…and apparently thinks connecting gun users with marksmanship trainers isn't quite commercial enough. And now the Goldwater Institute in Arizona is suing. The details, from a Goldwater Institute press release:
Today, the Goldwater Institute filed a legal challenge to the removal of a business advertisement from 50 Phoenix bus shelters in October 2010, claiming the city's rules are so vague that they allow city officials to violate business owners' right to free speech.
The Phoenix Public Transit Department says posters for a website operated by TrainMeAz did not comply with city standards for advertising at bus shelters. But city officials cannot explain how the TrainMeAZ ads are substantially different than posters that appear on bus stops throughout the city for other businesses including jewelry stores, fast-food restaurants, and weekend gun shows, said Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute's litigation director…..
The Arizona Constitution protects free expression to a greater degree than the federal Constitution – it gives every person in the state the right to "freely speak, write and publish." But the City's ordinance permits only commercial speech at bus stops, prohibiting all other types of advertisements. This doesn't comply with the state's broad speech protections. In Arizona, the government may not favor one type of speech over other types.
The TrainMeAz website was created in 2010 to connect self-defense and marksmanship trainers with potential customers. To grow the new business, the website launched a promotion campaign that included roadside billboards. It also contracted for poster locations with CBS Outdoors, a private company hired by the Phoenix transit department to manage advertising at city bus stops. A week after the bus stop ads were in place, Phoenix transit officials ordered their removal. Negotiations to restore the ads failed, as the city claimed the posters did not propose "a commercial transaction."
Jacob Sullum on the city of Boston's attempts to bar drug policy reform ads on its public transportation system back in 2002.