A group of gun rights activists led by Adam Kokesh plans to march across the Arlington Memorial Bridge into Washington, D.C. carrying loaded rifles on July 4, 2013.
The act of civil disobedience will break D.C.’s stringent gun control laws and is designed to send a signal to government and gun control advocates that a line has been crossed in the gun rights debate and that citizens will no longer obey government restrictions on firearms.
Although the march has been the subject of much controversy within the gun rights community, many believe that the act of civil disobedience is long overdue and is entirely appropriate.
One of the group’s supporters, market guru Karl Denninger, states that the march is meant to be provocative just as it was provocative for civil rights advocates in the 1960s to refuse to sit at the back of the bus, demand to be served at lunch counters, and march in areas where they were not welcomed.
Each of these acts by American blacks and the few whites who supported them were against the law at the time.
But others within the gun rights movement have suggested that Kokesh is merely asking for violence and that using loaded rifles to provoke law enforcement agents in D.C. is a good way to get somebody killed.
In addition, Austin Petersen of FreedomWorks claims that he has a much better idea. On July 3, one day before the Kokesh march, Petersen has proposed a “parade” during which participants and their children tote toy guns, water pistols, and Nerf blasters. The tiny water jets and foam darts will send a strong signal of support for gun rights the legal way, according to Petersen.
But Denninger says that such a thing makes no compelling statement about Second Amendment rights, which does not address toy guns at all but protects the right to self-defense with deadly weapons as an absolute right.
Denninger further castigates Petersen for claiming that Kokesh is like Malcolm X in the Civil Rights movement. But Malcolm X advocated violence in stark contrast to Martin Luther King, Jr., and nowhere does Kokesh advocate violence. His march involves carrying loaded rifles, not opening fire on anyone.
Still, the Kokesh march will in all likelihood continue to be a source of much discussion and dissension as gun owners may question the wisdom of an armed march into an area known for going into hysterics over guns. If someone does, indeed, get spooked into firing a rifle, such a thing will most assuredly become a public relations nightmare in the media, which is always perched and ready to claim that gun owners are fanatical, trigger-happy nuts who cannot be trusted with firearms.
But a strong demonstration of the support for gun rights is definitely needed, and such a thing is increasingly becoming a matter of civil disobedience as state governments across the nation encroach on an unalienable right. The only question is how to do so in the most effective manner possible.
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