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NAT’L – GUN RIGHTS – Protesters in arms: Guns as plentiful at protests as the reasons people carry them.

John Subleski was standing near a row of storefronts on Baxter Avenue and holding his assault rifle across his chest while he watched 300 or so mostly white protesters march by. No one seemed to take notice of him. But it would be hard to miss Subleski, who is white, because he looked as if he were prepared for military battle. Along with the rifle, the 32-year-old corporate trainer wore a front-and-back vest with plates he said could stop armor-piercing bullets. It had been warm, so he’d left his usual ballistic helmet and night vision goggles at home, but his backpack and vest pockets were filled with items: a handgun, medical kits, zip ties, smoke grenades, a flare gun, flash bangs and a drone camera he keeps on hand for “hot” situations. You could plausibly assume a white man at a racial justice protest was there to protest the protesters. But Subleski said he was there to protect the marchers as part of a militia called United Pharaoh’s Guard. “We’re not protesters, per se — we’re more or less doing security for the movement itself to make sure they feel safe and have the ability to exercise their First Amendment right,” he told me later. “We ensure that and back it with our Second Amendment rights.” In the not-so-distant past, the presence of a man with an assault rifle and military gear on a busy city street may have seemed remarkable if not alarming. Not anymore. The protests over police brutality in Louisville and across the nation — and the protests of government-enforced coronavirus rules — have revealed a seemingly new nonchalance about the public display of firearms.  [full article]

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