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I am amazed (but not amused) by the hand-wringing and name-calling “inspired” by the armed militia defending the racists/Nazis demonstrating in Charlottesville. Headlines like Should Protesters Be Allowed to Have Guns? demonstrate the media’s failure to recognize that keeping and bearing arms is a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right. Equally, these journalists don’t seem to know what the Second Amendment is for . . .

Over at, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, one Geoffrey R. Stone, attempts to explain the legal issues involved when racists/Nazis seek to exercise their gun rights in the public square.

The Lessons Of Charlottesville: Speech And Guns is a convoluted piece, confusing enough to earn the admiration of his no doubt equally obtuse fellow academics. It goes a little something like this:

First, does the Second Amendment give demonstrators a constitutional right to carry their weapons in public? Although the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the right of private individuals to “keep and bear arms,” it has not gone much further in fleshing out the details of this right, and it has not yet considered whether the Second Amendment should be understood to guarantee individuals a right to “open carry.”

If the Court were to hold that the Constitution guarantees individuals a right to walk down the street carrying assault weapons – an outcome I think unlikely – then that would go a long way to resolving the question. But that is not the law, and I rather doubt it will ever be the law, so we can move on to the next question.

And the next and the next, all of which pre-suppose that the armed militia’s firearms were openly carried to either intimidate and thus silence their opposition, or as a form of symbolic speech (“to convey the nature and depth of their beliefs”).

The idea that the militia carried guns to protect themselves and their colleagues from a violent attack from their fellow Americans, or the government, doesn’t occur to Prof. Levy. Actually, it does, fleetingly.

Suppose the protesters are openly carrying their guns not for their own self-protection, and not to unlawfully threaten others with violence, but allegedly to incite counter-protesters to be violent themselves.

And that, folks, is the only time the good professor mentions armed self-protection. In fact, scanning the dozens of articles on the armed militia in Charlottesville, that’s the only mention of armed self-defense I encountered. The mainstream media assume the militia’s openly carried firearms were a form of intimidation.

To be fair, in a sense, they were. The militia’s guns may have deterred the state police from interfering with/stopping their lawful demonstration. Their firearms may have deterred [even worse] violence by the counter-protesters.

But one thing’s for sure: the militia in Charlottesville had the right to keep and bear arms for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Just as all Americans do.

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  1. I was under the impression from a short interview of a militia member that most of them were there as a neutral party to discourage violence on both sides. I haven’t seen anything that disproves that but the media just keeps labeling them as part of the nazi assholes there.

    • I watched several hours of video from Charlottesville the other day and perhaps we both saw the same interview as I got a like impression. When the armed militias interposed themselves between the factions and appeared to be defending the Nazis, my impression was that they were in fact defending them because the Nazis were the ones being attacked and needed defending by SOMEBODY, because they sure weren’t getting any help from the local authorities. My takeaway from watching several hours of video was that for the most part the Nazis/white supremacists’ actions were primarily reactive rather than proactive and that things calmed down considerably when the armed militias appeared.

    • I see no reason to think anyone went their just to keep law and order. It isn’t their job. Why would they risk it? They went there to protect one side from the other.

      Most of the pictures going around online, including on this blog, show many of them wearing Confederate patches or other emblems that clearly suggest they were there on the side of the “Unite the Right” rally attendees. Some of the 3% guys have openly said they didn’t think the rally was going to be so prominently neo-Nazi and Confederate until they got there and saw all the imagery and heard the racist chants.

      A smaller group were part of Redneck Revolt, a liberal group, and were openly there to protect counter-protesters according to some reports. They don’t seem to be getting nearly as much press as those aligned with the “Unite the Right” rally because that doesn’t fit the media’s general portrayal of armed militia groups as part of the far right.

      • The Charlottesville “protests” have all the earmarks of a successful “agitprop” operation. In organization and behavior, both the Antifa and Black Lives Matters groups and the KKK and Nazi groups are mirror images of each other. I strongly suspect that both contained the kinds of hired “crisis actors” that were seen showing up a events during the last campaign. I would not be at all surprised if all the groups received funding from similar, if not identical, sources. The “Unite The Right” organizer is also highly suspicious. We’re being played by professionals.

    • Go to the Oathkeepers and Lightfoot Militia websites. Nothing about white supremacy. These guys were doing on the ground what the ACLU did in court. Protecting the right to speech. Even deplorable speech.

  2. Near as I can tell, none of the armed parties so much as had a negligent discharge, much less harmed anyone else with their weapons. They clearly missed the fact that none of the militia members hurt or (probably) even threatened anyone.

  3. I actually *just* read this article on The Huffington Post (still trying to bleach the filth off me). The author fails to even mention that the reasons for carrying are largely irrelevant. The 2nd Amendment recognizes your right to be armed. End of story. It doesn’t matter if you were ‘peaceful’ or helicoptering your dick for the cameras. The mere presence of a firearm is not a criminal act, nor is it well, anything. A firearm is an inanimate object that we have the right to own *and* use if need be.

    • Until we understand that roughly 50% of the population doesn’t know, want to know or believe anything you just wrote nothing will change.

      We need to be able to peacefully secede from people who don’t agree with us and don’t want to live like us. If they want to walk around completely unarmed but “feel” safe then by all means, but if we can’t do that in parallel then I want to be where it is common and encouraged and expected that I will be armed in public. Period. Why should this be hard or come to bloodshed?

      Hell I don’t care if the white nationalist idiots want to come along too…words are words no matter how foolish. It’s true that ideas have consequences but it’s no worse than the Antifa/BLM folks kitting up and trying to beat us into “tolerance” of whatever victim group they favor on that particular day.

  4. The militiamen should have been organized as militia units, and the commanders of those units should have commanded them to keep the firearms unloaded during heated confrontations. That’s what we did for demonstrations in Texas. But yes, they do have a “right” to keep and bear, subject to reasonable regulation by their unit commanders. (That’s what “well-regulated” means, not regulation by state law.)

    • Sorry Jon, not all of us need the “commands” of unit commanders, as you appear so willing to submit.

      Oh, you were one of the unit commanders? I see.

    • I’m sorry but that’s not what “well regulated” meant in reference to its’ use in the 2nd amendment in the Bill of Rights.

      It meant “in good functioning order” or “well kept” as in not rusted out pieces of junk that wouldn’t fire…

      See longer explanation:

      “The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.”

      • “Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected.”

        Look up clock repair-design books from the 1700’s, and you will discover the nut at the lower end of a tall clock’s pendulum (AKA, a ‘Grandfather’ clock) that adjusts the pendulum up (faster) or lower (slower) is named “the regulator”, as it regulates the speed of the clock, bringing it to proper working order…

      • The etymology of the word draws from the Latin “regula” meaning rules and by middle-English “regulate” meant to control or adjust by rules/laws and also came to mean to make something in a straight line or in proper order. Tthere were “regulations” on the books as part of the Militia Acts that stipulated basically any able bodied man 18-45 own and have a musket or rifle suitable to military service and other necessary equipment. Some states had more stringent requirements for swords and other weapons. Basically, originally all free-men were supposed to own a gun by law, but it wasn’t heavily enforced since some couldn’t afford them or didn’t have something that specifically fit the bill.

    • Why did you put the quotes around the word Right?

      Do you have the “Right” to free speech?

      Do you have the “Right” to freedom of assembly?

      • “Do you have the “Right” to freedom of assembly?”

        Try it in Washington, DC, with a few hundred people without a permit, and see what happens…

    • … the commanders of those units should have commanded them to keep the firearms unloaded

      Unloaded meaning an empty chamber and a full magazine? Or unloaded meaning an empty chamber and no magazine?

      … the commanders of those units should have commanded them to keep the firearms unloaded during heated confrontations.

      Why? So that protesters can assault and batter people with impunity?

      Better question: why does outrage over someone’s political position justify assaulting and battering them?

    • Go read Heller again. “Well-regulated” as used in the Second Amendment refers to the militia as being well-drilled (trained). Militia marched and fought in formation (prior to any charge). The entire process of loading one’s musket was according to “regulation” and involved a number steps, each one taken when ordered by the sergeant, from dismounting arms , loading powder, loading patch and ball, filling the primer pan, etc., then aiming and firing on command (volley fire). It took a lot of practice for everyone to do it all at the same time. Which is why men were required to bring their muskets and ammo to church on Sundays for militia practice afterward.

    • It would be incredibly Fucking stupid to try to stand against antifa with an unloaded gun. You didn’t have to worry about that in Texas. In Texas you were demonstrating for open carry. At antifa rallies you NEED an armed militia just to politely disagree with them. Go ahead, stand against these fascists disarmed and see what happens.

  5. Written in response the the Politico piece, wishing that HuffPost would take comments:

    I don’t think the author understands what a constitutional right encompasses. We have seen in recent administrations the oppressive police state tactics used to suppress public displays of outrage over worldwide corporate and government greed against otherwise peaceful protesters, who were summarily rounded up, tear-gassed, beaten and arrested for no other reason than to be present at a public protest, and whether or not some of the crowds were comitting crimes such as breaking windows. We see every day that police abuse their powers and lives are lost. These people who are arming themselves are sending a message (among many both good and bad) that they will not bow down to suffer such abuses. That is the message that I would want to project if the state of society threatens my wellbeing enough for me to “carry my attack dog on my hip”.

    If the armed members of this event were carrying firearms from the revolutionary war era – flintlocks – would there have been any difference in the perception? Perhaps. But the reasons for doing this remain the same. What uninformed people think about the very act of defiance against a suppressive government and an increasingly violent left is entirely their responsibility, but they would serve themselves better to become aware of why the second amendment exists, learn what it really means and understand that it is not something they can change because they are – out of ignorance – frightened by the appearance of other citizens who are prepared to defend their rights. These sheeple do not deserve our sympathy or attention, for they are the product of ignorance and conditioning by our government masters who are intent on passifying the population so they will continue to fund the horrible machinery of greed, power, usery, and avarice.

  6. I admit I haven’t followed this very closely, but am I correct in my understanding that none of the militia were involved in any of the violence?

    • The majority of violent confrontations happened, iirc, after the police declared the demonstration over and the militia left the location.

    • In other words, the rabble rousers waited until the citizens with guns left before they started to ramp up their ire. How very brave of them.
      So no. Exactly zero (0) armed militia or armed protesters caused any sort of trouble.

    • I’m in the same boat as you. I don’t give extremists the time of day, to quote Indiana Jones “Nazis, I hate these guys”

      But since every headline is not filled with calls for a ban on all guns because of the mass killing they caused in Charlottesville I’m guessing no violence or intimidation by the militia occurred.

      Instead it seems to be about the potential that the militia could have, maybe caused intimidation of the left leaners by their mere presence

      • “…intimidation of the left leaners by their mere presence…”

        Yes, well that WAS kind of the point, wasn’t it?

  7. You know you are following your better impulses when you’re glad nobody got hurt, even though you were kinda rooting for all sides to lose.

    As I understand Professor Convolution’s argument, the guns present stopped assorted gratuitous thumping before it started. So, I’m thinking PC there is indulging his baser impulses, vs his moral sense.

  8. The leader of the militia said his group was there to stand for their rights under the 2nd Amendment. They were not there to protect anyone else! Stone being the ignorant child he is, doesn’t know what an assault weapon is. NO ASSAULT weapons were carried! The militia made their point very well. NO violence stemmed from them, no one was shot! They were the most peaceful group there! They were not there to intimidate anyone. Only mindless ignorant liberals could like about such a thing. And we saw how violent they were!

    • “NO ASSAULT weapons were carried!”

      The good professor was merely repeating what he was told. His “betters” continue to say any firearm that looks like a military weapon is, by definition, an “assault rifle.”
      We see this this time and again in the MSM; any semi-auto rifle that looks like an M16/M4 is an “assault rifle.” Editors who know better (they’ve been told time and again) still hew to the left’s line, knowing it’s a lie.

  9. The other thing the MSM missed is Charlottesville was a perfect example of why the second amendment was written in the first place. To protect the First Amendment,

    Even if that voice is a terrible group of people, the first amendment was written for everyone, not just the people we politically agree with. And the unfortunate risk we run by giving equality to everyone is some people are Nazis

  10. Remember when black people carried guns in protest of the California government for removing their human rights? I guess now they think it’s the right time to suppress white people.

    • When I say, “I guess now they think it’s the right time to suppress white people,” I meant they the government, not they the black people.

      Although, it’s not like there isn’t a large percentage of black people that forgot why they need human rights to be upheld — by the state and federal government — for all peoples.

      • You be conveniently conflating one of my points with a much easier one for you to argue rather than actually addressing the one I raised and then simultaneously proving one of my others. The fact that black panthers conducted armed protests against gun control a hand full of times in one state almost fifty years ago during a time when blacks in America were undeniably suffering under systemized, legally codified oppression has nothing to do with my point. My point is the people on this forum aren’t protesting, or doing anything constructive. They are futilely spewing threats of violence (revolution) to people who already agree with them. That’s just “venting”. Venting is a coping mechanism and hence a substitute for action toward change. It is undeniable that the vast majority of people that indulge in such threats and inflammatory rhetoric currently (not 50 years ago) are older, working to middle class white males. The fact that you linked me directly to another of your comments indicating you believe gun control to be a racialized issue, and that somehow in modern day America whites are being oppressed only proves this as well as my other point that much of the violent threats spewed here are a result of repressed racial and economic anxiety from the Regain administration forward. Those behaviors are modeled by children, and the current economic situation for working class whites is even worse (much worse in fact) than it was in the late seventies. This combined with boomer retirement and subsequent idleness and the internet along with the intermingling of preparedness culture is why gun rights advocacy has taken on such a bellicose, violent tone. It’s become less about protecting guns and more about venting pent up bitterness on a whole host of racial and economic issues. Threats of violence by people who have know realistic ability to carry them out or reasonable expectation of success if they did are almost always a sign of insecurity, true in the bar, true in the hood, true online. Of course you’ll tell me that you and your buddies do in fact have the ability to some how start and successfully prosecute a war that over turns the long established political order of the strongest nation on earth, but this would be no more true than if you told me you were Napoleon.

    • Guess what happy???

      When Re-gan wrote that law it did not say “only blacks can’t carry guns!”
      We the WHOLE state (white and black and brown and yellow and green and ect) lost our rights because of that stupid cowboy with mush for brains!

      • True.

        However, we know it was because black people were taking up arms against the corrupt government and the permission slips would not be handed out to black people. The governments would pass laws to restrict human rights, but would give out permits to white people and government workers. Many years later white people in California started to protest by following the law as written instead of trying to earn a permission slip, which lead to even more laws.

        Before laws weren’t commonly enforced against white people as they were against minorities. These days the government has moved on to going after everyone that isn’t on their side and they rely on minorities to help. Hence why the Alt-Right is saying the white race is under attack now.

      • All throughout the 1970s and 1980s into the end of the 90s the Jewish Defense League openly carried Thompson submachine guns as well as other firearms in the state of California.

        Apparently these white people were not prevented from exercising their second amendment rights with the exception of black people in the state of California, which is why the Mulford Act was passed in the first place.

        As a black kid growing up in Sacramento I saw other non-jewish people, white, openly carrying guns during the East Area Rapist serial attacks. They were armed neighborhood patrols.

        “Gun control laws were never ment to apply to white people”.
        That was said by a Florida judge in a legal opinion in I think the 1920s.

  11. Let’s think about this for a second.

    ” it has not gone much further in fleshing out the details of this right, and it has not yet considered whether the Second Amendment should be understood to guarantee individuals a right to “open carry.”

    The anits are constantly whining about the fact that the founding fathers could never image the weapons of today. Lets assume they are correct. In that case the most common arm would have been a Musket/Kentucky long rifle that was at least 54 inches long.

    Lets hand a repo to any anti and ask them to find a way to conceal the rifle and see if they start to understand that conceal vs open was answered, because by the antis own logic the gun would have to be at least 54 inches long and effectively no way to conceal it. Watch to cognitive Dissonance set in as the facts start to seep in.

    • Nice try, but there were plenty of concealable muzzleloading pistols around during that era.

      I hate to be such a buzzkill, it would be funny to watch.

  12. The Charlottesville “protests” have all the earmarks of a successful “agitprop” operation. In organization and behavior, both the Antifa and Black Lives Matters groups and the KKK and Nazi groups are mirror images of each other. I strongly suspect that both contained the kinds of hired “crisis actors” that were seen showing up a events during the last campaign. I would not be at all surprised if all the groups received funding from similar, if not identical, sources. The “Unite The Right” organizer is also highly suspicious. These guys are the new “Brown Shirts”. We’re being played by professionals.

    • Highly agree. All funding likely originates out of one of Soros’ many pockets. Via highly convoluted paths I’m sure.

    • “I strongly suspect that both contained the kinds of hired “crisis actors” that were seen showing up a events during the last campaign.”

      Maybe, but my guess is that the alt-left has more to gain by this than the alt-right. They have a martyr now and that’s precisely what they were looking for. Unfortunately no one told this to the victim. Do not underestimate the alt-left. With the MSM on their side they are more than able to shift opinions quickly and radically. We may have the guns but they have the numbers.

  13. The milita weren’t protesting they were defending. Reports I read they even followed the polices lead when they withdrew. We all know militias are legal under the second. That they should be well equipped (regulated), so I’m not sure why they are talking about individual rights when talking about militias?
    They really do have zero understanding of the second amendment or the different meanings separated by commas. Maybe they just play stupid to keep their readers misinformed and easier to manipulate?

  14. Miss, miss, miss.

    1. Antifa were arrested for violations including punching a young, unarmed, female reporter in the face. White supremacists were arrested for violations including murder. NO militia members were arrested. But who does HuffPo want to discuss, that’s right, the guys who did nothing arrest-worthy.

    2. There were only 8 arrests in Charlottesville. There should have been 100. If the police, state police, national guard, etc are not going to help create a peaceful environment, then maybe we need MORE armed militia.

  15. I guess I’m less disturbed by Professor Stone’s article than many. If open carry is prohibited, that’s the end of the discussion. (Get the law changed like Texans did.) If it’s legal, the government has to make the case that the purpose is to suppress the opposition’s first amendment rights or to incite the opposition to initiate violence. Both cases are hard to make. Stone states that the government must remain neutral. It cannot, for example, restrain right wing protestors will allowing antifa counter protestors to run wild.

    My own opinion about both sides is that they are stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places. There are legitimate ways to influence government. They don’t include rioting or inciting riots.

    • But these rioters are influencing government. At all levels. Look how many Confederate monuments have been removed since. Look how much pressure is being put on Trump to denounce this or that. Look what is filling news time instead of the dying Russia meme. And derailing his America first/drain the swamp agenda.

  16. I find it real funny

    Armed citizens are there= peaceful debate and not fighting

    No armed citizens= Fights bottle tossing rocks, fists, piss, pepper spray and when armed cops show up finally= the same and a few arrests??

    That tells me-that the crowd BELIEVED that armed citizens will not put up with any shit!

  17. Honestly there would be a good chance that the militia wouldn’t feel compelled to show up if the pols didn’t tell the police to stand down in these situations so that groups like Antifa could harass those protesting with impunity. There really need to be papers served to determine if and who ordered the police to stand down, or if they did such of their own volition. “Room to destroy” politics have lead to this at a level.

  18. I glad responsible open carry gun owners prevented violence without shooting anyone. That is what the “gun community” claims they support.

  19. Do I have this wrong?
    Those who are being called the “alt-right” or “far-right” are, as I understand it, actually left wingers.
    Take the KKK: Started by Democrats, and, until recently, identified themselves as Democrats. They changed, somehow, because thew Dems started “championing” the blacks. Unfortunately, this “championing” came in the form of the belief (or, I should say, the continuing belief) that blacks are incapable of caring for themselves, requiring all kinds of “entitlements” just to survive. We know the welfare state has ruined the blacks’ family system, which was alive and well before the Dems decided to help them. The Dems do not like the blacks, and use them as their victim pieces. This puts the KKK firmly in the Dems’ wheelhouse as useful idiots.
    The Neo-Nazis were always leftists, because the Nazis were socialists, and therefore leftists. Since the Neos hold the same beliefs (if they even know what their beliefs are), they are, by definition, leftists.
    So we have three groups of leftists, all of which are populated by idiots (because so very few even know what they believe in) fighting each other because they are stupid.
    And the MSM cheers them on by giving them the attention they, like the children they are, crave.
    Did I get it right?

  20. A thought experiment:
    Write out the 2nd Amendment. Draw a line through the word “militia” and write in “drug dealer”. Now line through “people” and write in “police officer”. Now what does it mean? Does it mean that only cops that are also drug dealers can have guns? Or does it mean that the cops have to be armed to keep the drug dealers in line?
    If the militia can be “called up” in a time of emergency, who can do the “calling up”, and who decides what’s an emergency? If the Governor/Sheriff/Mayor is bent, and he wants your ranch/farm/house/women, and he “calls up” the militia (all his buddies with guns) to come take whats yours, wouldn’t it be nice to have some buddies with guns yourself? To “regulate” the militia?

    • Technically, by the Constitution, any call up for the militia means every able bodied man would be mandated to answer the call. So the Sheriff would have to contend with a hell of a lot more men armed then he planned on! And calling them up means he HAS TO FOLLOW THE LAW TO THE LETTER! He cannot arbitrarily call up the militia to confiscate anyone’s property for any reason!


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