You may wonder if your first amendment rights can be exercised simultaneously as your second amendment rights. With the continuous growing tension between the protesters and the police, it can be a gray area. Read about what we think below!
First and Second Amendment Rights: Can They Co-Exist?
As protests continue throughout the country well into their fourth month, new types of stories are emerging. Stories in which both protesters and counter-protesters are ending up dead.
Gun sales in the U.S. have surged since March, and with racial tensions and distrust of police peaking, citizens are arming themselves in self-protection at an alarming rate. This presents several problems:
- Many first-time gun owners have not taken the time to familiarize themselves with their weapons and the proper safety protocols that would make them responsible gun owners.
- Sympathizers to “mostly peaceful” protesters have begun to view open carry at protests as intimidating and a threat to First Amendment rights.
- The use of ethical determinations to assess if both protesters and counter-protesters have a right to bear arms at public protests.
Legal Scholars Fear for Our Democracy
Some law professors, including Timothy Zick, a law professor at the College of William & Mary, feel that the right to bear arms and the right to free speech are “competing in the same space.”
Gregory Magarian, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says that this clash of rights is “starting to produce a real body count.”
Historically, our right to free speech depends on our right to bear arms.
Our First and Second Amendment rights work together to make America the land of the free.
The presence of weapons at protests assures protection for repressed voices.
But now, some worry that U.S. democracy will suffer if guns intimidate would-be protesters from voicing their opinion.
Both Sides Exercise Their Second Amendment Rights
This argument may hold water if only counter-protesters were arriving armed.
However, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other anti-racism and anti-police protesters are also arming themselves.
In Portland, Oregon, Michael Reinoehl, 48, a self-described member of the violent left-wing movement Antifa, was charged in the fatal Aug. 29 shooting of Aaron Danielson, 39, who was in a caravan of President Donald Trump’s supporters.
Earlier this summer, in Seattle’s CHAZ autonomous zone, multiple shootings and violent acts took place until police could enter and disband the Progressive group.
In Austin, anti-police brutality protester Garrett Foster was open-carrying a rifle before pointing it at a driver attempting to utilize the street that was overrun by protesters. He was shot and killed by the driver, who is claiming self-defense.
While legal scholars may want to paint a picture of frightened antiracism protesters being silenced by white supremacists, the facts show a different scene: one in which law-abiding citizens seeking to present a different opinion are acting in self-defense in lawless streets.
The Second Amendment is not the enemy of democracy; it is its savior.
Without it, the mainstream media will present and amplify only one narrative today.
The First Amendment and the Second Amendment are far from mutually exclusive.
In fact, the First Amendment fails to exist the day that the Second Amendment dies.
What are your thoughts about exercising the first and second amendment rights together? Is it possible? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section!