Prominent gun rights group: We won’t defend the presence of firearms at protests

“Americans shouldn’t lose their constitutional rights when they are practiced in unison. When Americans peaceably protest, they should be able to peacefully bear arms at the same time,” Jordan Stein, communications director for Gun Owners of America, told TheBlaze. “Regardless, banning guns at protests turns the event into a gun-free zone for honest citizens, which can be exploited by criminals who don’t care about the law.”


Prominent gun rights group: We won’t defend the presence of firearms at protests

“We are not a fan of armed protests and highly discourage that,” Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the SAF, told the Times. “Firearms serve a purpose, and the purpose is not a mouthpiece. It’s to defend yourself. If you are carrying it to make a political point, we are not going to support that.”

The statement came in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, when protesters took to the streets to voice their concerns over the removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. During these demonstrations, some neo-Nazis, white supremacists and members of the ‘alt-right’ openly carried firearms.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union echoed a similar stance, saying they would no longer defend white supremacy groups who decide to carry firearms at protests.

A threat to gun rights

According to UCLA law professor and gun rights scholar Adam Winkler, some in the gun rights movement feel open carriers are a threat to the progress made in favor of gun rights.

“There are many in the gun community who believe the open carriers pose a big threat to gun rights because they are so aggressive and so in the face of other people in controversial settings that it could lead to a backlash,” Winkler told the Times.

Gottlieb, though critical of those who carry openly, said he understands why people open carry: for protection.

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Proposed legislation

Lawmakers have contemplated banning firearms at protests, rallies and demonstrations. So far, multiple gun rights groups are opposed to the idea.

“Americans shouldn’t lose their constitutional rights when they are practiced in unison. When Americans peaceably protest, they should be able to peacefully bear arms at the same time,” Jordan Stein, communications director for Gun Owners of America, told TheBlaze. “Regardless, banning guns at protests turns the event into a gun-free zone for honest citizens, which can be exploited by criminals who don’t care about the law.”

Read More at The Blaze

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As the "no-compromise” gun rights group, Gun Owners of America stands firms for the Second Amendment rights of peaceful protestors. Those peaceably exercising their First Amendment rights should not be prohibited from lawfully exercising their Second Amendment rights at the same time – openly or concealed.]