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Police Chief Calls Out Armed Protest Threat In Washington DC

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"Police Chief Calls Out Armed Protest Threat In Washington DC"

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Credit: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

A July 4 march encourages gun advocates to carry loaded rifles into Washington, DC and knowingly break the law. Although described as a nonviolent “act of civil obedience,” organizer Adam Kokesh implied a threat of violence if “the government chooses to make it violent.” He encourages participants to peacefully submit to law enforcers but underlines that point with, “We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”

Since Friday, more than 2,000 people have RSVPed to the march to “put the government on notice.”

In a local news channel interview pointed out by Politico, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier explained that this is an open disregard for DC law:

[W]hen you cross with firearms and you’re not in compliance with the law now you’re talking about a criminal offense and there’s going to be some action by police. Obviously there has been no permit filed by the organizer and we’ve not made contact with the organizer yet. But we will, and we’ll make sure they understand that if they want to pass through the District of Columbia with loaded firearms as long as they are in compliance with the firearms laws for transportation of firearms to the District, we’re all for it. But passing into the District of Columbia with firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such.

Whether Lanier’s warning invigorates or extinguishes the protest remains unclear.

Kokesh’s plans, along with a series of other open carry protests, undermines arguments made by the National Rifle Association against gun violence prevention. The NRA claims that it is unfair of the government to strengthen background checks or ban assault rifles for law-abiding citizens. Yet this protest plans to purposely break the law.

That point is missed by Kokesh. Open carry is illegal in the District, but Kokesh wants to aim his message at the federal government for attempting modest background checks supported by gun owners and non-gun owners alike.

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