During Wednesday’s VIP Gold live chat for with Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey and Townhall’s Julio Rosas, we had a question from one of our readers about why we’re not seeing more armed business owners protecting their property. My take was that there are obviously a lot of business owners who aren’t gun owners, but also that the media is going to focus most of its coverage on the protests themselves, along with any rioting or looting that takes place. The national news media certainly doesn’t want to provide any positive stories on people protecting their livelihoods with firearms, and if someone does have to use their firearm in self-defense, the media will be quick to fan the flames of outrage.
Still, if you start looking, you can find more and more stories of individuals and groups of armed citizens protecting not only their businesses, but their communities as well.
From Phoenix, Arizona:
As protesters in Scottsdale moved down 5th Avenue, local stores had windows broken and benches along the road were damaged.
The vandalism continued down the road, until protesters came to a local jewelry store. There, the protesters found a handful of people inside the store, armed with rifles and handguns.
The people were inside the store with guns because they had heard what happened to the Apple store at Scottsdale Fashion Square and wanted to protect their private property, the store owner’s son said.
“We weren’t here to hurt anybody. We weren’t here to harm anybody,” the store owner’s son, who did not wish to be identified by name, said. “After seeing exactly what happened to the Apple store, this isn’t protesting, this isn’t rioting, this is crime.”
According to 9News, the vandals decided to briefly protest outside of the jewelry store, but didn’t cause any damage and quickly moved on.
In Kennewick, Washington, armed citizens were also standing guard outside of local businesses to protect them from looters.
Lt. Aaron Clem said there was a rumor that people were going to gather at a shopping center off Canal Drive and “burn things down” at Best Buy, so extra police patrols and a number of members of the Facebook group “Defend The Tri” went to multiple business to fend off criminal activity.
There were no reports of rioting or vandalism associated with protests in Kennewick Monday night.
Police put out a statement Tuesday saying armed citizens outside local businesses have “caused some concerns among other community members.”
“While we did not invite [armed citizens] to the locations, understand that we need to balance everyone’s rights, whether it is the 1st amendment right to assemble and protest or the 2nd amendment right to bear arms, as long as both are exercised within the confines of the law. When people exercise their rights they have a responsibility to do so within the law and to understand there are consequences for not,” police wrote.
Police said they are in contact with Defend The Tri as well as protest groups in the Tri-Cities. They said they’ve been communicating legal limitations and expectations of each group.
In Coos County, Oregon, rumors of an Antifa invasion prompted hundreds of local gun owners to assemble in front of the county courthouse to quell the riot if one broke out.
Nearly 200 locals, some armed, waited outside Coos County Courthouse ready to meet buses of purported rioters.
As of 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, those buses never arrived.
The Coos County Sheriff’s Office said it was inundated with reports that three buses holding Antifa would arrive at the courthouse at 8 p.m., an “anti-fascist” political protest movement currently being blamed for the violence across the nation. Small cities throughout the state and country are reportedly getting similar false reports of Antifa arriving in buses.
As it turns out, the buses full of Antifa-types never showed. And while exercising their Second Amendment rights, at least one of the folks who showed up to defend the town ended up infringing on the First Amendment rights of a Black Lives Matter supporter.
During the hours-long wait, a vehicle drove by while a passenger held a Black Lives Matter sign out the window. At one point the vehicle was blocked in an intersection by the crowd. A man wearing the American flag as a cape was seen taking the sign from those in the car and shouting.
Deputies with the CCSO deescalated the situation, breaking up the crowd so the vehicle could drive on. Deputies recovered the sign from the man who took it. By that time, the vehicle had left.
If you’re going to stand up in support of our Constitutional rights, you need to stand for all of them, and not just when people you agree with are exercising their right of free speech. Armed Americans protecting their businesses and communities from looting? That’s a good thing. Armed Americans stopping cars and taking signs from people you disagree with? That’s bad. Wearing an American flag as a cape while doing so? That’s just ridiculous.