The left has gone nuts about guns at protests, screaming and kvetching that armed people at protests are an automatic recipe for danger. The latest effort comes from Politico, where they complain about how lax gun laws are allowing firearms at protests.
Domestic extremist groups ranging from white supremacists to their rival “antifa” anarchists are increasingly exploiting loose gun control laws to show up at emotionally charged rallies with assault rifles and other high-powered weapons, increasing the likelihood of an explosive clash in an American city, according to law enforcement officials.
What makes the current threat environment especially combustible are open carry laws in many states that allow civilians to display virtually any gun in public that they want, often with no permit, training or background check required, according to federal and state law enforcement officials who are closely monitoring extremist groups.
“Why would you let someone bring an AR-15 to a hate rally?” former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano asked. “It’s absolute insanity.”
Except in Charlottesville, Virginia, and other recent protest events, it wasn’t just one person. It was dozens or even hundreds of people who showed up heavily armed and primed for a fight. More than 1,500 people attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, with one Baltimore man suspected of membership in the Ku Klux Klan later arrested for firing his gun at a crowd of protesters. In Texas, swarms of gun-toting antifa members and white nationalists assaulted each other at several events near the Austin statehouse over the past year. And in Pikeville, Kentucky, more than 150 heavily armed neo-Nazis and white supremacists engaged in a tense standoff with about 100 anti-fascists in April, but the sides were separated by police and dozens of militia members before violence ensued.
Now, let’s take a look at this for a moment.
Yes, a lot of guns on hand creates a tense environment. However, let’s also look at what’s happened other places Antifa has shown up to combat what they see as the forces of evil. To start with, Berkeley.
Even if you chalk up the riots on campus when conservative provocateur Milo Yiannapolous was set to speak on campus to overzealous students rather than Antifa, we still have what many have called The Battle of Berkeley. There, Antifa attacked a free speech rally, after rally attendees were disarmed by regulations. Not just firearms, either. They were also told to not bring anything that could be used as a weapon…and they were attacked.
Over and over again, Antifa has attacked its opponents. Physically.
Yet at Charlottesville, despite a handful of scuffles, things were relatively peaceful. Why? Guys with guns. Reports abound that the armed militia that was present diffused fights over and over again.
Guys with guns prevented violence.
But what about the one person arrested for discharging his weapon? Well, we’ve already addressed that. The short version, however, is that a case can be made that the individual felt someone was in danger, primarily by an improvised flamethrower.
Whether he’s a member of the Klan or not is irrelevant, though.
Rights exist for each and every one of us. That’s what makes them rights, rather than privileges. Whether someone is a member of the Klan, Antifa, or the Cub Scouts, those rights exist and are sacrosanct. We don’t have to like what someone who exercises those rights believes in, though. That’s the beauty of this country.
If the individual who fired in Charlottesville is found to have done so illegally, he’ll be punished. That’s what happens if you misuse your rights, after all.
But more gun laws wouldn’t have reduced the carnage of Charlottesville. All it would have done is allowed the chaos to grow because the outnumbered police would have been unable to cope. After all, the evil and dangerous armed militia have been credited with helping the police. Also, remember that the only person killed was run over by a Dodge Challenger. That ain’t made by Ruger.
Further, rights are always a delicate balance, and some people do horrible things with theirs. As a result of Marx and Hitler having the freedom to say what they wanted to, millions died. That doesn’t mean we should regulate free speech.
The mere presence of firearms at a rally thus far has only shown it’s enough to make Politico wring its hands and scream for more gun control. So far, there’s nothing else but their fear.