According to the Freedom Forum Institute’s annual “State of the First Amendment” (SOFA) survey, it looks like a shocking number of Americans are unfamiliar with their First Amendment rights.
Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed in May and June of this year, only one person was able to name all five First Amendment rights. A whopping 40 percent, however, couldn’t name any.
Among those who could name one or a few, the right to freedom of speech was the most commonly remembered, with 56 percent of respondents being able to list it.
The other rights didn’t fare so well, however, with just 15 percent of respondents naming freedom of religion, 13 percent naming freedom of the press, 12 percent naming freedom of peaceful assembly, and a measly 2 percent naming the freedom to petition the government.
Among some incorrect answers were the right to bear arms — guaranteed by the Second Amendment — and the right to vote.
On the bright side, the percentage of Americans unable to name a single First Amendment right hasn’t increased since the 2016 survey. However, the percentage was lower in 2014 and 2015, when it sat at 29 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
The survey comes amid a national debate regarding whether or not free speech includes hate speech. The ACLU, for example, claimed free speech sometimes “can inflict serious harms and … often will impede progress toward equality” in a leaked memo.
It also comes as President Donald Trump continues to slam the media as the “enemy of the people” and after his administration barred a reporter from an open-press event for asking a question about Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who recorded several of their meetings.