Left-wing bloggers have made much of the fact that at a few of rallies and town halls, a handful of opponents of Obamacare, have arrived bearing arms. Finding in this smattering “escalating number of incidents,” blogger Josh Marshall proclaims in high dudgeon that “the American right has a deep-seated problem with political violence.”
The only problem with Marshall’s analysis is that the “right-wingers” he identifies as exemplary of this problem engaged in their violent activities in the 1990s and neither of them (he identifies only two incidents) had ties to the type of conservative organizations helping organize (or participating in) the current round of protests. They’re as representative of the modern conservative movement as Fred Phelps is of the Democratic Party.
And as Glenn (who alerted me to the Marshall post) points out, violence at these rallies has been directed against, not promoted by, those protesting the President’s plan.
That said, I agree with John Hinderaker; it’s a pretty dumb idea to bring guns to political rallies.
Bob Owens sums it up:
As much as I support the open carry movement in theory, I have a very hard time seeing open carry at a political event full of people as anything other than a very bad idea. It is needlessly provocative (and I suspect in many instances, purposefully so), and potentially dangerous.
While the protestors themselves may not have any intent to use the firearms they are carrying, open carry in dense, emotional crowds opens up a whole host of possible scenarios that could end in disaster.
Not just that, the whole idea of political rally is, in line, with the First Amendment to “peaceably assemble.” Bringing a gun to a rally suggests the bearer has some other purpose in mind. Not just that, those who bear arms at such rallies give left-wingers ammunition to attack those who wish to petition the government for a redress of grievances.