
‘‘§ 1752. Restricted building or grounds
‘‘(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building
or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
‘‘(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the
orderly conduct of Government business or official functions,
engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such
proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so
that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly
conduct of Government business or official functions;
‘‘(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt
the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions,
obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted
building or grounds; or
‘‘(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence
against any person or property in any restricted building or
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided
in subsection (b).
‘‘(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is—
‘‘(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than 10 years, or both, if—
‘‘(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense,
uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm;
‘‘(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as
defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
‘‘(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both, in any other case.
‘‘(c) In this section—
H. R. 347—2
‘‘(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any
posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area—
‘‘(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice
President’s official residence or its grounds;
‘‘(B) of a building or grounds where the President or
other person protected by the Secret Service is or will
be temporarily visiting; or
‘‘(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction
with an event designated as a special event of national
‘‘(2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’
means any person whom the United States Secret Service is
authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by
Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.