(1) On the premises of any place intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors, including, but not limited to, schools, children’s museums, child care centers, nurseries, and playgrounds.
(2) Within 300 feet of any location intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors when the place is located on premises that are not intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors, including, but not limited to, places described in subdivision (1) . . . that are located in malls, shopping centers, or other property open to the general public. [Or]
(3) At any place where minors gather for regularly scheduled educational, recreational, or social programs. NCGS 14-208.18(a).
Two principal problems are evident in subsection (a)(3) which compel the conclusion it is unconstitutionally vague. In particular, a reasonable person, whether a restricted sex offender or a law enforcement officer, cannot reasonably determine (1) whether a program for minors is “regularly scheduled” or (2) what places qualify as those “where minors gather.” …The term “regular” means happening at fixed intervals. Even if a restricted sex offender or law enforcement officer knew precisely how often and where the “scheduled programs” took place, the statute provides no principled standard at all for determining whether such programs are “regularly scheduled.” Notably, subsection (a)(3) provides no examples to guide restricted sex offenders or law enforcement as to how frequently the programs would need to occur in order to be “regularly scheduled.” …Subsection (a)(3)’s “where minors gather” language is also without defining standards. For example, subsection (a)(3) does not explain how many minors must gather at the place. Subsection (a)(3) also does not explain whether a place where mixed groups of minors and adults gather, such as a community college that has some high school students or a church with a congregation of adults and minors, would be considered a restricted zone under subsection (a)(3).
To pass intermediate scrutiny, a statute must materially advance an important or substantial [government] interest by redressing past harms or preventing future ones. In addition, it must have the right “fit.” That is, it cannot burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests.
[The State’s] decision to not provide expert testimony or statistical reports to the Court was somewhat unexpected. … The State tries to overcome its lack of data, social science or scientific research, legislative findings, or other empirical evidence with an appeal to “logic and common sense.” But neither anecdote, common sense, nor logic, in a vacuum, is sufficient to carry the State’s burden of proof.[T]he State cannot rest its case on the conclusory assertion that minors would be “more exposed to harm without [this] prohibition than with it.” Without empirical data or other similar credible evidence, it is not possible to tell whether subsection (a)(2) — and specifically its application to offenders with only adult victims — responds at all to the State’s legitimate interest in protecting minors from sexual assault.”