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ACLU Shifts Position on Defending Armed Demonstrations After Charlottesville


ACLU Shifts Position on Defending Armed Demonstrations After Charlottesville

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will no longer defend groups that insist on marching with firearms, following violent gatherings of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.


These open-carry laws seem crazy. I am glad that I live in a state that doesn’t permit open-carry of weapons. Who really needs to be walking around town with a rifle? These laws seem to invite trouble. I often don’t agree with Glenn Greenwald but in this case I do. The ACLU should defend the right of free speech of people with all views.


Cops shoot to kill an 8 year old child with a toy pistol in a park in broad daylight - they are not held accountable!

Cops ignore heavily armed neo nazi racists dressed in full military gear in a city center in broad daylight - they are not held accountable.


As a long time member, I applaud this decision by the ACLU. Freedom of Speech should never include freedom to carry weapons into a public area. This should be no different than the prohibition against c crying fire in a crowd.


The notion that the open-carry of firearms is for intimidation is a misguided one. The firearms were on display to discourage gun violence from the communist “Antifa” and Black Lies Matter since these groups have shot and killed police officers in the very recent past.


What crime would the police charge them with? That’s right, nothing. You want someone arrested for nothing.


Carrying weapons Openly and visually has a negative effect on the freedom of speech as it intimidates others. I support the freedom of speech no matter were that leads me. I would support the freedom of the most evil and hateful ideologues to speak their mind. I support the ACLU’s historic support for all forms of speech. Once you start chipping away at the far fetched corners of freedom, everything in the middle will fall too.


I don’t think the nazis should be shot. The cops in this case were doing their jobs right, we should support that not criticize that. Lets try to get less people shot not more.


While I did say that carrying weapons is intimidating, its legal. In Virginia those who open carrying are fully within the law.


Where is evidence for “BLM” and so-called antifa “anti-fascists” killing cops? Just link the evidence…the reference to “Black Lies Matter” shows who you are…

Did you join 10 minutes ago just to post this right-wing garbage? I expect we will see more of your white “supremacy” shite here if you last…


People should have the right to protest removal of statues etc.


LONG OVERDUE! Now it is time for the president to step down as well!


Freedom of speech should also never include freedom to carry any kind of weapon into a demonstration, not firearms, not shields, not pepper spray, not two by fours, not even placards on sticks. Carry hand held banners and placards or use cardboard tubes. Thanks for that suggestion by 70s anti-Vietnam War protestors.


According to the article, Anthony D. Romero said: “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms’, well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else…”

Even though the group is neither accused nor suspected of committing a crime, Mr. Romero? Whatever happened to their constitutional guarantee of representation?


This raises an interesting question

Will the ACLU decline to defend the right to protest when armed antifa are present for protection?

Hopefully they can discern apples from oranges …


Hi Emphyrio,

A 2014 article, on the Transcend Media Service website, recounts Common Dreams, at that time, Uncovering and Removing a TROLL that had used DOZENS of Screen Names here, to further his Particular Nasty Agenda.

Looks like it could be time for another House Cleaning.


Ther seems to be a widespread misconception here that the antifa were generally armed with guns, and that they assaulted the fascists unprovoked. The reality is that only a few antifa had guns, and that all the unprovoked attacks were from the right. Cornell West himself believed he was saved for serious injury by the antifa anarchists.


As I said

Apples and oranges


Your question is ridiculous. The ACLU isn’t the only entity that could defend their rights for them, so their constitutional right to representation isn’t affected. Who denied them the right to legal representation? If they want it so they can spout their hate, they should do it on their own dime…let the haters raise the cash to pay for it themselves.

As far as I, as a long time resident of Charlottesville, am concerned though, this is too little too late. I stopped supporting the ACLU when they backed Citizens United & helped open the floodgates to dark money entering politics. By your logic, maybe you think I have an obligation to support the ACLU, even though i don’t agree with them?


According to August 15th article in The Guardian by Joanna Walters, “Militia leaders who descended on Charlottesville condemn ‘rightwing lunatics’,” your caption misidentifies these armed individuals as white supremacists. They are apparently an armed free speech and 2nd Amendment militia, very much opposed to the message (calling the Neo-Nazi protesters “rightwing lunatics”) but in support of the right to say it (an increasingly fine line to walk in this country, I know). This is why policing speech is problematic - because there will be activist groups policing the policing in reaction, some of them armed, and that creates a strong recipe for violent conflict.