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NAT’L – GUN RIGHTS – Why Experts Say The Police Don’t Need Militias’ Help (AUDIO)

Kenosha, Wis., was more peaceful last night, following three nights of sometimes violent anti-police protests, including the Tuesday night shooting of three people, two of whom were killed. A 17-year-old named Kyle Rittenhouse has been arrested in connection with those shootings. He appears to have been a part of a self-styled militia roaming the streets of Kenosha that night. His arrest has highlighted worries about the presence of armed civilians at Black Lives Matter protests. NPR law enforcement correspondent Martin Kaste has more. MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: When protests turned into rioting in Kenosha, local law enforcement was overwhelmed. But at a press conference yesterday, the sheriff, David Beth, says that did not mean he was looking for volunteers. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) DAVID BETH: I had a person call me and say, why don’t you deputize citizens who have guns to come out and patrol the city of Kenosha? And I’m like, oh, hell no. KASTE: He said the shootings on Tuesday night demonstrated why he doesn’t need civilians acting as his deputies. There is some video evidence that Kyle Rittenhouse may have been defending himself when he pulled the trigger, but the sheriff says the bigger problem is that the armed groups create confrontations. That’s certainly what Tavion Williams thinks. He was there on Tuesday night, watching as the armed men purposely walked through crowds of protesters. TAVION WILLIAMS: You know, to agitated person – they knew what they was doing. They knew the reaction they would get, and they got what they wanted. KASTE: He thinks the militia were there just to intimidate people. Nick Suplina agrees. He’s with Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, and he says this is part of a bigger culture shift. NICK SUPLINA: It’s not so much a particular change in law as a understanding in the country that, you know, if you want to be heard, you bring your AR-15 to the protest. And we think that the choice to bring an assault weapon to a protest is meant to chill First Amendment speech, not protect it or property or anything else.  [full article]

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