Loose gun laws are enabling escalating violence – the NRA is getting what it wants to sell more guns.
White wing provocateurs started showing up to campaign events and rallies back in the 2012 election cycle to threaten left wing protesters and demonstrators… The left armed up in response.
Geez…I wonder why?
Authorities gird for explosive clashes between heavily armed extremists in American cities.
Domestic extremist groups ranging from white supremacists to their rival “antifa” anarchists are increasingly exploiting loose gun control laws to show up at emotionally charged rallies with assault rifles and other high-powered weapons, increasing the likelihood of an explosive clash in an American city, according to law enforcement officials.
What makes the current threat environment especially combustible are open carry laws in many states that allow civilians to display virtually any gun in public that they want, often with no permit, training or background check required, according to federal and state law enforcement officials who are closely monitoring extremist groups.
“Why would you let someone bring an AR-15 to a hate rally?” former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano asked. “It’s absolute insanity.”
Except in Charlottesville, Virginia, and other recent protest events, it wasn’t just one person. It was dozens or even hundreds of people who showed up heavily armed and primed for a fight. More than 1,500 people attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, with one Baltimore man suspected of membership in the Ku Klux Klan later arrested for firing his gun at a crowd of protesters. In Texas, swarms of gun-toting antifa members and white nationalists assaulted each other at several events near the Austin statehouse over the past year. And in Pikeville, Kentucky, more than 150 heavily armed neo-Nazis and white supremacists engaged in a tense standoff with about 100 anti-fascists in April, but the sides were separated by police and dozens of militia members before violence ensued.
Often, they came dressed in camouflage fatigues, tactical armor and Kevlar vests looking like Navy SEAL commandos, so much so that even the local police have mistaken them for U.S. law enforcement or military officers.
Now, authorities are bracing for what they fear could be lethal confrontations at rallies and other public events being planned in cities and towns across the country in the coming months. They say clashes over any number of hotly contested “flashpoint” issues could spark it, including Confederate monuments, immigration, the Trump administration’s so-called Muslim ban and gun control measures.
“The next incident is right around the corner,” said Captain Michael Rinaldi, counterterrorism chief for the New Jersey State Police. “Someone will run someone over, or someone will get shot and there will be a melee and it will gain momentum. There is definitely concern for what you saw in Charlottesville, that you’ll get a group and then counterprotesters and then you’ll have casualties.”
Gagliano, a former senior FBI SWAT team leader and crisis management coordinator in New York, said many of the protesters at recent public events appeared to be better equipped than he was as an FBI tactical agent deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
“Allowing openly carried weapons at an assembly, where tensions oft run high and counterprotesters now proliferate, is a recipe for disaster,” Gagliano said.
But when the people assembling are from warring factions of domestic extremist groups, he said, “We are simply passing time until the proverbial ‘Hatfield and McCoy’ incident occurs.”
Gagliano was one of several current and former law enforcement officials who said most of their colleagues “support the Second Amendment, but feel that common-sense regulations and restrictions are necessary and sensible,” especially when it comes to laws allowing for open carry and the purchase of guns once limited to police and military officers.
At least 45 states currently now allow some form of open carry, often for long guns that can include assault weapons. A smaller number of states also allow open carry of handguns and concealed carry of guns of various kinds and sizes.
The National Rifle Association, which has aggressively lobbied for open carry laws and against restrictions on gun purchases, did not return numerous phone calls and emails seeking comment.