A Constitutional Right To Beg?

By Scott Sarvay

September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne City Council appears ready to once again wade into the issue of whether it's someone's constitutional right to "beg" on the city's streets.

Many citizens may view panhandling as a nuisance, but federal courts have consistently ruled that those soliciting money are protected by the first amendment.

Council Member Tim Pape plans to introduce an ordinance Tuesday night that would knock out an existing city ordinance prohibiting the practice.

Pape says, “We have the opinion of the city attorney and city council attorney that it's unconstitutional as written and this is just a simple ordinance to remove an unconstitutional and unlawful law from our books."

Republican Councilwoman Liz Brown says she may try to amend Pape's ordinance to prohibit aggressive or confrontational panhandling.

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