Partly false claim: It is unconstitutional to shut churches, businesses, halt gun sales and ban assembly

Partly false claim: It is unconstitutional to shut churches, businesses, halt gun sales and ban assembly

Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook suggest that social distancing measures and temporary business closures in response to the new coronavirus are unconstitutional. The posts read, “Just remember what the government attacked first in a time of crisis: Church … Gun stores … Freedom to run your business … Freedom to assemble … Every single one of these rights is protected by the Constitution.” Although freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and freedom of peaceful assembly are enshrined in the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has established that there are certain limits to these rights. Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt Example posts can be found here , here , and here . Freedom of religion and public gatherings The First Amendment to the Constitution, available here , says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Constitution thus protects the right of individuals to freely adhere to and worship in whatever faith they choose (more information about freedom of religion in the U.S. can be found on the American Civil Union Liberties Union’s website here ). The First Amendment ( here ) also guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” another freedom mentioned in the Facebook posts. As explained here by the Library of Congress, “The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. The right to assemble is not, however, […]

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