Yep, Loeffler's Comments About Armed Protest Were Wrong

Sen. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to fill the seat of Johnny Isakson, the Georgia senator who resigned due to health reasons last year. Loeffler’s tenure has been filled with a bit of controversy after she allegedly dumped a bunch of stocks just prior to the stock market crashing.

No charges are being filed against her for that, but it’s a black eye she really didn’t need heading into an election.

Recently, I applauded Loeffler over a pro-Second Amendment bill she introduced. It’s a good bill and one I’d like to see made into law.

However, Loeffler also made some comments last week, comments I missed, that are out of line.

You know who she sounds like here? She sounds like those who took issue with armed protestors in Richmond during the Lobby Day protests earlier this year.

Look, I get the fact that many of these protests have turned violent. However, unless these people are breaking a law, they have a right to open carry just as much as the next person. Their skin color, nor their choice of issues to support, exempts them from the Second Amendment. The only thing that possibly could is their actions. Those that commit crimes while armed should be arrested and charged accordingly, of course, but any others should be left alone.

Loeffler likes to bill herself as pro-Second Amendment, but that kind of talk doesn’t benefit gun rights. Instead, it makes gun-rights advocates look like hypocrites.

I missed Loeffler’s comments until today, but not everyone did.

In 2015, a group called the National African American Gun Association formed with the intention to “promote self-protection.” Since the 2016 election, this organization has seen its membership soar, in some measure due to the concern (I would argue the fact) that the president of the United Sates is a racist who is emboldening racism in our society. The more black Americans embrace or utilize their Second Amendment rights in public, however, the more you see alarm being expressed by people who are traditionally “pro-gun.”

The most recent example came from Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler recently described Americans who were lawfully, and peacefully, carrying weapons as “totally unacceptable” and an example of “mob rule.” As Scott Shackford points out in his piece in Reasonit is not against the law to carry guns openly in public in Georgia, where Loeffler serves as a senator. In fact, Loeffler never accuses the armed individuals of breaking any laws, and in the very recent past, she has been an outspoken proponent of gun rights and expressed the need to “protect and defend” the Second Amendment. So, asks Shackford, “[w]hat could possibly make a pro-gun-rights senator suddenly take such a dim view of citizens’ rights to bear arms?” The only logical, and rather obvious answer is that in Georgia, the people legally carrying guns in public happened to be black.

It is simply stunning how the narrative around the right to bear arms can still change today, on national television no less, depending on the race of the gun owner. For example, when it was white armed Americans in Michigan who were protesting in their state capitol building, the president offered praise and a message of support. Yet, when the group is Black Lives Matter, even unarmed protests are described by this same president as “hate coming down the street.” Again, the inference for why there is such a difference in reaction between the two protests is absurdly obvious.

Here’s where I think Loeffler screwed up. You see, it’s easy to not feel threatened by armed people when you agree with them. You know you’re not likely to be a target, so you don’t worry.

When the other side has the guns, though? That’s when things feel different. It’s not panic about the guns then, it’s about the individuals and their motivations.

But that works both ways, really.

Look, I don’t think Loeffler was upset that they were carrying while black. That’s the “skim until offended” version of what transpired, but I don’t think that was what bothered her in and of itself. I think her issue was more that they were leftists carrying guns.

Regardless, though, the Second Amendment has to protect those with which we vehemently disagree or else it stands for nothing. Plain and simple.

As such, Loeffler was wrong and should issue an apology for her comments immediately.