A former member of the militia group Oath Keepers is organizing an open-carry march for black gun owners, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Sam Andrews, a white gun shop owner, told the paper he wanted to hold the rally in Ferguson after being told by African-Americans the Second Amendment doesn’t extend to them equally because they felt they’d be shot for openly carrying guns.
“We intend to show that this right is not just for white people,” Andrews told the Post-Dispatch.
The group, which he said will be racially integrated, will listen to speeches then march about three blocks to Ferguson police headquarters.
Andrews originally made the vow to hold the protest after speaking with protesters during civil unrest in Ferguson, following the police shooting death of unarmed black teen Mike Brown. Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson and the failure of prosecutors to charge the cop sparked weeks of protesting and violence, marked by a heavily militarized police response.
The Oath Keepers made their presence known during protests memorializing the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death this year.
“Every person we talked to said if they carried they’d be shot by police,” Andrews had said at the time. “That’s the reason we’re going to hold this event, and it will be a legal demonstration. I’m sick and tired of law enforcement who doesn’t think they have to abide by the law.”
Missouri law allows, anyone with a valid permit can carry a gun, either openly or concealed, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
“If you’re a black person, or a Hispanic person, or an Asian person, you absolutely have the same exact rights to open carry your firearm as any white person does,” Andrews told the radio station. “It’s important that the minority children of America see black adults carrying firearms and doing it a very safe and very professional way. If the government can intimidate you into never exercising your rights, they have in a de facto way take your rights away from you.”
Andrews told the radio station he expects about 80 to 100 people to attend the rally at 11 a.m. on Monday. He applied for a permit with the city, which the Post-Dispatch reports is under review. Andrews vowed to sue if his request was denied and says the event will move forward, with or without a permit.