Is Doing A Burnout A Constitutional Right?

Several times a year, bikers gather at the Suck Bang Blow bar just outside Myrtle Beach, S.C. to drink, schmooze, and hoon the crap out of their Harleys. But Horry County officials have had enough, and banned the club's periodic group burnouts after more than 15 years of celebratory Harley noise and tire smoke.

Not to be outdone by pencil pushing bureaucrats, Suck Bang Blow sued the county for impinging upon its customers' First Amendment Right to express their machismo.

Initially filed in a South Carolina court, the case will be heard in federal court next spring, following the county's request that the constitutional rights case be heard by at the federal level.

Suck Bang Blow opened off U.S. 17 in 1996, and biker rallies have been a staple in its repertoire of biker friendly events ever since. Burnouts have always been part of the fun, and no one said anything for years. Last year, the county began requiring a special event permit that said burnout sessions could only be held behind the building between noon and 9 p.m.

But a full ban was close behind, and officials put the kibosh on burnouts just before the bar's last rally. Suck Bang Blow apparently has law-savvy owners, and they filed a temporary restraining order against the county's ban to keep the smoke clouds billowing for at least one more mass hoon.

The county said that the noise and smoke from the burnouts at the bar's rallies constitute a public nuisance, but the Suck Bang Blow crowd said they're en exercise of free speech. The State sifted through the lawsuit, finding this legalese gem from the biker bar's attorneys:

Suck Bang Blow "believes that providing these expressive performances to the public is a beneficial social activity which enhances individuals' conscious ability to assimilate."

This probably isn't the kind of beneficial assimilation activity the Greatest Generation had in mind when they dusted the Axis Powers in World War II, but hey, it's America. To each his own. If they want to act like assholes, who are we to say they can't as long as they aren't hurting anyone?

Of course, the people who live in the neighborhood behind the bar might feel otherwise, but a spokesperson from the Horry County Police Department said that although they get a few noise complaints every time Suck Bang Blow hosts a rally, they don't get a ton of calls. Compared to the 300 or so calls the Department gets every day, he said that the volume of rally complaint calls isn't overwhelming.

The case will go before a federal judge in May, and a jury will decide whether or not burnouts are free speech or just plain obnoxious. (Hat tip to Jonathan Harper!)

Photo credit: Shutterstock