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Jeff Knox of writes [via]:

Opponents of gun rights are now using the horror and stupidity of the Charlottesville protests to declare open carry of firearms a “loophole,” which of course must be closed posthaste. Demonstrators in Charlottesville assaulted each other with rocks, bottles, sticks, clubs, chemical agents, and hands and feet in the area around the “Unite the Right” rally, but no one fired a gun . . .

After the rally had been broken up, a demonstrator drove a car through a crowd, killing one woman, and injuring many others, but still, no gun was used. These facts are irrelevant to those opposed to individual rights though, as they point to Charlottesville and demand an end to open carry during political rallies – which they say “chills” other people’s free speech rights – and a ban on concealed carry during such events, because . . . guns.

We’ve seen this sort of fear-mongering for political gain play out in the past.

California enacted laws against open carry after the Black Panther Party staged an armed march on the state capitol. Again, no one was shot or threatened, but the group’s decision to legally display their arms served as the justification for passage of carry prohibitions in California and elsewhere, and contributed to passage of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968.

It’s worth noting that among the most outspoken proponents of these restrictions on rights are the very people who bear the most responsibility for the events in Charlottesville going so terribly wrong: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer.

The First Amendment can be a very uncomfortable thing. The core of the right to free speech – especially political speech – boils down to the statement that used to appear at the top of many newspaper editorial pages: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The concept is simple at the theoretical level, but gets complicated in the real world. People opposed to certain speech, whether it be burning a U.S. flag, or spouting racist views, like to point out that the First Amendment only applies to government, and does not require individuals to tolerate “hateful” speech.

That’s true, but the government has an obligation to not only “allow” free speech, but to protect it as well. No one has the right to use force to squelch free speech, particularly in a public space. And the government has a sacred obligation to guard that right, regardless of how repugnant or hurtful that speech may be.

In the case of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the government not only failed in their obligation to protect the free speech rights of the rally organizers and attendees, it looks like they intentionally conspired to allow those rights to be assaulted and suppressed.

Several months ago, organizers of the rally applied for, and received all of the necessary permits to legally hold their rally. Later, government officials tried to cancel those permits, but their efforts were blocked by a federal judge. The local and state government knew that the views of many involved in the rally were extremely unpopular, and would undoubtedly draw counter-protesters. They also knew that protests against groups much less controversial than this one, had been met with significant violence in recent months. The obligation of the mayor and governor was to protect the rights of the rally attendees, and to keep the peace.

Not only did they fail in their obligation to protect speech in the public square, they set the stage to guarantee failure, and to invite violence.

The number one rule in situations like this is to keep the factions separated, but authorities allowed counter-protesters to congregate right up to the minimal barrier surrounding the park where the rally was to be held. Rally attendees were forced to run a gauntlet of protesters in order to get into the park, and police did little to protect them from protesters, or protesters from them, as they made their way to the rally. As violence began to break out before the rally, police retreated, ostensibly to don riot gear (which they curiously weren’t already wearing) leaving the warring factions to do battle.

Then, apparently on orders from the governor, the legally permitted rally, which hadn’t officially started yet, was declared an “unlawful assembly” and the police in their riot gear marched out, not to push back the protesters who were assaulting the legally permitted rally, but to push the rally attendees out of the park, into the streets full of protesters.

Who could have guessed that this wouldn’t end well?

The rally attendees were not openly carrying guns, but there were two factions of “militia” openly carrying firearms. One group was a combined “patriot militia” of about 35 people (which interestingly included at least one African American and at least one openly gay person).

This group disavowed the views of both sides, saying they were only there to protect people and defend free speech. The other “militia” group was a contingent of about 20 people from a communist organization called Redneck Revolt, closely associated with the liberal John Brown Gun Clubs. They were openly associated with the counter-protesters, and provided security at their staging area in another nearby park.

Leftist Hate Group : Redneck Revolt Brought Guns

Both “militia” groups conducted themselves professionally, and even though they were assaulted repeatedly, the “patriot militia” was credited with preventing much violence and rendering assistance to injured people from both sides. No one was shot or even threatened.

When a Black Lives Matter supporter assassinated 5 police officers in Dallas, the media and politicians insisted that his actions shouldn’t reflect on the group as a whole, regardless of their inflammatory rhetoric, which often calls for the killing of police officers.

When an accused white supremacist ran a car into a crowd in Charlottesville, the media and politicians blame everyone to the right of center, and call for sweeping new gun control.

Why would anyone think there is a double-standard in this country?

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit:

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  1. It should seem obvious that considering the violence started and perpetrated by the antifas and their ilk the presence of open-carry firearms in Charlottesville did exactly NOTHING to suppress their “free speech” in the form of violence against the original, legally permitted, demonstrators.

  2. A loophole?

    You mean like a noose?

    As in, your stupid neighbors who needed a job finally have enough rope? Or, your stupid neighbors who needed a job are leaning into their knotted robe belt hanging off the closet door while looking at the dark web?

    • “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

      Doesn’t say anything about hanging ropes from the branches.

      • Well, both of my examples are actually of suicides [one actual, one potential]. I didn’t want to give anyone the pleasure of “triggering”. If anyone felt “threatened”, then they need to seek professional help from the shrink community.

  3. I’m no more worried about open carry at a demonstration than I am about rocks, bottles and clubs. A gun enables me to defend myself against anyone who attacks me including those with that list of weapons. Of course, you won’t find me at a demonstration because I know better than to do stupid things with stupid people in stupid places.

  4. BOHICA. I guess we will see if cries of “white supremacist” will put the Left over the top this time. The Left is getting bigger but the Right is running out of places to retreat to so who knows. *grabs popcorn*

      • No there are more of them. If it wasn’t for the Electoral College and the fact they are clustered in the cities it would be over. We have about 8 years until Texas goes blue and then it WILL be over, our choices will be moderate left and radical left.

  5. To my way of thinking, there are two main things going on right now, mostly perpetrated by the democratic Party (or its minions) and the media: 1. undermine the Presidency, and 2. Undermine the Republican Party.

    The Democratic Party, having egg all over its face after having so badly misread the electorate, and seeking to regain relevance, is attacking and seeking to undermine any ideology right of center, and seek to prevent it from exercising its rights of free speech by openly ordering police to stand down in the face of violent protests by the Antifa, or even threats of violence by the Antifa, has happened–admittedly–in Berkeley where the mayor, who approved of the Antifa’s action, ordered the police to stand down, and later by the Regents of the University of California Berkeley when they cancelled an Anne Coulter speech to the Berkeley Republican Students organization after death threats were received (rescheduling her talk to a date after school had shut down for the summer). This happened again in Charlottesville, where the police retreated in the face of danger and/or were ordered to stand down, permitting violence that could have easily been avoided. the Governor, who obviously did not want the rally to take place, was directly involved, as was the mayor because they are opposed to right wing speech.

    The media has gleefully jumped on the band wagon, making out everyone who supports free speech as a radical right wing fascist racist pig. The media is pushing the left wing narrative of redistribution of wealth, attacks on “racist” police actions against (usually armed) black persons, attacks on “nazis” (who truth be told are a very small faction at the outer edges of the Republican belief system). This is intentional. All you have to do is watch the talking heads on CNN explode over every little thing that Trump says (very little about what he actually does), and especially Don Lemon. (Actually, I do not recommend that anyone watch Lemon; it is really too painful.)

    • Exactly. To hear the anti-gun, mentally-challenged politicians in CA (but I repeat myself. Twice) describe it, the bullet button is some magical and evil device that gives you hyper-killing abilities by allowing you to change magazines even faster than with a normal mag release button.

  6. I see much worse than this in the future….some leftist tool of a mayor in an otherwise free state will pull back the cops after encouraging Antifa to show up to protest some much smaller group that is also armed. It will have to be a much smaller group because Antifa members are cowards and will only show up to fight if they believe they have overwhelming force.

    Mayor Tool will attempt to use the ensuing bloodbath as a way to leverage himself into the US Senate, campaigning on how conservative hate groups like the NRA are causing children to die.

  7. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    The full and complete version of that old saw goes like this: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it even though it’s the biggest crock of shit I ever heard.”

    • Meh. They can defend themselves. Personal responsibility and all that. I’m not going to take a bullet for some flag burning transgendered hipster communist or some Nazi screaming obscenities.

    • The problem is this sentiment is just nostalgic propaganda. No smart person who wants a future in politics will actually go out on a limb to defend freedom of speech. Sure pundits and people trying to sell books are all about muh America to legacy Americans, but that’s not the future. The future of 2nd Amendment is going to be in rural fly over states beneath the notice of the coastal elites.

  8. Great article, when I heard the report of what happened it was clear that someone did not do their job or purposely promoted mayhem. This can not stand people need to answer for their actions or inactions.and who gave the orders need to pay.

  9. The government has the duty to protect all speech and is forbidden from infringing on our ability to bear arms. If government refuses to abide by either it is our duty to force the issue.

  10. With eleventy-billion smartphones in everybody”s hands, propagandists media press reporters on site and surveillance red light cameras on every corner, you’d think there would be a solid video record of whatever happened.

    As yet, we haven’t seen one. Odd, that.

  11. So, because everybody but the guys with guns did mayhem, disruption and suppression (using things other than guns), the OC-guys are the bad guys, and we need to ban the guns?

    What, they didn’t do their part, so maybe we can help them get wee-wee’d up next time?


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