Michele L. Norris, an opinions contributor and consultant for The Washington Post, wrote an article this week bashing armed protesters who peaceably assemble.
“We’ve gotten far too accustomed to the image of white protesters carrying paramilitary-level firearms in public spaces,” she wrote. “The presence of guns — often really large guns — at protests has become alarmingly normalized. It is time to take stock of what that means.”
“Accepting and even expecting to see firearms at protest rallies means that we somehow embrace the threat of chaos and violence,” she continued. “While those who carry say they have no intention of using their weapons, the firepower alone creates a wordless threat, and something far more calamitous if even just one person discharges a round.”
Norris penned the op-ed in the wake of a reopen Michigan demonstration at the state Capitol building late last month. Local media reported that a small number of participants were armed with long guns and “confronted police officers” in an effort to gain access to the House floor as “lawmakers debated an extension of her emergency powers.”
Even though the situation never escalated beyond some chanting and shouting, the governor is now looking to ban firearms inside the Capitol building.
“There are legislators who are wearing bulletproof vests to go to work,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, on Wednesday. “No one should be intimidated by someone who’s bringing in an assault rifle into their workplace. And so there is conversation about changing that law. I think it’s long overdue, and I absolutely support that change. You shouldn’t be intimidated going to be the voice of the people who elected you.”
Fears over armed protesters are by and large unfounded. Critics like Ms. Norris and Gov. Whitmer would be hard-pressed to come up with even one example where shots were deliberately fired at a demonstration, particularly a pro-2A demonstration.
Why is that? Because the activists attending those rallies are law-abiding and civically engaged. They are exercising their First Amendment and Second Amendment rights under the purview of the Constitution. They are a threat to no one (unless one is a tyrant or dictator).
By contrast, the real threat to the public is the criminal element. Basically, the last people on earth who would show up to a demonstration with an AR slung around their shoulder, which apart from being America’s most popular rifle, is a beacon to law enforcement that says, “Hey, look at me!”
If we’re being honest, openly carrying a firearm invites scrutiny from the boys in blue. Not exactly the type of attention one wants if one is a violent felon on the lam or a drug dealer with an 8 ball of cocaine in his pants. Yet, it seems, neither Ms. Norris nor Gov. Whitmer understands this self-evident logic.
Instead, what they want to do is demonize lawful gun owners and use their activism against them, as a way to further chill their fundamental rights.
See, the ending result of last month’s rally won’t be to get people back to work any sooner, rather it’ll be turning the Capitol building into a gun-free zone, aka soft target, where citizens cannot bear arms to defend themselves.
And as for the notion that firearms being displayed in public by responsible citizens should not be normalized — I couldn’t disagree more. That should be the rule and not the exception. Because as it stands today, we see far too many negative depictions of guns in the movies, on TV, and over the Internet.