Text: S.2894 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (08/01/2002)

 
[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 2894 Introduced in Senate (IS)]







107th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2894

To provide for the protection of the flag of the United States, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             August 1, 2002

 Mr. McConnell introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
               referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To provide for the protection of the flag of the United States, and for 
                            other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Flag Protection Act of 2002''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) the flag of the United States is a unique symbol of 
        national unity and represents the values of liberty, justice, 
        and equality that make this Nation an example of freedom 
        unmatched throughout the world;
            (2) the Bill of Rights is a guarantee of those freedoms and 
        should not be amended in a manner that could be interpreted to 
        restrict freedom, a course that is regularly resorted to by 
        authoritarian governments which fear freedom and not by free 
        and democratic nations;
            (3) abuse of the flag of the United States causes more than 
        pain and distress to the overwhelming majority of the American 
        people and may amount to fighting words or a direct threat to 
        the physical and emotional well-being of individuals at whom 
        the threat is targeted; and
            (4) destruction of the flag of the United States can be 
        intended to incite a violent response rather than make a 
        political statement and such conduct is outside the protections 
        afforded by the first amendment to the Constitution.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to provide the maximum 
protection against the use of the flag of the United States to promote 
violence while respecting the liberties that it symbolizes.

SEC. 3. PROTECTION OF THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST USE FOR 
              PROMOTING VIOLENCE.

    (a) In General.--Section 700 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 700. Incitement; damage or destruction of property involving the 
              flag of the United States
    ``(a) Definition of Flag of the United States.--In this section, 
the term `flag of the United States' means any flag of the United 
States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, in any size, in a 
form that is commonly displayed as a flag and that would be taken to be 
a flag by the reasonable observer.
    ``(b) Actions Promoting Violence.--Any person who destroys or 
damages a flag of the United States with the primary purpose and intent 
to incite or produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace, and 
under circumstances in which the person knows that it is reasonably 
likely to produce imminent violence or a breach of the peace, shall be 
fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
    ``(c) Damaging a Flag Belonging to the United States.--Any person 
who steals or knowingly converts to his or her use, or to the use of 
another, a flag of the United States belonging to the United States, 
and who intentionally destroys or damages that flag, shall be fined not 
more than $250,000, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
    ``(d) Damaging a Flag of Another on Federal Land.--Any person who, 
within any lands reserved for the use of the United States, or under 
the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction of the United States, steals 
or knowingly converts to his or her use, or to the use of another, a 
flag of the United States belonging to another person, and who 
intentionally destroys or damages that flag, shall be fined not more 
than $250,000, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
    ``(e) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to 
indicate an intent on the part of Congress to deprive any State, 
territory, or possession of the United States, or the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico of jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have 
jurisdiction in the absence of this section.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The analysis for chapter 33 of title 18, 
United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 
700 and inserting the following:

``700. Incitement; damage or destruction of property involving the flag 
                            of the United States.''.
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