When a group of Second Amendment advocates protested for their gun rights while carrying firearms, the anti-gun establishment lost their collective stuff. It was an affront, something some thought of as even worse than Richmond. How dare Kentuckians use their First and Second Amendment rights like that.
However, at the end of the day, nothing happened. Despite the “more guns mean more crime” rhetoric we routinely hear from anti-gunners, there wasn’t any crime or violence. Not in Richmond and not in Kentucky’s capitol.
In fact, it went so well, the governor is considering loosening restrictions even further.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday his administration is evaluating rules about what people can and cannot bring into the Capitol, but that any changes the administration makes won’t restrict the ability to bring guns into the Capitol.
“We believe that the rules right now, if followed, are appropriate, at least as it comes to firearms, which are constitutionally protected,” Beshear said. “We need to take a look back at some other rules that have been put into place, whether they’re about umbrellas or other issues.”
Under current rules, umbrellas are not allowed in the Capitol but anyone can openly carry a gun so long as they legally possess the firearm, except in the Supreme Court chambers, the House and Senate chambers and the House and Senate gallery.
Those rules sparked public outcry last week after pro-gun activists wearing camouflage spent much of Friday walking around the Capitol carrying large guns. Photos of the activists went viral on social media and were picked up by national publications. One photo showed a group of men lifting their guns above their heads and another showed men carrying guns while wearing ski masks over their faces.
Now, the protesters did, apparently, violate the rules a bit. Masks were not allowed, for example, as well as handguns needing to be holstered and rifles slung. That said, it appears that information wasn’t communicated to the protesters, so it doesn’t look like an attempt to ignore the law so much as a misunderstanding about the rules in question.
That said, I think we can all agree that rules that limit carrying an umbrella probably need to be revisited.
However, it doesn’t look like the rules on guns will be rolled back, and that’s a good thing. A very good thing. Especially since open carry is so contentious within the Second Amendment community. And especially since Beshear is a Democrat, a party not known for their Second Amendment sympathies in the first place.
No, the umbrella rule being rolled back won’t have a huge impact on the Second Amendment. What it does, though, is work to destigmatize activists in general, the idea that they simply can’t be trusted while interacting with lawmakers within the capitol. The truth is, if someone wanted to hurt them, it’s not like they wouldn’t have plenty of chances to do so anyway.
Maybe this is a first step toward even more repeals of rule and, perhaps most importantly, indication that even the governor is more sympathetic to their cause than he can afford to acknowledge.