Gun rights groups are gathering in Washington today to call for increased access to firearms, and the right to pack heat everywhere. But before they make their stand, gun rights advocates have work out an internal struggle playing itself out around the city.
Two groups of pro-gun activists are gathering in Washington — one armed and (according to right wing groups, dangerous), and one unarmed. Both want it to be easier for Americans to carry guns around wherever they go.
But neither, it seems, want anything to do with each other.At the Washington Monument, gun owners will gather in an unarmed rally to support gun rights called the “Second Amendment March.” It’s there you’ll find talk of gun rights supported by a number of pro-gun groups, including the United States Concealed Carry Association, the Oathkeepers and the U.S. Gun Owner’s Association.
The group will hear from speakers including Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) and jam to the sounds of country star Lucas Hodge. The Second Amendment March has all the makings of a standard pro-gun rally, though tinged with some of the tea party rhetoric that has crept into into every corner of American conservatism lately.
The March is almost vehemently unarmed. D.C. law doesn’t allow the carrying of firearms, and organizers make it clear they don’t think that carrying a gun is a necessary part of arguing for less restrictive gun laws. At the top of the list of the March’s “ official rules of conduct” is, “NO UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS.”
Rule number 2? “If you do not intend to comply with item #1, do not attend.”
The same can’t be said of another event held just outside town today at Ft. Hunt National Park in northern Virgina. According to the Washington Post, protesters at the “Restore The Constitution” rally will take advantage of new gun laws signed by President Obama allowing the carrying of firearms in national parks to make an armed stand for liberty today.
Rally organizer Daniel Almond put the event together “because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama’s insistence on and the Democratic Congress’s capitulation to a ‘totalitarian socialism’ that tramples individual rights,” the Post reports.
Almond will be packing heat, and he’s calling on others to join him. The park is just a few miles from downtown D.C. and, on a clear day, the Capitol dome is visible from the location.
Even groups inclined to agree with Almond under other circumstances are not amused by his plan to gather armed men with grudges against the government in the shadow of the Capitol on the fifteenth anniversary of the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.
Over at the Second Amendment March, organizers want to make it clear they’re not involved.
“People may be confusing us with another group that is holding an armed rally in Virginia on the same day as Second Amendment March,” they write on their website. “That group is a separate entity entirely and is not at all associated with the Second Amendment March event.”
An Oath Keeper’s board member explained his group’s decision to pull out of Almond’s event April 12 to the Post.
“It had gotten to the point that it would be dangerous to attend,” the Oath Keeper told the paper. “There are people out there willing to do anything to create chaos in an uncontrolled situation, and [the event] is wide open for disaster.”
Late Update The Washington Post headed out to Almond’s armed rally today and caught some video of the 50 people the paper reported were in attendance.