A few miles from the White House, anti-government protesters will be brandishing guns, rifles, and cartridges of ammunition.
Civil war? Nope. Just an anti-government militia protest in a national park, where activists will be able to legally carry multiple weapons in open sight.
The gun-backers' "Restore the Constitution" rally is set to be the first armed protest in a US national park, held at Fort Hunt and Gravelly Point, Virginia, locales run by the National Park Service. Their target? President Barack Obama and his agenda, health-care reform, climate control and bank bailouts.
It turns out, however, that it's President Obama who actually made their rally possible. In May 2009, he signed a measure allowing Americans to carry guns in national parks into law.
The National Rifle Association, in a press release at the time, wrote:
On Wednesday, NRA-backed legislation to restore the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in national parks and wildlife refuges passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 279-147. Today, the measure was signed into law and, as specified in the legislation, will take effect in nine months, on February 22, 2010. This was a major repudiation of the gun control community's anti self-defense agenda.
The current Department of Interior (DOI) regulations were amended by the Bush Administration in 2008, allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by carrying a concealed firearm in national parks and wildlife refuges. However, early this year, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. granted anti-gun plaintiffs a preliminary injunction against implementation of the new rule. NRA has been working for the past several years in the regulatory, legal, and legislative arenas to achieve this policy change.
"It has been an NRA priority to change the old, outdated rule, and we are pleased that Congress passed this critical legislation," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "This step brings clarity and uniformity for law-abiding gun owners visiting our national parks and wildlife refuges. NRA will continue to pursue every avenue to defend the American people's right of self-defense."
The National Park Service's recent report revealed that 11 murders, 35 rapes, 61 robberies and 261 aggravated assaults occurred on parklands in 2006. Our parks also contain hidden methamphetamine labs, marijuana fields and illegal drug and illegal alien smuggling routes. In addition to these dangers and potential attacks from human predators, park visitors have to consider attacks from animal predators. Between April and December 2007 there were at least a dozen grizzly bear attacks reported by park visitors. Today, 31 states allow the carrying of firearms in state parks--all with safe and satisfactory results.
The national park carry law took effect in February.
The rally, to be held today, comes on the fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings. But a spokesman says the date was chosen to honor the 1775 battles in Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War.
According to The Washington Post, which reported on the protest Monday, those in attendance at the rally will include: "Mike Vanderboegh, who advocated throwing bricks through the windows of Democrats who voted for the health-care bill; Tom Fernandez, who has established a nationwide call tree to mobilize an armed resistance to any government order to seize firearms; and former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, who refused to enforce the Brady law and then won a Supreme Court verdict that weakened its background-check provisions."
The Post noted that activists have "full support of the federal government they fear."
Approval for them to carry weapons is "carefully detailed in the 26-page event permit, complete with the gun regulations of both Virginia and the Interior Department and a commitment to provide fencing, barricades and bike racks for the event."
"We handle tens of thousands of demonstrations of a First Amendment nature annually," a spokesman for the U.S. Park Police told the reporter. "We are handling this event no differently than any of the others. We assess what their needs are to allow us to facilitate a safe and successful demonstration so they can exercise their rights to free speech and free assembly without interference."