I’m not sure how the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency can ban depictions of guns in movie posters isn’t a violation of the First Amendment. Generally speaking, the restrictions allowed on commercial speech are greater than that on non-commercial speech, but I don’t believe this kind of restriction is permissible, in addition to being thoroughly ridiculous in terms of public policy. The Supreme Court created a test for commercial speech restrictions in the case of Central Hudson Gas & Electric v. Public Service Commission. Subsequent cases have not been so friendly toward restrictions on commercial speech, and given the expressive content in movie posters, it’s difficult to see how the SFMTA, which is a governmental agency, can justify their restriction. There have been other cases of this happening that have resulted in federal injunctions. The promotion company should really file suit and get an injunction against the SFMTA, rather than taking a poster like this, and turning into a mockery like this.
UPDATE: Bitter e-mailed Eugene Volokh, the real expert on these matters, because I wasn’t very sure about my position because of the fact that this is a transportation authority. His opinion is that is it unconstitutional, but for different reasons than I laid out.
UPDATE: After reading more closely, not really that different from what I thought. But I’m not that informed on the matter of public/non-public venues as Professor Volokh is.