Local Open Fire Ordinances Don’t Overcome Our First Amendment Rights


I can’t be the only one who has wondered how the story of the Swansea man who plans to burn a Patriots jersey in his home fire pit tonight would be going differently if he were a Black Lives Matter activist putting the American flag on the flames.  Kate Bramson reports on the latest development:

“We cannot legally issue a permit because the material he is proposing to burn is not permitted to be burned,” [Swansea Fire Chief Eric] Hajder said in a Thursday morning interview. “Any time open burning is conducted, it would have to be clean wood only.”

Hajder said he and the town’s police chief met with Hajder “at length” Wednesday morning and advised the homeowner that it’s against state law to burn anything other than clean wood.

Ordinances governing things like open flames are meant for larger-scale activities that are clearly not “speech.”  The distance between burning a shirt and burning one’s trash (to which Hajder compares it) is a chasm not only in scale, but also in intention.

To Our Readers: We need your support to challenge the progressive mainstream media narrative. Your donation helps us deliver the truth to Rhode Islanders. Please give now.

Think of the scope of government control over our lives indicated even in the insinuation that a person would need a permit for the small-scale, short-duration action of putting a flame to a shirt in a safe location on one’s own property.  Then watch as all those people who’ve proclaimed the importance of the First Amendment in order to protect professional athletes from facing criticism and the private actions of fans find they have nothing to say about a literal example of government’s using the force of law in order to trespass on private property and prevent an act of free expression.

Click to help us keep the doors open.

  • Merle The Monster

    Calm yourself Katz. Free speech and expression won out. T shirts were torched in Swansea in protest of members of the New England Patriots exercising their free speech with no government bogeymen throwing cold water on their party. Now you right wing patriots can get back to your more traditional uses of fire and free speech such as burning books and crosses.