Tired of Being a Successful Small Business Owner?


Yesterday I noted the Institute for Justice's First Amendment challenge to an inane Dallas ordinance that limits businesses to window signs that no one will see. Today I.J. is launching its "Free Speech for Small Businesses" protest, which involves posting window signs that say "End the Dallas Sign Ban" and add:

The only reason we are allowed to put up this sign is because it is political speech and doesn't communicate commercial information to our customers. The First Amendment makes no distinction between commercial and political speech. Neither should Dallas.

You can download your own copy here (PDF). I.J. also just released this infomercial-style video that concisely explains the city's bizarre sign decree:

City officials offered an anti-crime rationale for the ordinance: Visibility from the street, which could be obscured by signs, discourages robberies. That justification is obviously paternalistic, since you'd think store owners would be at least as concerned about deterring robberies of their businesses as the city council is. And it does not jibe with the details of the ordinance, which neither requires windows nor demands that they be uncovered. It only insists that whatever covers them cannot have anything to do with the products or services sold by the business.