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The First Amendment of the United States Constitution says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This applies to all fifty states and their political subdivisions through the Fourteenth Amendment. The New Hampshire Constitution, Article 22, says: “[f]ree speech and Liberty of the press are essential to the security of Freedom in a State: They ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved.”
In analyzing the freedom to record in public spaces under the First Amendment, courts have said the right of the press and the freedom of speech are what allows the public to record in governmental buildings. The First Circuit Court of Appeals has said that “[t]he First Amendment protects the right to gather information about what public officials do on public property, and specifically, a right to record matters of public interest.” Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332 (11th Cir. 2000). The Court has also said, however, that “the right to film is not without limitations. It may be subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.” Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011).