LA councilman unblocks gun rights group on Twitter, after getting demand letter

By Daily News

Gun rights supporters who had been blocked from viewing and replying to Los Angeles Councilman Mitchell Englander’s Twitter posts were told Sunday it had been “done in error,” and their accounts have been unblocked.

An aide for Englander said the Twitter accounts for the Firearms Policy Coalition and the group’s supporter, Grant Williams, were blocked “in error” and those accounts were unblocked.

The Sacramento-based Firearms Policy Coalition is critical of legislation Englander proposed on Friday to make it misdemeanor crimes to own, download and transfer blueprints for 3D-printed guns, as well as to print and manufacture such weapons. Englander also called on the state to make the same activities felonies.

The group describes itself as a nonprofit that defends the United States Constitution’s “Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

Englander’s spokesman, Colin Sweeney, said the Firearms Policy Coalition’s account, @gunpolicy, had been blocked prior to introducing the 3D-printed gun legislation. He said “it’s not clear” when the councilman blocked those accounts since Twitter “doesn’t show that.”

When asked why Englander had blocked the coalition’s account, and if the councilman had blocked any other accounts, Sweeney noted that “it’s his Twitter account that he manages personally.” He said the councilman was unavailable to talk Monday.

The Firearms Policy Coalition’s representatives said when they learned about a Twitter post Englander put up announcing his 3D-printed gun motion on Friday, they logged into their @gunpolicy account to view that post. That was when they learned they could not view any of the councilman’s posts, said Brandon Combs, president of the coalition.

Englander had blocked their group’s Twitter account and that of “some members of the public critical of his legislation from commenting on the issue and even viewing his Twitter account (@Mitch_Englander),” according to a news release from Firearms Policy Coalition.

In response, the group on Sunday sent a “pre-litigation” letter to Englander and the city attorney demanding that their account, and that of their supporters, be unblocked. The letter also demanded that Englander “un-block all other Twitter users who are blocked from accessing and commenting on your tweets about serious issues.”

The group gave Englander until Wednesday to meet their demands, before assuming that he did not “intend to comply.” They got an email from Sweeney the same day saying, “Thank you for your letter. This was done in error and has been corrected. The accounts have been unblocked.”

Representatives of the Firearms Policy Coalition said that members of their organization who live in Los Angeles have the right to debate with the councilman via Twitter about issues like the 3D-printed gun legislation that he proposed.

Combs said in a statement that the group’s members and supporters, including those who live and pay taxes in Los Angeles, “are deeply concerned about your proposed ban on free speech and troubled by your support of statewide legislation to impose felony criminal liability on speakers and publishers.”

Williams, the Firearms Policy Coalition supporter, said he is a resident of the city of Los Angeles. He thanked the coalition on Twitter and said that he accepted the council office’s explanation that he had been mistakenly blocked.

“I’ll take his spokesperson at his word that it was ‘done in error’ and hope in the future he’ll be willing to listen to critical feedback from residents and taxpayers of the city he serves.”

This article provided by NewsEdge.