Given the approaching protests, it may be worth providing a more detail on how exactly the law works, and what protesters can expect. Preliminarily, it's important to define one particular term in the law: "restricted buildings or grounds." These are specific geographic zones that have been designated by the Secret Service, and can be located under H.R. 347 in three places:
• The White House or the vice president's residence.
• A building or area where any individual under Secret Service protection is visiting.
• A building or area at which a National Special Security Event (or "NSSE") is taking place (more on that in a second).
Under the existing statute, four types of activities were illegal with respect to these zones, and remain so under the new law:
• You cannot "knowingly" enter or remain in a restricted zone without lawful authority.
• You cannot "knowingly" engage in "disorderly or disruptive" conduct in or near a restricted zone. A prosecutor would have to show, however, that you intended to disrupt government business and that your conduct actually did cause a disruption. Troublingly, the term "disorderly or disruptive conduct" is undefined.
• You cannot "knowingly" block the entrance or exit of one of these restricted zones. Again, however, the prosecutor would have to show that you did so with the intent to disrupt government business.
• Finally, you cannot "knowingly" engage in an act of physical violence against person or property in one of these restricted zones.