Now Open Carry is a Loophole

Car Attack Generates Calls for Gun Control

by Jeff Knox

(August 23, 2017) 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, and one guy even fired a gun—though he appears to have been shooting blanks. After the rally had been broken up, a demonstrator drove a car through a crowd, killing one woman, and injuring many others. 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, 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 Charlotteseville 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 its obligation to protect the free-speech rights of the rally organizers and attendess, it looks like it intentionally conspired to allow those rights to be assaulted and suppressed.

Organizers of the rally applied for and received all of the necessary permits to legally hold their rally, well in advance of the event. 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 rally would undoubtedly draw counter-protesters, and that they would almost certainly be violent. The obligation of the mayor and governor was to protect rights and 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 invite violence.

The number-one rule in situations like this is to keep the factions separated, but authorities allowed counter-protestors 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 protestors in order to get into the park, and police did little to protect them from protestors, or protestors 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, 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 protestors who were assaulting the legally permitted rally, but to push the rally attendees out of the park, into the streets full of protestors.

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

When the alleged white supremacist ran a car into a crowd, the media and politicians blamed everyone to the right of “far-left,” and called for sweeping new gun control.

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

There’s no double-standard or agenda at play though. That’s just crazy talk.

©2017 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement.

The Firearms Coalition was founded in 1984 by the late Neal Knox. The Firearms Coalition provides information and analysis for the most basic level of the Gun Lobby, the individual activist and independent organizations. Jeff Knox, the currect Director, is one of Neal Knox's two sons, both of whom carry on their father's work in promoting firearms rights. The Knox Update appears in various publications and is used here with permission from Jeff Knox.

You may discuss this article in this thread, in our Forums Site.

Find us on :