In many states around the country, white supremacists can show up to hate rallies armed with assault rifles -- and it's perfectly legal.
Politico reports that both neo-Nazis and left-wing Antifa activists have been taking advantage of open carry laws to walk around in public while heavily armed. In many cases, these laws let people "display virtually any gun in public that they want, often with no permit, training or background check required."
Law enforcement officials interviewed by Politico said the presence of armed extremists in the streets is a ticking time bomb that will likely lead to open street warfare in the near future.
"Why would you let someone bring an AR-15 to a hate rally?" former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano told the publication. "It’s absolute insanity."
"The next incident is right around the corner," Captain Michael Rinaldi, counterterrorism chief for the New Jersey State Police, told Politico. "Someone will run someone over, or someone will get shot and there will be a melee and it will gain momentum. There is definitely concern for what you saw in Charlottesville, that you’ll get a group and then counterprotesters and then you’ll have casualties."
And David Chipman, a 25-year federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told Politico that having angry white supremacists bringing guns with them to racist rallies is a powder keg that's set to explode.
“You are dealing with a charged situation where hostilities are high,” he said. “It just takes one of these people to do one thing and all hell breaks loose.”