(More fall-out for the anti-gunners)
Altered Movie Poster Puts the Spotlight on a San Francisco Agency’s Gun Ban
By MALIA WOLLAN
Published: September 5, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — A recent Supreme Court decision could alter what public transit riders here see in advertisements on city buses and trains and in transit shelters.
Despite a San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency policy prohibiting advertisements that “appear to promote the use of firearms,” a gun rights group’s posters have been placed in city bus shelters.
Images promoting guns, which are banned under an advertising policy of the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency, showed up recently on posters for a conference for the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights group based in Washington.
The group spent some $10,000 to have the posters, which feature a woman armed with a shotgun, hung at bus stops across the city. The poster’s red type reads, “A violent criminal is breaking through your front door. Can you afford to be unarmed?”
The group printed the posters after learning that movie posters for the film “The Other Guys,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, had been altered to comply with the transit agency’s policy. At box offices, on billboards and in bus stops across the country, the movie’s poster depicted the actors with guns in each hand.
On posters here, though, the guns were replaced with more innocuous pepper spray canisters, police badges and bare hands.
When Alan Gottlieb, founder the Second Amendment Foundation, read on a gun law blog that Mr. Wahlberg and Mr. Ferrell had been stripped of their weapons, he promptly had 16 posters printed to promote the group’s gun rights policy conference, which is scheduled to be held here.
To his surprise, the posters were installed last week in what his organization called in a press release “something of a coup.”
“We were prepared to go to court and sue if they did not put them up,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “Having a gun is a constitutional right.”
Paul Rose, a spokesman for the city’s transportation agency, said that after the gun group’s posters went up, the city decided to take another look at its policy.
“At this point we’re not taking any action to remove the ads. We are currently reviewing our advertising policy in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, which may have altered the legal landscape regarding firearm advertising.”
That would be the June 28 decision in McDonald v. Chicago, in which the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the right to bear arms guaranteed under the Second Amendment applied to state and local gun control laws.
Despite the decision and the city’s apparent reluctance to enforce its advertising policy, Mr. Gottlieb is not convinced the posters will stay up. If the city removes them prematurely, he said, his organization is prepared to sue, as it has twice previously (and successfully) to block handgun bans here.
On Friday, riders waiting at a bus stop displaying the pro-gun poster seemed unaware that they had previously been shielded from such images. “I don’t want to see guns,” said Zsuzsanna Legradi, a 42-year-old gardener. “No one should have guns. It is bad enough that people have knives.”