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Millhiser writes: "Nunchucks, swords, paintball guns, and 'lengths of lumber' may be banned, but real guns are not."

Dr. Cornel West locks arms with clergy in Charlottesville, Virginia. (photo: Jason Andrew/Getty)
Dr. Cornel West locks arms with clergy in Charlottesville, Virginia. (photo: Jason Andrew/Getty)

The Completely Bonkers Reason White Supremacists Are Allowed to Rally With Guns in Charlottesville

By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress

09 August 18

No, the Second Amendment does not protect them.

his weekend marks the one year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally, a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia that culminated in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer.

In anticipation of the possibility that racist groups will commit similarly violent acts this weekend, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and the city of Charlottesville itself have both declared states of emergency. Charlottesville officials in particular have “announced a security perimeter downtown that will include blocked streets, limited parking and pedestrian checkpoints,” beginning at 6 pm Friday. The city has also provided a long list of items that will be banned from this secure area, as they could potentially be used as weapons.

Interim City Manager Mike Murphy has prohibited the following items within the downtown security area: BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles or pistols, paintball guns, nunchucks, Tasers or other stun guns, heavy-gauge metal chains, lengths of lumber or wood, poles, bricks, rocks, metal beverage or food cans or containers, glass bottles, axes, axe handles, hatchets, ice picks, acidic or caustic materials, hazardous or flammable or combustible liquids, skateboards, swords, knives, daggers, razor blades or other sharp items, metal pipes, pepper or bear spray or Mace, aerosol sprays, catapults, wrist rockets, bats, sticks, clubs, drones, explosives, fireworks, open fire or open flames and any other item considered to be an “implement of riot.”

Yet, as Charlottesville’s Daily Progress reports, this list does not include one very notable weapon. Nunchucks, swords, paintball guns, and “lengths of lumber” may be banned, but real guns are not. “[Handguns] are not on that list,” Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney told the Daily Progress. “We have to honor your Second Amendment rights.”

Local police are, indeed, bound by the Second Amendment. But as it happens, there is no Second Amendment right permitting a violent white supremacist to bring a gun to the site of a deadly rally on that rally’s anniversary during a lawfully designated state of emergency. It is possible that Virginia state law restricts Charlottesville’s ability to keep guns away from the secured area, but that’s the fault of the state legislature — and it is also something the state legislature could have fixed. The Second Amendment does not say what Brackney claims that it says.

There is surprisingly little case law interpreting the Second Amendment. The Court held, for the very first time, that this amendment protects an individual right to bear arms in 2008. Yet Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, the 2008 decision, also makes clear that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” and it also states that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on…laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

The Supreme Court has not really fleshed out what constitutes a “sensitive place,” but the two examples Scalia gave — schools and government buildings — suggest that the Court is aware that some areas present heightened safety concerns or call for additional security. And if it is lawful for a state to apply such security measures, on a permanent basis in every public school or government building in the state, it’s hardly a stretch to say that Charlottesville may temporarily ban guns from the site of a deadly rally on a day when participants in that rally are expected to return to the scene of the crime.

Though the Supreme Court hasn’t said much about the Second Amendment since Heller, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which oversees Virginia, did put some meat on Heller‘s bones in United States v. Masciandaro, which upheld the federal ban on loaded firearms in a public park.

Among other things, Masciandaro explained that the Second Amendment is strongest when it is invoked to support “self-defense of a law-abiding citizen in his home.” Outside the home — such as on the streets of Charlottesville — the Second Amendment is weaker, and gun restrictions will be upheld if they are “reasonably adapted to a substantial governmental interest.”

Note as well that the Second Amendment is strongest when someone wants to carry a gun for “self-defense” reasons. The premise of cases like Heller is very similar to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre claim that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” — that is, the Second Amendment exists, at least according to Heller, so that people who are threatened by a “bad guy with a gun” can fall back on their own weapon.

But this rationale is weak when one considers a situation in which the government has set up police checkpoints, created a secure area, and filled it with law enforcement officers. With such a substantial police presence, there is far less need for ordinary citizens to rely on their own gun if a vigilante somehow sneaks a firearm into the secure area.

So the thrust of the Second Amendment is at its lowest ebb during the unusual circumstances that will exist in Charlottesville this weekend. The site of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally is almost certainly a “sensitive place” as Heller understood that term. That site is also a public space, and the need for individual self-defense is obviated by a substantial police presence.

There is no good reason why Charlottesville shouldn’t be able to ban guns from this site during this particular weekend. your social media marketing partner


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+22 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-09 15:42
How silly. If they can ban stick, clubs, numchucks and the rest, they can ban guns. No one should bring a gun or any weapon to a public demonstration. Such demonstrations are inherently speech. People are tying to express their beliefs. Guns don't add anything to that. In fact, they undermine the message.

This just pandering by the city administration. They are afraid of the gun culture in Virginia, the home of the headquarters of the NRA.

It is important to be clear that the violence last year did not involve guns, though there were plenty of guns in evidence. But no one shot anyone. The main injuries and the one death was from a car.

Still, people need to learn to speak without guns. The US government ALWAYS uses guns, bombs, or killing sanctions to send a message to others. This pathology must not be replicated by people.
-5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-09 19:03
The video attached here is really quite ironic. It omits to say that the US has funded and promoted the neo-nazi groups all over Europe -- Croatia, Ukraine, Bosnia, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Czech Rep., UK, and others. These are the vanguard of the expansion of NATO eastward to the Russian border.

Hitler's main agenda was to wipe out communism and the USSR. In that effort, he was supported by the US. The US never bombed supply convoys heading to the eastern front. And the US is still fighting its war against Russia.

The parallel movements in the US are half domestic old-line KKK and white supremacists and half blowback from CIA programs to support nazis in Europe. Just take a look at many videos from Ukraine and you can see the same images and same demonstrations. The US has tens of billions of dollars in the last 3 decades to prop up these groups -- by both democrats and republicans.

Nazi lovers in the US government would like to keep it all overseas but that just never happens. They are, in effect, pumping up the domestic nazi movement as they empower white supremacists in Europe. Obama did more than any president to promote nazism in Europe -- or at least his CIA did, John Brennan. It is always hard to know just what Obama knew and when he knew it.
+2 # jsluka 2018-08-10 01:39
The US materially supported the Soviet Union - which was certainly viewed at that time as an allied nation - during WW2, via the Lend-Lease program. Apparently, RR is unaware of this fact.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 12:31
js -- correct, the US supported the USSR during WW II. That's why FDR met personally with Stalin at Yalta, Crimea, and representatives from the US and USSR met several times. They were allies against the Nazis. But this alliance was just temporary and instrumental. Right after the end of WW II, the US and UK declared the Cold War against the USSR.

If you have read any studies about the OSS, you would see that these people were clearly on the side of the Nazis against the USSR. In some letters, they (Frank Wisner, esp) lament the end of the war because the fight against Russia will also end. The main reason, these OSS and later CIA people brought Nazis back to the US (Operation Paperclip) was to continue the Nazi war against the USSR. Reinhart Gehlin was Hitler's top assistant in charge of the Russian front. He was recruited by OSS officers in about 1943 and OSS cooperated in his efforts against the USSR. Following WW II, Gehlen came to the US to work with the CIA in setting up its strategy for Cold War against Russia. Then he was returned to Germany to head the CIA anti-USSR campaigns in Eastern Europe under the cover of the West German Intelligence.

I was actually referring to today and the expansion of NATO eastward. This has been accomplished by means of resurrecting Nazi groups in former Warsaw Pact nations.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-11 06:08
js -- this is the kind of thing I was talking about -- US moliblizing Nazis in eastern Europe against Russia. This is a very good and clear statement.

"This Is the Real, Americanized, Nazi-Dominated Ukraine"
By Eric Zuesse

"Such important reality as is shown in this picture is virtually unpublishable in mainstream US ‘news’media, because US ‘news’media need to deceive their public about the most important international realities — such as that the US imposed upon Ukraine a nazi regime against Russia, and the US now lies to accuse Russia for doing what Russia must do in order to protect itself from the US nazi regime next-door.

This picture is among many which were originally published in the excellent 4 July 2018 article by Asa Winstanley at The Electronic Intifada. His article was headlined “Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine”

Nazism has always been used by the US and UK and now Israel as a weapon against Russia and communism.
+1 # SusanT136 2018-08-10 06:41
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:

Hitler's main agenda was to wipe out communism and the USSR

This statement is profoundly ridiculous.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 12:16
Why do you say that. What do you know? Do you know much about this era?
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 20:09
Susan -- Following the 1917 communist revolution in Russia, everyone in the world expected that the defeated Germany would be the next nation to have a communist revolution. Some Russians went to Germany to help organize the revolution. Germany was in great disarray after the humiliating defeat in WW I. The German monarchy was banned forever, so a new form of government would have to be created.

This is what gave the immediate rise to the Nazi party. They began to murder German communists. By the time Hitler was made Chancellor, all communists in Germany were either dead or out of the country. Probably the greatest novel in the 20th century details this experience. It is Peter Weiss' Aesthetics of Resistance. It is about a group of communists in Berlin in the early 20th and their experiences with the rise of Nazism. Peter Weiss was one of them. He fled to Sweden and survived, Most were killed.

The UK helped to push Hitler eastward toward Russia. Nazis wanted colonial expansion. The UK would only accept expansion (lebansraum) eastward to include Russia. The UK (esp. Churchill) was also committed to wiping the USSR and communism. The deal made by Chamberlin was, in effect, the UK's agreement that Germany could invade east without opposition.
+9 # BetaTheta 2018-08-09 21:27
The stealth crime of the last few decades has been the NRA's recasting of the Second Amendment in its own image. It has largely succeeded in nullifying the critical first phrase of the amendment and has upended two centuries of common-sense precedent in interpreting it.

And all this in service to the commercial interests of a single industry.

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