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An Arizona state senator has proposed a bill that would make stealing the American flag a felony.

State Sen. John Kavanagh introduced Senate Bill 1009, which would make stealing the stars and stripes a class 6 felony.

If passed, stealing a flag would be on par with stealing a gun or stealing an animal taken for the purpose of animal fighting. The felony would carry a punishment of up to two years in prison.

"It occurred to me that when you steal a flag that someone is displaying other than for sale, you're not only stealing the object but you're stealing the person's expressive right," Sen. Kavanagh said. "People display the flag for patriotism or even for protest, and you are stealing their First Amendment expression rights."

At least one other state, Missouri, has passed similar legislation.

Regardless of whether the measure passes in a month, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately trumps individual state law, declaring flag desecration is a form of free speech under the First Amendment.

Tell us your thoughts on this proposed legislation in the comments section.


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