Three Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives signed a letter questioning Flagstaff’s plan to see firearm advertisements banned from public buildings and facilities. The letter came after Flagstaff city leaders received a draft of new advertising guidelines that explicitly ban any mention of firearms or ammunition, even though the previous policy focused on banning “violence” and “antisocial behavior” in the advertisements.
Arizona State Representatives David Marshall (R-Snowflake) (pictured above, left), Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu) (pictured above, right), and Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott) (pictured above, middle) warned the draft policy “raises a host of constitutional concerns, including viewpoint discrimination, and very likely violates state law,” urging the city leaders to “postpone your consideration” until the new policy adheres Arizona law and the U.S. Constitution.
While the advertising ban would primarily affect those seeking to place ads at the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, which receives as many as 15,000 tourists each month, the draft presented to city leaders was a blanket policy that would also include facilities like the Jay Lively Activity Center ice skating rink.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Nguyen wrote that adopting the “radical” policy change would mean the city is “discriminating against firearms-related speech.”
Flagstaff is set to vote today on a new radical ad policy discriminating against firearms-related speech. I joined my @AZHouse colleagues @DaveMarshallAZ and @Leo4AzHouse in calling out its potential constitutional violations and likely breach of state law. #1A #2A pic.twitter.com/cBWUBsgaTP
— Quang Nguyen (@QuangNguyenAZ) September 12, 2023
According to a draft of the new policy uploaded to Flagstaff’s government website, the new guidance would ban all advertising “that promotes, solicits, depicts, or markets” any use “of firearms, ammunition, or related goods or services” on all city property.
In the draft, the language banning Second Amendment-based advertising comes after language explicitly banning advertising for tobacco, electronic cigarettes, marijuana, and liquor, but before language banning advertisements containing nudity, violent threats, pornography, prostitution, and political messages.
Discussed by city leaders and members of the public at a Flagstaff City Council Work Session on September 12, the issue received nearly an hour of public comment and analysis despite being the eighth issue discussed during the meeting.
After testimony from citizens, including multiple local business owners who claimed to regularly advertise with the City of Flagstaff, city vitality director Heidi Hansen acknowledged the stark opposition to her draft and said, she would incorporate the responses into a second draft before presenting it to the city council and mayor.
Hansen explained that the draft was created after a firearms seller’s advertisement was rejected, with changes requested by Flagstaff.
“The owner did not want to change it, so that becomes an appeal process. The appeal process then goes to the city manager,” said Hansen, explaining that she was eventually asked to create a draft policy to be reviewed or implemented by the city council.
“It can be whatever you want it to be,” Hansen told city leaders before saying she would incorporate the feedback from councilors and citizens to create a new draft.
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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Georgia Star News and a reporter for the Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Flagstaff, Arizona Downtown” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.