ACLU Challenge Anti-Panhandling Law


The ACLU is challenging a Colorado town's decision to ban panhandling.

The complaint says the ordinance is an infringement on free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Officials in Grand Junction says the ordinance isn't aimed at all panhandlers, only "aggressive" ones, but the ordinance prohibits all panhandling after sunset and sets up limitations about where people can ask for money.

The ordinance also prohibits people soliciting from persons who are "at risk," including persons over 70 and people with mental or physical disabilities.

The ACLU contends that the law is overly broad and could be applied to panhandlers who aren't aggressive. The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of a diverse group potentially affected by the group, including a street musician, a non-profit group and a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The ACLU says the ordinance is really an attempt to force the homeless and poor to move out of the city.

The ordinance is set to go into effect Sunday.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the ACLU asked the court of a preliminary injunction and a hearing on the issue.

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