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Demonstrating With Guns: G.S. 14-277.2

Over the past couple weeks, North Carolina has joined the growing list of states in which armed demonstrators have gathered to express their opposition to virus-related restrictions on economic activity and social gatherings, or to more generally express their opposition to any restrictions on their Second Amendment rights. Dressed in patriotic or military-style gear, and armed with a variety of openly displayed handguns, rifles, or even an (inert) AT-4 anti-tank weapon, these groups have processed along city streets and sidewalks or gathered in public locations like a historic cemetery and a downtown restaurant.

Now, particularly in light of an incident over the weekend where two local attorneys walking with their children felt threatened by a demonstrator wielding a large pipe wrench, a lot of people are asking the same question: are these armed demonstrations legal?

The question seems simple. The answer is more complicated.

A.  Background and Related Posts

We should start by distinguishing this issue from the much larger bodies of law related to protests and firearms in general. My colleagues have written a number of posts on those topics over the years that readers may want to revisit.

1) Other Crimes Committed at a Demonstration

Protests and public demonstrations are permitted, of course, but if a participant engages in other criminal conduct during the course of the event (e.g., assault, communicating threats, trespassing, destruction of property, obstructing traffic, or resisting arrest), then he or she may be prosecuted for that offense. See Jeff Welty’s post on that topic here.

2) Going Armed to the Terror of the Public

Anyone armed with an unusual or deadly weapon who goes about on the public highways in a manner to, and for the purpose of, terrifying others commits the common law offense of going armed to the terror of the public, regardless of whether a demonstration or protest is also taking place. See Jessica Smith’s post on that topic here.

Frightened residents who encounter what looks like an armed militia posted up on their neighborhood sidewalks or public spaces might reasonably assume that this offense would apply, but the limited number of cases interpreting this offense have typically required some act beyond merely possessing and openly carrying a gun, such as actually discharging it with the intent of terrorizing others:

[I]t is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun per se constitutes no offence. For any lawful purpose — either of business or amusement — the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose — and the mischievous result — which essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about this or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm, a peaceful people.

State v. Huntley, 25 N.C. 418 (1843). On the other hand, at least one case suggests that when a group of people are conspicuously armed and acting together for the purpose of terrorizing the community, merely “displaying” the weapon could be enough:

In this day of social upheaval one can perceive only dimly the tragic consequences to the people if either night riders or day-time demonstrators, fanatically convinced of the righteousness of their cause, could legally arm themselves, mass, go abroad, and display their weapons for the purpose of imposing their will upon the people by terror. Such weapons – unconcealed and ‘ready to be used on every outbreak of ungovernable passion’ – would endanger the whole community. […] The wisdom of the common law, which made it a crime to go armed to the terror of the people, inures to our benefit today.

State v. Dawson, 272 N.C. 535 (1968).

3. Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Finally, an individual who is simply engaging in the “open carry” of a firearm, meaning that the person has a firearm carried visibly on his or her body, has likely not committed a criminal offense in North Carolina — unless the person is prohibited from possessing that firearm for other reasons. See Jeff Welty’s post on that topic here, and a related post on prohibited weapons of mass destruction here.

Carrying concealed weapons is generally prohibited, unless the person has a concealed weapon permit or is exempt from the law. Even a person who has a concealed weapon permit is still prohibited from carrying a firearm in certain places like courthouses, some state property (e.g., the Executive Mansion or the State Capitol Building), educational facilities, and businesses with posted signs prohibiting firearms. Several prior blog posts on concealed carry law are available here, here, and here.

B.  The Narrower Issue

Setting aside any blatantly criminal conduct like assaulting a bystander or shooting into store windows, the issue presented by these armed demonstrations doesn’t quite fit into any of those boxes. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the participants are not convicted felons or underage minors, and they are not brandishing their weapons, threatening or shooting at passersby, entering any prohibited locations, or carrying weapons of mass destruction. They are, however, armed with numerous openly-carried firearms as they occupy a public space or proceed together through the city streets to express their political views and call for social change. Is that a crime?

According to our statutes, yes, it is. G.S. 14-277.2 prohibits the possession of firearms and other dangerous weapons at parades or demonstrations on public property:

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person participating in, affiliated with, or present as a spectator at any parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon […] any public place owned or under the control of the State or any of its political subdivisions to willfully or intentionally possess or have immediate access to any dangerous weapon. Violation of this subsection shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor. […]
(b)  For the purposes of this section the term “dangerous weapon” shall include those weapons specified in G.S. 14-269, 14-269.2, 14-284.1, or 14-288.8 or any other object capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death when used as a weapon.

That seems pretty straightforward: (i) it applies to any “public place” owned or controlled by either the state or any political subdivision of it (e.g., the county, city, or town) so places like streets, sidewalks, parks, and public cemeteries are all covered; (ii) it prohibits the possession of or immediate access to any “dangerous weapon” as defined by several other statutes that include firearms; and (iii) it applies to anyone participating in or even affiliated with the demonstration.

If that’s the law, why have armed protesters in Raleigh not been arrested?

C.  This is Where it Gets Complicated

There may be strategic or public safety reasons why the police officers on scene would conclude it is better to avoid a confrontation with such a group, but even as a matter of law there are some difficult and unanswered questions to contend with. Some of these issues are legitimate, others less so. Let’s work through them.

1. This wasn’t a “parade” or “demonstration” — we’re just people walking around exercising our rights.

In a follow-up story posted last night, WRAL News quoted a member of the group who claimed that they were not actually engaging in a parade, protest, or demonstration: “We aren’t protesting. We are simply exercising our rights and getting fresh air, sunshine, and some much needed bodily exercise.” The report also quoted from a statement issued by the Raleigh Police Department, which noted that a person may not “possess a dangerous weapon when they are participating in or spectating at a protest,” but went on to say that “there is nothing that prohibits an individual, or a group of individuals, from walking on a city sidewalk while carrying and displaying firearms.”

So how and where do we draw the line between a group of armed people who are just out taking a walk together, as opposed to an armed parade or demonstration making a socio-political statement? Unfortunately, G.S. 14-277.2 does not define the terms parade, picket line, or demonstration, and there are no appellate cases interpreting and applying this statute.

Although it is not controlling law on the issue, I thought it might be instructive to look at how the city itself defines parades, picket lines, and demonstrations. See Raleigh City Code, Part 12, Chapter 1, Article C – “PARADES, DEMONSTRATIONS AND STREET EVENTS.” Section 12-1051 of the Code requires a permit to hold a “parade,” and that term “is defined as an assemblage of two (2) or more persons participating in […] any march, ceremony, show, exhibition or in any procession, promotion or objection of any kind in or upon the public streets, alleys, parks or other public grounds in any manner.” A parade is distinguished from a “picket” or “picket line,” which Section 12-1055 expressly deems to include “demonstrators,” and which it defines as “persons participating in vigils and any action primarily promoting or objecting to a policy upon those portions of the public ways not used primarily for vehicular parking and moving traffic and not constituting a parade.”

Assuming a comparable definition applies to G.S. 14-277.2, it would be left up to the trial court or a jury to decide whether the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the group’s actions were more than a mere social gathering of people who happened to be carrying guns, and instead constituted either: (i) a show, exhibition, procession, or objection on public streets, parks or public grounds (i.e., a “parade”); or (ii) a demonstration or other action on non-vehicular public ways, primarily intended to promote or object to a policy (i.e., a “picket line” or “demonstration”). If the state can prove it was either of the latter, then the group has likely violated G.S. 14-277.2. Statements of intent and purpose posted on the group’s Facebook page, the planning and organization behind the event, and any comments or actions that occurred during the event could all potentially be relevant to making or refuting that showing.

In short, a prosecution under this statute seems possible, but meeting the state’s burden of proof in any given case may be challenging. Such a prosecution would require breaking new legal ground in a highly contentious realm.

2.  This law doesn’t apply to concealed permit holders, which we all are.

G.S. 14-277.2(d) allows concealed handguns at parades or funeral processions (but still not at picket lines or demonstrations), as long as the person has a valid concealed carry permit or is in the class of those who are exempt from needing a permit, such as a law enforcement officer. Therefore, Section (d) has no bearing at all on openly carried firearms like an AR-15 slung over the shoulder.

G.S. 14-277.2(c) does apply to openly carried firearms, and says that the prohibition against carrying firearms at a demonstration does not apply to a person: (i) exempted under G.S. 14-269(b); (ii) authorized by the government to carry dangerous weapons in the performance of their duties (e.g., police officers or soldiers); or (iii) who obtains a permit to carry a dangerous weapon at the event. The second and third prongs clearly don’t apply here, since these demonstrators were not authorized and engaged in the performance of their professional duties, nor did they have a special permit authorizing them to carry weapons at a demonstration. (I did not personally contact the group to ask, but you can view the Raleigh city calendar of all permitted “Races/Walks/Parades” for May 2020 here. Due to COVID-19, there currently are none.)

As for the first prong, G.S. 14-269(b) only refers to persons who are exempt from the concealed weapons law, such as law enforcement officers, judges, clerks, prosecutors, and National Guard members. Regular members of the public who obtain a concealed handgun permit are addressed in G.S. 14-269(a2), which is not included under G.S. 14-277.2(c). Therefore, taking the exception in G.S. 14-277.2(c) as written, it does not apply to an openly armed demonstrator who happens to also have a concealed carry permit.

3. It doesn’t matter — the law is unconstitutional anyway.

This is normally the first argument raised in the debate: even if this was a parade or demonstration, G.S. 14-277.2 is unenforceable because it violates the participants’ state and federal constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. The scope of permissible restrictions or prohibitions that can be imposed on an individual’s right to possess and carry a firearm is a hotly contested area of law, to say the least. See, e.g., D.C. v. Heller, 54 U.S. 570 (2008); Britt v. North Carolina, 404 U.S. 226 (1971); Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886); State v. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574 (1921). For a deeper discussion of these issues in relation to armed demonstrations, including the overlap and intersection that this issue has with First Amendment rights, see Timothy Zick, “Arming Public Protests,” 104 Iowa L. Rev. 223 (Nov. 2018).

I won’t presume to try to resolve that debate in a blog post. Instead, what I will say is that I placed this issue last because I think it is largely settled by how we decide to answer issue #1 above. If G.S. 14-277.2 has such a broad application that it creates a blanket prohibition against a group of people socializing on the city sidewalk from openly carrying their firearms, it would likely be deemed an unconstitutional curtailment of their rights. Regardless of where the federal courts may land on Second Amendment rights, our state courts have held that the right to openly carry a firearm in public is broadly protected by the state constitution. See N.C. Const., Art. I, Sec. 30; Kerner, supra.

But if this statute is found to be a narrowly tailored regulation that serves a legitimate public safety purpose, based on the unique circumstances and risks associated with parades and demonstrations, then I think it could pass both state and federal constitutional muster for the same reasons that other comparable regulations have. See, e.g., State v. Sullivan, 202 N.C. App 553 (2010) (upholding ban on guns in courthouses).

I usually close these posts by asking readers to share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences in the comment section below. Something tells me that request will not be necessary for this topic.

63 comments on “Demonstrating With Guns: G.S. 14-277.2

  1. Congrats, Jonathan. That was a very informative and helpful summary of this issue. I could not have been that unbiased. I do think our statute would have Heller problems even assuming it did not violate any state constitutional right.

    From what little I could see, there was at least a flag “Don’t Tread On Me,” which I think is First Am protected speech implying a deep love for President Obama and a passionate frustration with the current state of our federal democracy and its hobo leadership. At least that’s what I am assuming.

    It’s pretty impressive that they thought to put on Facebook that they’re just going for a walk. Maybe consulted a smart First Am lawyer before they came here?

    Also, it seems abundantly clear that some/many/all?? (no, I don’t have a basis) of these folks came here – to Raleigh – because it is the capital of the state and they would like their non-message to be seen and interpreted here. And in the papers. And on TV. Thanks TV, you supreme bozos! (Don’t you ever, ever get it?)

    They were not just walking around their own neighborhoods. This point and the display of at least some flags or other signs, gets closer and closer to protected speech activity. Which, it would seem, gets closer and closer to violating that statute. But I don’t see it passing Heller.
    [Are there gun restriction laws of the generic public safety variety that existed previous to Heller without any re-working that have survived serious legal attacks since? Maybe not many.]

    I picture two law students having a Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure-type conversation with 3 or 4 or 5 Framers of the Constitution. Explaining the premise and the non-message, not speech activity; which is probably protected speech of the walkers/marchers/non-protesters..
    Then I picture the law students explaining: “But instead of shouting slogans or raising their grievances with speech, they just carry guns! And other weird weapons like a pipe wrench!”

    As the founders silently contemplate the students’ hypo, one of them looks up grimly and says, “Well, why in the hell would you do that?”

    Is their a limit to time/place/manner restrictions when the protected speech has no message? Or is this just what it’s come to now? I will be out there next time. We, the citizens of Raleigh, should be out on our streets to let those folks know that their threatening, weapon-yielding – according to them for no reason – antics are not appreciated by all.

    We do not have to sit idly by as our streets are molested by the ill-will of a tiny minority of idiots. We have a citizen duty to respond to bad speech with more good speech.

    If you don’t got a message, then get in your truck and go home.

    Otherwise, having all these guns out here where people live and walk with their children is just too dangerous to be condoned. But more importantly, it is just absolutely unnecessary and inconsiderate to make your fellow citizens feel uncomfortable or intimidated for no reason whatsoever.

    This is Deonte’ and Beth’s and their children’s city and home. We did not come to their towns and mess with their families or their guns. We should be out there responding with a civil, silent message of disapproval.

    These are not legal arguments; they are We the People responsibilities. Statutes aren’t the cure for everything.

    • Thanks for the comment — I agree that Heller leaves some big questions unanswered. That case generally recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms while leaving open the government’s ability to regulate them in certain “sensitive places” like schools or government buildings, but we don’t know yet how that applies to time, place, and manner regulations on guns in normal public spaces. And again, however the federal law ultimately shakes out, it remains a separate question whether such regulations and restrictions are permissible under the state constitution. Jeff Welty addressed that issue in his open carry post linked above.

      Finally, if you haven’t already, I would encourage you (or any others who are interested) to check out the Iowa Law Review article I cited. It presents a much more thorough and well-researched analysis of both First and Second Amendment law on this topic than I was able to give. I have edited the post to include a link to a freely available copy of that article.

    • I just want to say, be careful how you demonstrate your disapproval. Friends who followed the armed men and had signs, protested their display of guns and the reopening theme, were threatened by RPD with arrest for harassment. They claimed to have the DA’s support for that. They were made to stay a distance from the armed or face arrest. How absurd is that??? Does that have any legal basis?

      • Whats absurd about not harassing people? Oh I see, Its okay to harass as long as you do not agree with the harassed. Typical liberal garbage

    • Your fear, ignorance and bias do not give you the authority to restrict someone else’s liberties or rights. Without the 2nd Amendment, the 1st Amendment can not be defended. No where in the Constitution does it give the authority to the government to restrict the right to bear arms because someone feels uncomfortable. In fact the right to bear arms is implicitly given, without restrictions.

      All rights come with responsibility. If someone commits a crime with a firearm (threatening people, robbery, assault, etc) then they should be prosecuted for that crime. If you deem being armed unnecessary at a protest, then don’t bring a firearm. However, your opinion is your own, and may not be imposed on others.

      Our country was founded via armed protest, and the founding fathers wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights after overthrowing a tyrannical government, not coming back from a hunting trip. The lockdown was unconstitutional, and the governments(federal, state and local) had NO authority to take these actions.

      Responding with a “civil, silent message of disapproval” would have no effect. If it is silent, who would hear it?
      No one.

      You are absolutely entitled to your opinion/views, but to endorse the infringement of the rights of others is unAmerican, and a right you don’t have.

    • And what does the current administration have to do with this discussion? With all your probably arguable comments you could not just remain on topic without some disparaging remarks. Pretty evident on which side of the legislature we would find your seat.

    • “…there was at least a flag “Don’t Tread On Me,” which I think is First Am protected speech implying a deep love for President Obama and a passionate frustration with the current state of our federal democracy and its hobo leadership. ”

      The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag implies a deep love for former President Obama? Am I reading that wrong? It certainly confuses me.

    • Your opinion of those “idiots” as you put it are opinion and irrelevant. If you want to take to the streets and engage an armed person because you don’t agree with the way they protest then you are the idiot. P.S. Feel free to take your “unbiased” opinion and head up to Canada.

    • God help us all if our rights ever become dependent on the vagaries and whims of the people who tremble at the sight of a firearm ( unless carried by a uniformed and badge wearing person) and who ” feel uncomfortable ” or ” intimidated ” and believe that they have some ingrained right to live their lives free from any sort of worry. Unreal. How easy it would be to disarm and subjugate a people who gladly give up their rights and personal protections so that they “feel” less threatened and intimidated. These are the snowflakes that wilt and faint and frantically call for police over the most minor social issues or confrontations.

      These middle class elitists see anti-gun rights attitudes as intellectually superior to those of us who see obvious value in maintaining the ability to arm for protection and sport. If the wilting lilies that fear guns believe that the police are going to save their skin when the unthinkable goes down, they are sadly mistaken. The police have NO LEGAL MANDATE to protect the public in any specific way; generally the police follow up after a crime and try to find perps, etc. are rarely present at the scene of a crime. The unarmed citizen is at the mercy of the intruder/killer and mercy is not a trait they are well known for. If they choose to expose themselves to that risk, then go for it. Just do NOT act as if unpreparedness and weakness are commendable in any way.

  2. Was that a Chinese made pipe wrench? If it was we can blame them.

  3. Perceived danger by some is not cause to deny another persons God Given rights.

    “We do not have to sit idly by as our streets are molested by the ill will of a tiny minority of idiots. We have a citizen duty to respond to bad speech with more good speech.”

    I believe our constitutional framers would find much fault with this statement primarily on a SOG website. I’m certain the primary reason this great country was founded was that we already had a government that was all to often willing to weigh in(dictate) on what was bad speech and good speech.

    • I’m not the government, friend. My speech. The idea that the citizens who disagree with each others’ speech should exercise their own right in retort – ‘more good speech’ is a core principle of free speech.
      We express our ideas in order to attempt to persuade each other, rather than asking the government to make a law about it.

      That was the main point.

      I realize this is not really a thing anymore but I’m hoping for a comeback.

      Also, God did not lay down any gun rights, and as far as I know she never chimed in on the First Amendment either. Those were made up by mere mortals. Guess we are on our own.

      • As to “gun rights” imparted by God, the admonition to sell one’s cloak to buy a sword does cover that particular quibble.
        To quote Robert A. Heinlein, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
        Disagree with civility. Those who fail to eschew violence risk confronting an armed citizen. Those who openly carry weapons are not inviting violence, but displaying their readiness to answer with all appropriate force, thus they are peacekeepers.

        • Ok, sword rights then. I can get behind sword rights.

        • agreed. “shall not be infringed upon” is my motto!

      • God did indeed lay down the law on gun rights. Natural law predates laws of man. Specifically, self preservation, Freedom of choice, movement, (consequences may apply) and possession of property. The Preamble clearly supports these as Inalienable Rights or God (natural) given Rights. We commonly refer to them as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We can, then, conclude gun ownership is covered under self preservation, (life) freedom of choice, (Liberty) property ownership. (Pursuit of Happiness) Mans Laws are not necessarily the voice of reason but the whims of Tyrants. The founders intentions were very clear that laws superseding natural laws were prohibited. All discussions are of whimsical laws that restrict natural law. People may gather with their possessions as they see fit. Consequences will play out naturally, regardless of establishment intervention or policy. Granted, there must be some laws to help manage a populace. If laws are just, however, there would be little need to enforce them. It is said, “Civilized Man is simply a Barbarian with the will to peacefully co-exsist. Uncivilized Man lacks the will. Rules are made to prevent the Civilized Man from extermanating the Univilzed Man.”

      • God did lay out the “right to life”, which includes the ability to defend oneself, including by use of a gun. The first amendment and the second are inalienable rights bestowed by our Creator…they are NOT derived from the Government, they are recognized by the government.

      • She?

    • Thank you! I think he is voicing the opinion of a minority that is afraid of their own shadow. The weapon I carry has never hurt anyone and hopefully never will. If the OP only knew how many carry concealed he would have a stroke.

    • God Given Rights? Show mw where God wrote that. I am a CCW Permit Holder and believe the answer is to have responsible laws to protect the public at large. North Carolina is a leading state in making this work. Intimidation by anyone cannot be tolerated. If it is Anarchy will happen. Sane and sensible actions by people showing their concern, displeasure, or approval of political opinion should be done in a civilized manner. Threatening people only fuels the fire for people to want to take your guns away. READ THE 2nd AMMEDMENT AGAIN. It does not grant the right to intimidate people. Shame on those hiding behind a well worded excuse for breaking the law. Standup appropriately for what you believe in or go home!

      • I guess you could call ANYONE who let’s it be known that they are armed in public an “Intimidator!” Where does that end? I live in NC where there is open carry. If someone freaks out because they see a gun, am I guilty of Terrorism?!? What does that depend on. The person being scared or a rational law? Are we going to to try to interpret “intent” now. Or is it simply just a freedom to be armed that we have? For defense of self and others?

  4. Don’t the police “go armed to the terror of the public” pretty much everywhere they go?

    • They sure do.

    • I disagree. Police go armed to the terror of the criminal, for self protection and the protection of others. They do not go armed to the terror of abiding citizens.

      • Typo: “law abiding citizens”.

  5. When you are one of a group of armed citizens protesting an injustice, you will not be attacked by “antifa” or similar groups of thugs, and even law enforcement accords respect.

    • The blue igloo group is not protesting an injustice. They were very clear about this.

  6. aren’t we able to protect our free speech by using the 2nd A. if there is no threatning manner of carry, there is
    no law broken. feelings of seeing a gun don’t count. just ask the venezuelan protestors who died marching. oh excuse me they’re dead, by armed policia.

  7. It can not be illegal to exercise more than one Constitutional Right at the same time. Any such law is utterly, insanely, absurdly UN-Constitutional.

  8. Just a couple of thoughts:
    1. Nowhere, in the text of the 2A, do I see the word “except.”
    2. The fact that SCOTUS fails to acknowledge this proves their rulings are politically based, with the emphasis on growing government power, not protecting the people’s rights.
    3. By their deeds, it’s abundantly clear politicians fear an armed public who might, at some point, say NO!

  9. So a typical lawyer response – answers a simple “Yes” or “No” question by using 1500 words to not answer the question. Yeah; thanks.

  10. SHALL NOT. If all your lawyering makes you incapable of literally interpreting 2 words, then your effeminate self ain’t worth the paper those degrees are printed on. The fact that any single “argument” made against has to mention it’s refutation at the end is proof that it exists solely to attempt to deprive rights. Axiomatic legal statements exist specifically to preempt such limp wristed moaning.

  11. Psalm 144.1 Praise be to the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.

  12. An out-of-control government should expect similar from the governed. It is obviously no longer “We the people.” It is lobbying by and for the greedy, and who can lie and cheat the best and get away with it.

    • Vote in November
      That’s our method of changing things.
      If the same representatives are returned to office term after term, then, uwe the people aren’t doing our due diligence.
      Term limits would solve a lot of the problems in Washinton.
      Revolting against our government would be a futile effort unless one could bring the armed forces in line.
      Just imagine tanks, automatic weapons, drones and the other tools of war controlled by the government. It would be mass slaughter
      My opinion.

  13. When you ask a liberal institution to interpret anything 2A the results are predictable.. I wonder.. theres been a whole lot of our higher institutions of learning found to be in the pocket of the Chinese.. what we find if we opened the books on this one?.. too cynical??.. too conspiratorial??.. maybe once upon a time but we live an in era of “Russian Collusion” and the second and third order effects of charging and convicting enemies of the state on works of fiction…

  14. Isaiah 2:4

  15. These peaceful demonstrations are clearly in contrast to the riots resulting from the man’s killing in Minnesota. There, destruction of public and private property occurred, as well as terrorizing others, even to the extent that the police force retreated. And yet those rioters are by and large allowed to destroy property and terrorize others without consequences.

  16. This assumes we have a functioning legal system headed by a competent and judicious Governor and Attorney General.

    We do not. I have not been able to file a felony complaint in many jurisdictions here. Civil rights violation and it victimizes victims – another civil rights violation. It has denied effective treatments to those who need them and cost millions of lives.

    What recourse do we have when our own judicial system condones criminals and When it condones suicides, genocide and irreversible human suffering? For what – judicious choice of prosecutors that made up that policy to defend their failure to adhere to their oath of office.

    Or is it judicial tyranny – addressed by the framers of our Constitution with the right to bear arms.

    I am neither a lawyer nor a scholar. I’m the one in the trenches fighting and watching millions of my brothers and sisters die and their families as well.

    Lawyers and scholars pontificate but do nothing about these monstrous abuses of our citizens. That is why people stand up to obey the oath they swore once upon a time to defend the Constitution from threats within and without. The judicial system is not. It is rotten from the top down filled with politics and influence. Just look at the DOJ. I used to do tax returns for judges. Line 26 always contained a number.

    I have stood up repeatedly and I am now crippled and scarred by injury and biochem warfare. Most of my comrades in arms have died premature deaths as have family members. Many millions died and many millions more suffering and abused by their own government.

    When do scientists stop killing mice and help the people? A question posed by a very prominent toxicologist. I ask the same now of those purporting to be lawyers, leaders and scholars. When does verbosity stop and Justice begin?

    The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind. In preventable deaths and preventable riots and looting in Minnesota because of it. Everyone who does not bear the burden of the yoke of Justice is responsible in their own way. I have done my duty and simply waiting out my time here doing what I can do. It is well past your collective turn.

    Interesting note. The space for my website will not accept .org as a URL.

  17. As a CCW permit holder I have to say that if we would all respect the rights of others and love one another and respect all life we would have few reasons to protest.
    It is that lack of respect for others that makes it necessary to provide for your self defense.

    • I agree with Gary. I am a Viet Nam vet. I am also a A CCW holder. I always carry concealed. It is never my intention to make others feel uncomfortable, it’s only my intention to protect myself and others. Never do I see in any argument by 2nd amendment folks the word compassion. Doesn’t surprise me, been practicing as a Buddhist for 50 years. We have become a people who only care about our rights when it pertains to our own narrow view. The right to carry a gun, is not a God given one, if it was God would have given you one at birth. Instead, you think it is your God given right to intimidate others with the gun you are carrying. Did the Prince of Peace give you that permission? I would suggest that those who openly display guns, at a demonstration are doing so to make up for their own insecurities. There was a picture in USA TODAY the past week, an 80+ woman, in a wheelchair holding a sign,” does that gun your holding make your dick look big, or does it make you look like a big DICK, something to think about.

  18. The word ‘infringe’, what a wonderful, simple, and clear word. 2A says no laws even on the fringes of gun control are legal. Why is that definition a problem with politicians and lawyers?

  19. Great information. I read through but didn’t see anything about being armed protecting a business that you don’t own. Can you get in trouble for shooting someone who has come to loot a store “supermarket” that is not yours?

  20. I am 72 y.o. I was 17 when I raised my hand for the first time. (I did it three more times as my career progressed.) “I swear that I will uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States ….”. I understand commitment to the rule of law. I prize the the rights – and obligations – that make me an American. Yes, every right comes with obligation. Every entitlement comes with responsibility. With that as preface, let me paraphrase the Apostle Paul, ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’

    Bottom Line: don’t be a jerk when you exercise your rights. You have a right to free speech, but I am under no obligation to listen to you. Your right to wave your arms around ends where my nose begins. And, please don’t embarrass us folk who exercise our rights quietly (concealed carry) by being a sphincter in the public square.

  21. First time I’ve read here. Your writing style/format was excellent, especially for a complicated, arguably dry lecture-type thing. Easy to understand, written so I stayed interested, chock full of info, and complete info at that, not just one side.

    Thank you!

  22. “Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the
    security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear
    Arms, shall not be infringed.[1]

    This clearly subordinates the individuals to the well-regulated militia. All gun owners must be members of the local militia. 𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒆𝒙𝒆𝒄𝒖𝒕𝒆𝒅, 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒆-𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒅, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒇𝒆𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚-𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅

    Any crew that flies colors should hook up with city services: Police, Fire, EMT, other City services (water, sewer, power, gas, internet).” [1]

    [1] Militia 1.0.1: Parish Militias – http://collegeofthesacrifice.org/parish-militia/

    • Why are my comments till waiting approval? Is there a problem do they violate any rules, here? Please let me know what’s up, brothers & sisters?

  23. I humbly submit to you that we form the Republic of North Carolina. And set matters straight.

    http://collegeofthesacrifice.org/republic-of-north-carolina/ #SCV

    𝑳𝒕. 𝑪𝒐𝒍. 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑾𝑰𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔, 𝑪𝒅𝒓 42𝒏𝒅 𝑽𝒊𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒂 𝑰𝒏𝒇𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒚 𝑹𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕

  24. I humbly submit to you that we form the Republic of North Carolina. And set matters straight.

    http://collegeofthesacrifice.org/republic-of-north-carolina/ #SCV #SonsOfConfederateVeterans

    𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒍 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑾𝑰𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔, 𝑪𝒅𝒓 42𝒏𝒅 𝑽𝒊𝒓𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒂 𝑽𝒐𝒍𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒆𝒓 𝑰𝒏𝒇𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒚 𝑹𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 [1]

    [1] “The field officers were Colonels Jesse S. Burks, Andrew J. Deyerle, John E. Penn, and R.W.Withers”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42nd_Virginia_Infantry

  25. I wonder if the two attorneys who are so threatened by a pipe wrench, are also threatened by the protestors who utilized motor vehicles? Large pipe wrenches may seem like great and effective weaponry in Hollywood but its hard to swing a large heavy object and are fairly useless in my opinion.

    Motor vehicles can certainly cross onto a sidewalk with ease and at a high rate of speed in a short amount of time, so I wonder if they support the restriction of those as well.

  26. “Thou shalt not kill.” God
    Maybe David, Joshua, Sampson, and many others in “The Book” never got the word?
    I noticed there was no admonition regarding blowing a perps kneecaps off!

    When receiving a scowl from a lady at the mall who glanced at my Firearms Cap and then the bulge on my hip under the shirt, I told her, “If a shooter broke bad in this store or out in the parking lot and she called 911, a police cruiser MIGHT arrive in 5 to 30 minutes. A 40cal., 180gr. hollow point arrives in a quarter second. Call me, I’m one of the good guys!

    You’re right Gary, too little love & respect in this world = a CCW permit, active shooter training and an AR for back-up!

  27. Further… I have to say that if you must resort to justifying your legal position in over two dozen paragraphs, all crafted to cleverly circumvent and or circumnavigate the underlying premise of “shall not be infringed”; I would submit that all cited “laws” stipulating that infringement is the right of the state (in “this case” or in “that case”) are likely “arbitrary and capricious”. In other words if the answer were a definitive “yes” then lay that case out in less than a paragraph. What we are seeing is how the system wears you down; you have a right to bear arms but by way of the time tested method known as “the death by a thousand cuts” the state slowly whittles away your rights granted by “natures God” and NOT THE STATE. When all is said and done you MAY be allowed to have a gun on your person within the confines of your own home… MAYBE… that is until they conjure more clever legal-speak that further reduces that right in another two dozen paragraphs of jibberish… 2A is plain.. “shall not be infringed”.. and as one person posted above there is no “except” in that amendment… that road leads straight to arbitrary and capricious.. No wonder everyone loathes politicians; most of them are lawyers whose whole raision de etre is to make the citizen a subject through the use of laws piled upon laws.

  28. If you are protesting to save the second amendment and leave your firearm at home then what’s the point? You might as well scrap the whole constitution. Snowflakes should read the amendment for what it signifies. I don’t even mind if they tell me to keep it unloaded but I will be sure to have ordinance if I need it since BLM carry weapons all the time and everyone is fine with that.

  29. Ok, that was clear as soup! Now I’m even more confused!

  30. Since when does the State, or local, authority, have the right to override the Constitution?

    • Read the NC Constitution Article I, Section 5. https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/Constitution

      [Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.

      Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and 𝙣𝙤 𝙡𝙖𝙬 𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙧 𝙨𝙪𝙗𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙤𝙛 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙗𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙚.]

      Exposition: no law or ordinance of the State, can be binding if it distorts the US Constitution. This would include federal law that the State understands as violating the US Constitution, therefore, State law can override Federal Law to remove contravention or subversion. This certainly applies to legalization of Marijuana and also the 2A. As I stated above, the 2A needs the understanding that a well-regulated militia is the primary focus, all individuals with arms needs be a militia member. and “shall not be infringed” applies to the well-regulated militia as much as the individual right to arms.

      Therefore: the 𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙝 𝙈𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖 – 𝙝𝙩𝙩𝙥://𝙘𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙚𝙤𝙛𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙖𝙘𝙧𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙚.𝙤𝙧𝙜/𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙝-𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖/

      K, rabbit

  31. 2A says no laws even on the fringes of gun control are legal. Why is that definition a problem with politicians and lawyers?

  32. antifa carries weapons and intimidation is their language of choice – it’s not even a protest, it’s about disturbing the peace. Basically, groups like these armed protestors are only showing up because of ANTIFA- if antifa didn’t exist or groups like it, there would be no need for a citizen militia to rise up. Those guys aren’t showing up to cause trouble with the law enforcement or pick on random citizens.

  33. Timely article Jonathan, thanks. Can you add an article on protecting yourself if confronted by rioting or looting protesters? Am wondering what your rights are if your vehicle is surrounded and they are trying to break in. What about if you are at home and they are threatening to break in or burn you out?

    • You have a right to defend yourself from threats if someone is threatening you with imminent bodily harm.
      However, you might also ask yourself what reason a group of people protesting racial injustice would have to commit a crime by breaking into or burning down a random person’s home.
      I’ve not been made aware of any such events taking place in N.C.

  34. What a great article.

    Many people have trouble with the concept that two legitimate interests (such as self defense and public safety, or free speech and public safety) sometimes compete against, or even conflict with, one another. When that happens, it is the goal of the law to balance the competing or conflicting interests — leaving enthusiasts on both sides less than fully satisfied — because neither legitimate interest may be permitted to annihilate the other.

    To those clamoring for a simple answer, here it is: The details of the future compromise are still TBD (To Be Determined). Hold your horses.

  35. OUTSTANDING ARTICLE !!

    It’s clear there are views from both sides in these comments, which makes our country great in my opinion. Both sides are able to voice their views and comment on how they believe the top two most important rights in our Constitution are handled.

    It is very difficult for most people to truly understand theses “rights” under the 1st and 2nd amendments should be protected for ALL VIEWS and OPINIONS. Yes, even those we don’t agree with. That is, of course, if only each view does not physically affect any other view.

    I realize that sounds very confusing, but as long as everyone entitled to our GREAT Constitution can voice their view, or protect and enjoy their view of these amendments, then we all have enjoyed them.

    I think you will agree, recently in some locations, those who do not agree with one side or the other, have physically imposed and enforced their opinion on the other. That action, is a clear and obvious attack on what we understand as our rights as listed in our Constitution.

    Granted the Constitution was created so “We the people”, are not oppressed by the Government, however in today’s new technological world, government does not always have the most and best power to oppress persons nearly as much as many privately owned large companies or the very wealthy people who own them, are clearly able to. These companies can impose their political beliefs or agenda on the many people who do not agree with them.

    My opinion on the issue of carrying guns on a public street, is not really important in my eyes in relation to my feeling on meanings of the first and second amendments and the “rights” we all enjoy. ..

    What is very important in my view is EVERYONE is entitled to enjoy these “Rights” as we call them, under the first and second amendment without either opinion or view being infringed. An old saying comes to mind, “What is good for the Goose, is good for the Gander”.

    Or maybe even “To each their own”.. Sorry, I digress.

    Interestingly, I read previous post where some have voiced how one person simply walking with an object on a public street, scares them and should not be permitted because of those fears by them and their children.

    I wonder if this person would understand “Equal rights” better if the object involved, the “guns” , was different, say for example: I am afraid of dogs, all dogs, big and small, loud and quite. But this person who had voiced they felt afraid of the guns really loves and enjoys all dogs and walks their large or very small dog down a public street.

    The dog is very friendly, loves kids, and is the most loving friendly dog ever, unless and only unless the owner is attacked or assaulted, then, and only then, the dog will kill the attacker and rip the attacker to shreds. No other reason will the dog attack and kill.

    Does this now mean I can say and demand ALL dogs from being walked anywhere in public, because I am so afraid of dogs and the walking of dogs on a public street, in my opinion must be outlawed? I feel it is unnecessary and ridicules

    I believe this is a simple example of how individual opinions and feelings, can dramatically affect another person’s “rights”, simply because of their feelings.

    I would like to believe those who are open to debate and discussion would agree my example, is pretty close if not the same, as the fear of guns being carried.

    BTW (I LOVE DOGS)!!