Armed to the Teeth

Peace during armed protest supports reasoning behind pro-Second Amendment sentiment

Nate Hollenbeck, Staff Writer

22,000 Twenty-two thousand individuals–armed to the teeth with assault weapons and body armor– marching toward their state’s capital with fire in their eyes to protest against what, in their minds, is an infringement on their God-given rights sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at the very least, a recipe for a fight. 

When these second amendment advocates marched through Virginia’s capital, assault rifles in hand, on Jan. 20, government officials were “vigilant” about “threats to public safety” according to TIME. However, the day ended peacefully with no violence and only one arrest—for wearing a mask in public. 

The protesters were rallying against a new burst of gun control laws promised by the newly Democratic Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, including proposals to ban “assault weapons, silencers, high-capacity magazines, and other dangerous weapons” according to WTOP News.

Many of the weapons that are at risk of being banned, such as AR-15 style weapons and large precision rifles, were carried by protesters at the Virginia rally. If the rally demonstrated anything, it’s the fact that 22,000 supporters came out, and despite media depictions, these are peaceful, normal people, not white supremacists or terrorists.  

In fact, the owner of a nearby coffee shop that took the risk of staying open during the rally stated that “Everyone was beyond pleasant, in fact, it was kind of fun.” according to the Northern Virginia Daily.

New procedural laws such as background checks may do a lot of good, but some activists fear registration is “a move that could lead to confiscation”, according to Washington Examiner reporter Paul Bedard.

Some may argue that the protestors are all responsible gun owners and are therefore not the problem.  The purpose of the new laws proposed by the Senate would be to keep guns away from irresponsible gun owners or potentially dangerous individuals. 

However, criminals and other illegal gun owners would simply not comply with one of the proposals that gun rights activists are particularly upset about– mandatory registration of all firearms in the state. The guns that have proven dangerous in recent years in many shootings across America were obtained illegally to begin with. 

The Jersey City shooting on Dec. 18, 2019, the Fresno California shooting on Nov. 14, 2019, the Dayton Ohio shooting on Aug. 4, 2019, and many more were all committed with weapons that were already obtained illegally, according to ABC news. Therefore more laws would not have prevented any of these atrocities.

If these 22,000 protesters and their high powered weapons are a danger to the public, then certainly so many “dangerous” people congregating would have resulted in chaos, but it did not. It was a peaceful rally. These weapons themselves are not the problem. Their wielders are.