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ID – GUN RIGHTS – Americans divided over armed civilians who flock to protests

The scenes have become commonplace in 2020: People gathered at state capitols with semiautomatic long guns strapped across their chests. A couple near St. Louis emerging from their mansion brandishing firearms as Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched by the house. Men roaming the streets with rifles during protests over racial inequality, punctuated by two people being killed in Wisconsin and another in Oregon during the weekend. The coronavirus pandemic, protests against racism and police killings, a rancorous election and some people’s perception that cities are being overrun by violent mobs have brought about a markedly more aggressive stance by some gun owners and widened the divide over firearms in the U.S. Americans are turning out more often and more visibly with guns, a sign of the tension engulfing the country. Last week’s arrest of a 17-year-old accused of killing two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with a semiautomatic rifle is just the latest flashpoint. During the weekend, supporters of President Donald Trump streamed into Portland, Oregon, resulting in a clash with protesters that ended with a supporter of a right-wing group fatally shot. The white teenager and other gun-toting protesters have been denounced as radical vigilantes who benefit from a double standard – that if they were Black gun owners brandishing their firearms, the police would use deadly force against them.  [full article]

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