By Jack – LibertySetSquare.com –
On August 29th, 2014 Trevor Lyman posted this video essay on LibertyCrier.com: Is It Time to Open Carry at Protests?
Lyman is not the first person to suggest that peaceful protesters can deter abusive police tactics by carrying firearms openly. But his “Massive Open Carry” strategy was first proposed not a month before the Ferguson, Missouri protests, so the topic is controversial all over again.
There should be no argument that the police response to initially peaceful protests in Ferguson was despicable and immoral. People who failed to desist in “unlawful assembly” as well as journalists covering the events, were arrested. There were countless incidents of protesters and journalists being attacked with rubber bullets, flashbang and CS grenades and the increasingly popular (with the police, that is) “LRAD.” Journalists were even threatened with death at gunpoint by one particularly insane police officer who seemed to think he was Judge Dredd.
Police assaults against those attempting to exercise their rights as espoused in the 1st Amendment have only grown more common over the years. As Lyman observes, since the crackdown on the Occupy protests, we have typically witnessed demonstrations and protests from the “left” of the political spectrum subjected to assault, whereas mass assemblies from the “right” have proceeded relatively unmolested. Lyman asserts that this is largely due to the fact that the unmolested protesters often carried firearms.
From Lyman’s piece:
“If you compare the Occupy Now and other liberal protests to the Tea Party protests you’ll notice that one group suffers at the hands of the police state while the other does not.
While there are other differences, I believe one of the main differences is that the tea party protesters bring guns to their protests and that is why they do not suffer as much at the hands of the police state.
I believe that both the left and the right should, always, open carry at protests.”
Can any of us argue the with the reasoning?
During the actual moment crowd dispersal operations begin, authorities are already beyond the point of debating the decision to bust up a gathering of the people. Logically, the next best deterrent against violation of the right to assemble is to get the police to weigh the risks they incur by choosing to use violence.
“Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” – Thomas Jefferson
Oddly enough, I have seen quite a few people over the years who are very convinced that open carry of firearms during a protest is going to cause all sorts of problems. Every time I have seen this idea put forward, tons of people come out of the woodwork warning the rest of us of the doom that awaits, or at the very least, how it “won’t make any difference.”
What is even more odd is that most of these people preface their statements with a disclaimer, where they make clear that they “believe in the 2nd Amendment,” or they “support people who bear arms,” BUT…when it comes to protests, they don’t see it as a good idea.
Allow me to list what I have found to be the four most oft-repeated objections and nitpicks, followed by refutation:
1.Open carry will make police more likely to use force.
2.Open carry will increase the risk of agents provocateurs.
3.Carrying firearms to a protest makes the protesters look “crazy.”
4.Carrying firearms to a protest is maybe a good idea, but it should only be done in a concealed manner. Carrying anything other than a concealed pistol is over the top.