Hamburg homeowner says protest sign is free speech right

Mar 7, 2014

The Hamburg man facing charges for posting a sign opposing the state's gun control law will get another day in court after a second town judge recused himself in the case.

Scott Zawierucha says the Town of Hamburg is violating his First Amendment rights. Dozens of gun advocates showed up in court Friday morning to support him.

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

In January, the town cited Zawierucha for posting a 4 x 10' sign on a fence along South Park Avenue outside his home. The sign reads: "New York is Not Safe. Stop Cuomo. Preserve Your Rights."  

Town officials have said the sign could be distracting to passing motorists.

"There's nothing offensive. There's no profanity. It doesn't hamper public safety. It doesn't block any view of traffic. It really doesn't bother anybody. It's just something that I feel very passionate about. I think the NY SAFE Act is the most unconstitutional piece of legislation that has ever come out of Albany in my lifetime," Zawierucha says.

The man's attorney, James Ostrowski, says it's not just a freedom of speech case. Ostrowski says it also involves discrimination because he says there are plenty of items on other fences in the Town of Hamburg.

Erie County Court will be transferring the case to an adjoining town in the coming days.