Open carry advocates and practitioners attending political rallies with visible firearms are “armed extremists,” according to Los Angeles Times editorial published against the backdrop of a major buildup of National Guard troops in Washington, D.C. in response to an FBI tip about armed protests between now and Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The editorial supported a move in Michigan to ban open carry of firearms at the Capitol in Lansing.
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The FBI has circulated an advisory that there may be armed protests leading up to the inauguration at state capitols in all 50 states, according to the Associated Press and Seattle Times. This is in the wake of the deadly protest at the nation’s capital Jan. 6.
The Los Angeles Times is considered an anti-gun newspaper, and this Wednesday editorial did nothing to dispel that belief.
“Why do so many states allow people to walk around with semiautomatic rifles and other firepower in the first place,” the editorial asks. “Such displays are not based on a desire for self-protection, as many proponents argue. As we’re seeing more and more, armed men — and they are overwhelmingly men — strutting around in pseudo-military gear carrying guns are intent on intimidation, not protecting themselves from an armed robber or whatever imagined threat their feverish psyche has cooked up.”
The editorial also takes great pains to defend the First Amendment right of protesters to “freely assemble, agitate and even get a little loud.”
“That’s part and parcel of the 1st Amendment right to free expression,” the newspaper said, “and to challenge government decisions. But it’s not a license to commit acts of violence or vandalism or to trample other people’s right to go about their daily business.”
Tension is high between the political right and left, with conservatives under increasing pressure as the inauguration approaches. According to the AP report, “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“States must reject this romanticized notion,” the newspaper said, “that somehow the open carrying of firearms makes us a safer society, and policymakers must act as if public safety matters more than gun zealots’ warped view of the Constitution. We know tyranny when we see it, and it’s not when the government tries to slow the spread of a deadly disease or honor the will of the voters.”
The Times editorial was reacting to a report at Fox News about the decision by a state panel in Michigan to prohibit the open carrying of firearms at the state capitol in Lansing.
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