Sumner County, TN — A Tennessee man was pulled over and fined for a pro-gun sticker on his pickup truck last month.
Nicholas Ennis reported that he’s had the sticker on his pickup truck for over a year without a problem.
The sicker shows a rifle, the letters “U” and “C,” followed by another rifle. Below that are the words “Gun Control.”
The two rifles create the illusion of the F and K to complete what looks like the “F word.”
“It’s got the symbol of a M-16 at the front and a symbol of an AK-47 at the end of it. The only thing you see on it is U-C gun control and two guns,” Ennis said.
Ennis reported that he was pulling through a Mapco gas station in Westmoreland when he was pulled over by Sumner County Sheriff’s Deputies.
When asked why he was being pulled over, the officer said that the sticker was illegal.
“He said the reason I pulled you over was because of my sticker on my truck being potentially obscene,” Ennis said.
On the ticket, the cop wrote down that Ennis’s sticker spelled out the entire word.
But even if it had, the sticker is still covered under the right to free speech.
Still, even though the stop was seriously lacking in legitimate grounds, the officer wrote Ennis a ticket. He’ll have to face the charges in court.
Ennis says it’s not right:
“I think my First Amendment rights have been violated because it’s not spelled out like he said on the ticket,” Ennis said. “We should have the right to express our opinions, and the freedom of speech, and they’re trying to take it away, the constitutional right, they’re trying to take all that away from us, like America ain’t free no more,” he said.
It’s worth noting that neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor the State of Tennessee outlaw the use of the word in this context.
When contacted, the Tennessee Attorney General admitted that the bumper sticker in question didn’t violate the law.
“The [statute] will not reach bumper stickers that are in extremely poor taste but are not obscene [under the Supreme Court’s obscenity precedents]. For example, bumper stickers such as “s..t happens,” although unquestionably in poor taste, do not meet the constitutional or statutory standards for obscenity because they do not appeal to the purient interest. Consequently, they cannot be banned as obscene.”
And while you and I might not choose to put this bumper sticker on our car, it’s interesting that this standard is only applied to one side.
The left can stage demonstrations with outright naked people in front of small children and do all manner of obscene things and it’s all free speech.
But if a gun owner speaks out against gun control in a way that isn’t as classy as it could be, that’s obscene.
Nah, we’re not buying it.