Stolen Valor Act aims to protect military

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2019-05-15 16:22:13-04

A new law penalizing military impersonators will be brought to the Maryland General Assembly this January. 

State Senator Bryan Simonaire, a member of the military veteran's caucus, drafted the Stolen Valor Act of 2016 last year. 

The bill will make it a criminal offense for a person to impersonate as a veteran or active military member, which includes wearing military medals. 

A federal law was passed in 2013, but previous versions were rejected by the Supreme Court because they violated free speech. 

"It specifically for when they're obtaining property or money or other benefits," Sen. Simonaire said. "As we saw in the federal case, you have to protect freedom of speech. So they can wear the uniform, but they can't do it for their own personal gain."

If the Stolen Valor Act of 2016 is passed, impersonators could face imprisonment or fines up to $2,500. 

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