Are Gun Rights Clashing With Free Speech?

Let’s be honest, 2020 hasn’t been the best year every by any stretch of the imagination. While some can argue other years were actually worse, the truth of the matter is that it’s bad enough that no one wants to go through it again. We’re just trying to suffer through it as best we can.

One of the more “colorful” aspects to 2020 have been the seemingly endless riots.

This culminated in two incidents, the shooting in Kenosha and a shooting in Portland. These weren’t the first incidents, to be sure, but they became much higher profile than anything that happened previously.

So much so that some seem to think that gun rights and free speech are clashing with one another.

The robust American traditions of free speech and gun rights are clashing at anti-racism protests this year in a way rarely seen before in the United States, legal scholars and law enforcement leaders say.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to free speech, and the Second the right to bear arms. But they are colliding in new ways, as “open carry” of guns to demonstrations becomes more common, officials at six police departments along with six legal scholars said.

Some worry that U.S. democracy will suffer if guns intimidate would-be protesters from voicing their opinion.

The gun culture and the exercise of free speech and assembly are “all competing in the same space,” said Timothy Zick, a law professor at the College of William & Mary who studies armed protests.

Mostly peaceful mass protests in several U.S. cities for racial equality following the May 25 death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis, Minnesota police are sometimes being met by people with weapons.

OK, I’m sorry, but anyone who uses the term “mostly peaceful” for protests have betrayed their own biases.

These are freaking riots. Oh, there are plenty of peaceful protests that have taken place, of course, but no one is talking about those. We’ve been talking about the unhinged looting and arson.

And that’s where the Second Amendment has come into play.

See, while some like to make a big deal about how open carry is somehow intimidating people from speaking freely, that’s BS. It’s not even stopping rioting, for crying out loud. Hell, Kyle Rittenhouse having a gun didn’t stop him from being attacked by “mostly peaceful” protestors. The first one reportedly grabbed his rifle, an act that I’d sure interpret as someone wishing me bodily harm, so he fired, killing the rioter. He then was attacked by a mob, forcing him to shoot two more people.

If an armed individual who had already been forced to shoot one person doesn’t intimidate the mob, why would some guy standing around with a gun prevent free speech?

Let’s also remember that we live in an era when saying anything outside of progressive orthodoxy can get the mob riled up enough they try to destroy your entire life. They really don’t get to judge anyone for “intimidation,” especially when a large number of armed citizens have stood by and done nothing to threaten anyone so long as they weren’t threatened themselves yet others are destroying entire neighborhoods.

The idea that this is a clash of rights is ridiculous.

Rioting–which is why armed citizens are heading out to so-called “protests”–isn’t free speech. If rioters aren’t intimidated by the presence of armed citizens, you can’t convince me that much of anyone else is.