Dear Students: Did Armed Jerks Protest Your Walkout? Ban Their Open Carry

Hey Walkout students, I spotted these stories about armed jerks up showing up at your protests.
Pro-Gun Rally In Illinois To Counter School Walkout
Church Shooter Dylann Roof’s Sister Arrested for Bringing Weapons to School, Police Say
Romeoville High School changes walkout plans after Instagram threat

These stories got me thinking. How should students and their parents respond when they find out people show up at their  event armed with guns? I think they should get open carry of firearms banned in their community. Below I explain how to make it so.

Before the March 14 protest, my friend Eric Milgram, spokesperson for the Newtown Action Alliance, shared the story of the pro-gun rally in Romeoville by a woman named Savannah Denvir. A group called Overpasses America supported the protest.

   “There may be armed protestors at the pro-gun rally, according to Denvir, who doesn’t know if people plan on arriving armed. She said it’s their freedom to choose whether or not to carry a weapon.

Romeoville Deputy Police Chief Steve Lucchesi said police will be present at the school for both the student walkout and the 2nd Amendment rally. “We’re there to make sure everybody is safe,” he said.

I went looking for photos of this Illinois event. I couldn’t find any and the Patch reporter, Geoffrey Dempsey, wasn’t able to attend the rally. Romeoville, Romeoville where are the photos from Romeoville? (Sorry.) I did find this one from Barrington High School.

Barrington High School students walk out Wednesday as part of the national youth protest against gun violence in schools. – Brian Hill | Daily Herald Staff

If you are in Romeoville and went to the protest I’d love to see photos and video of the event, especially who showed up armed to protest you. Email spockosbrain @ gmail com. However,  I did find this photo and story from 10 days ago:

Romeoville Man Follows Ex To Work, Threatens Her With Gun: Cops 

Photo: Luis Ugalde/Will County Sheriff’s Office

The 27-year-old is accused of following his former girlfriend to her Bolingbrook workplace, pushing her and threatening her with a handgun.  Shannon Antinori, Patch National Staff 

These stories got me thinking. How should students and their parent respond when they find out people show up at their  event armed with guns?  Get open carry of firearms banned in their community.

Now, since I’m a logical Vulcan from the future, I can tell you that this possible and now is a great time to do it. The NRA is on the defensive. Local elected officials, sheriffs and police HATE armed protests. A group of motivated young people can make this happen.

I can explain the process, what to expect from the NRA, legislators and adults and how to make it so. If you are interested, keep reading.

Step one: Know Your Opponent 
If I was at the Romeoville student walkout and I saw these people with guns protesting, I would go over there with my phone and get video and audio of all of them. I would ask them questions and see if they identified themselves. I’ve dealt with people in the Open Carry movement before. Most likely they would be prepared and would video record of me right back.

They would eagerly point out, “We aren’t breaking any laws!” Sure, not now. But if you did a background search of these people what would it reveal? A history of domestic violence like Luis Ugalde’s?  “Ugalde has prior arrests for domestic battery and violating an order of protection.” What you couldn’t find, but the police could, is if they have a concealed carry permit. However, some like to brag about their permit and will tell you if they are packing. It’s good to know these things.

Learning about local people with guns protesting is just part of the story. Banning open carry in a community will bring out the NRA and their vocal supporters.  Like Gun Owners of America, who think this gem is hilarious.


Step two: Prepare for the pro-gun response, then use that response against them

Why fight this battle? Because people with guns who threatened school children get away with it if  someone doesn’t act. Banning open carry is a law that can be passed.  I’ve seen multiple cities ban open carry in California. It might be harder in other places, so learn about your state’s laws here (Giffords Law Center on Open Carry Laws)  The time is right because after the white supremacy armed protests, a lot of cities want to ban open carry. (Ban The Open Carry of Firearms by John Feinblatt)

Armed assholes (aka members of a militia) protesting at Charlottesville, Va. Credit Joshua Roberts/Reuters

I think this would be a good exercise in civics for students AND their parents. If they start this process they will learn just how unhinged, clever and motivated pro-gun groups are. Prepare for this, then use it to your advantage.

Intimidation is a major tool of pro-gun groups

The people involved with open carry and armed protest count on three things to protect them.

  • They know the law. They usually follow it exactly so they don’t get arrested
  • They know the media.  Coverage often focuses on the law, the technicalities of the First amendment, 2nd Amendment, state and local gun ordinances.  The media rarely discusses the blatant intimidation that an armed protest represents to the people in and around the protest. 
  • They are white.

When students and their parents start making progress, like getting a petition together to get a law on the ballot, the NRA and the Open Carry people will get engorged (I typed energized, but that is what auto correct came up, smart computer?) They will make calls, write letters and show up to testify against any bill.  Their lobbyists will remind the lawmakers on the committees what happens to them if they try to pass any kind of gun restriction. (This is how NRA lobbying works, see this great piece from Mike Spies,  I Spent a Year Reporting on NRA Lobbyist Marion Hammer. Read Her Emails With Florida Officials.)

Yes, there will be NRA money involved, financial pressure on elected officials is SOP for most lobbyists. But it’s not just about the money, gun lobbyists have a passionate, vocal, politically active group whose value system and self-identity is often tied to their ability to own, use and carry guns.  But things have changed. There is a vocal, politically-active group against the slaughter lobby.

Gun Bullies Local, National and International

If students and parents start working on blocking open carry, gun bullies will show up.  Some will claim victimhood “You aren’t letting us exercise our 2nd Amendment rights!” Others will talk about how they just want to protect you, and how sad you will be if they aren’t there when the ‘bad guys with guns” show up.

Some will engage in debate using classic bumper sticker NRA messaging. like this one

Others will offer up heroic shooting scenarios out of movie fantasies. These people might be fun to engage with online if you are into that. But I want people to be aware of the jerks that make threats, because there are new methods and IT tools to find them and deal with them.

Cybergun bullies like to do research and say, “We know where you live and go to school.”  They could be local, national or international. When police are trying to determine how serious to take threats they try to figure out where the person is located and how credible is the threat.  Although the police have additional investigative power that individuals don’t, they often don’t have time or resources to follow up. But there are other options.

Did you know?

  • There are special tools that can help track down these threats?
  • Some threats can lead to  civil lawsuits against the person making the threat? There are lawyers available to help with these cases pro bono?
  • Most employers have policies forbidding employees from threatening to kill people?
  • If the person is tried and convicted of a felony, they will be unable to own a gun or get a legal concealed carry licence?
    (Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by people who fall within certain categories, such as convicted felons. )

Adults will be shocked that someone would send death threats. For some, threats will be a reason to pull back in the work. For others it is an opportunity to push back on the intimidation tactics  and ensure that there are consequences for threatening speech.  I believe things are different Post Parkland.

Threatening Speech is Not Protected Speech

As my EFF lawyer reminded me, threatening speech is not protected speech. If people threaten you with words it could be illegal. If they use both words AND a gun that too can be illegal. One of the long-term strategies of the NRA-ILA is to make actions that reasonable people agree should be illegal, legal.  There are many reasons for this strategy, including the ability to buy the legislators who pass or block the laws.

One of the laws that the NRA-ILA didn’t block was section 1362 in the ” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” It is about the consequences to people making threats to kill or bodily injury others.  It makes doing this a felony in the second degree. This means someone who is convicted of sending death threats to a Parkland shooting survivor who is working on changing our gun laws, could lose their money, job, guns and freedom–which is not the same as their gun, even if they think it is.

Live long and prosper Romeoville students!

If Parents Want Armed Teachers Who’ll Stop Them?

Consider this: 68 groups of parents throughout Florida want armed teachers in their schools


What steps are these parents taking to get their own armed teachers? Who is helping them? How? Are there statewide roadblocks they will face? If not, is anyone creating them? Are there local roadblocks they face? Is anyone uncovering local problems and pointing them out to the state, the media, the school boards? Which organized groups are actively working to blocking them? How?

I have friends who can’t believe any group of people would be crazy enough to arm teachers.  Surely, they think, if we give the facts to people they will listen to reason. The majority of parents will block the idea. Even in gun-loving places  sensible people are in charge. They won’t let the program happen! Right? Right?

As you know I believe in the power of using logic. However, I also know of the logic of using power.

Remember: Just because you have the terrible facts about arming teachers, doesn’t mean people will listen to them.

Now consider this: Sheriffs throughout Florida want the 68 MILLION dollars in funds from the Department of Education to vet, train and arm teachers


. . . → Read More: If Parents Want Armed Teachers Who’ll Stop Them?

Florida Will Arm Teachers, Give Millions to Gun Makers & Allies, Won’t Ban Assault Weapons

Florida House passes gun restrictions, plan to arm certain teachers

Yes, Florida passed some minor gun restrictions, but follow the money and you’ll see the slaughter lobby and its allies will actually make millions on new guns in the schools programs and they didn’t have to pay for the damage their products do and policies cause. Programs that would actually cut into their revenue streams, like the assault weapon ban, were blocked.

New Florida Laws: Teachers Will Be Armed These type of Assault Weapons Still Not Banned in Florida.

The gun lobby and its allies have created “school safety” programs that generate revenue for the gun manufacturers and their partner service firms.  A story in USA Today shows where the money is going in this “comprehensive gun safety bill.”

How did the NRA-politicians get armed teachers and avoided an assault weapon ban? Money, pulled from taxpayers, used as leverage for other programs.  From James Call, Tallahassee Democrat Link 

…when leaders responded with nearly a half billion dollars for school hardening and mental health programs, lawmakers were forced to wrestle with the proposal’s accounting – money in exchange for guns in the classroom.  

The governor will sign this, crowing he’s . . . → Read More: Florida Will Arm Teachers, Give Millions to Gun Makers & Allies, Won’t Ban Assault Weapons

Florida Senators Won’t Ban AR-15’s. Now what Emma, Cameron and David? @Emma4Change @cameron_kasky @davidhogg111 #NeverAgain

Dear Emma, Cameron and David:

As I predicted the day before you went to Tallahassee, certain politicians pretended to listen to you, and then did what the NRA wanted.  On Saturday your Florida Senators voted 21-17 to defeat an  amendment to ban sales of AR-15s. Who didn’t pass it? This guy: Joe Negron, Senate President, (Hey didn’t you meet with Joe?  What did he say then vs. what he did now? ) 

Joe Negron, Florida Senate President, Republican @joenegronfl NRA Grade A+ 

Negron voting record and endorsements on guns And these people.

Baxley Bean Benacquisto Bradley Brandes Broxson Gainer Galvano Grimsley Hukill Hutson Lee Mayfield Passidomo Perry Simmons Simpson Stargel Steube Young

What is your next move? I won’t tell you what to do, because everyone is looking at YOU to do things differently this time than what was done by us veterans of the gun law fights.

One thing that you might want to do differently is not to accept this vote. There are things you can do in addition to voting these politicians out in November. Act now!

For example: You can employ additional pressure. David, remember when you asked students to not come to Florida for Spring Break . . . → Read More: Florida Senators Won’t Ban AR-15’s. Now what Emma, Cameron and David? @Emma4Change @cameron_kasky @davidhogg111 #NeverAgain

Revealed! The secret reason FedEx supports the slaught lobby 

So it turns out that the reason FedEx didn’t walk away from their discount for NRA members was the money they make from shipping guns. Surprise! From Thinkprogress.

EXCLUSIVE: FedEx’s secret deal with the NRA and the gun industry While publicly trying to distance itself from the NRA, FedEx has made a secret agreement with the association and other major players in the firearms industry.

Base NRA photo BY Justin Sullivan Getty Images

FedEx cut a deal with gun manufacturers on shipping guns in order to compete with UPS.

But FedEx’s decision to stand by the NRA probably has less to do with shipping NRA polo shirts than a much more profitable business: shipping guns.

In a stark contrast with FedEx’s recent attempts to distance itself from the gun lobby, the internal company document obtained by ThinkProgress outlines in great detail precisely how FedEx has secretly agreed to bend its own rules on gun shipments for powerful forces in the gun industry, including all major gun manufacturers and the NRA itself.

The document, labeled “Confidential information. Internal use only,” was provided to ThinkProgress by a FedEx employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to concern that disclosing the document . . . → Read More: Revealed! The secret reason FedEx supports the slaught lobby 

How To Cut Off The Slaughter Lobby’s Money Stream

UPDATED: Most companies have cut ties with the NRA.Yesterday: First National Bank Enterprise Alamo National

Today: Symantec LifeLock MetLife Chubb SimpliSafe Teladoc Hertz Allied Van Lines NorthAmerican Van Lines Avis Budget Wild Apricot

More details:

— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) February 24, 2018

UPDATED 2-24-2018 Today United and Delta have cut ties with the NRA. Parkland students ask spring breakers not to come to Florida unless gun legislation is passed.

As my friend Eric Milgram, spokesperson for the Newtown Action Alliance has said, make this an economic issue. Make the firearms industry pay the full costs of the damage their products do.

I’ve shown in the past with right-wing radio hosts that corporations don’t like to be associated with a toxic brand. But they often need a negative news event about the group or person to cut ties.

The Parkland shooting was another occasion for activists to ask corporations, “Do you still want to associate with the NRA brand?”  Today 16 of them said no.

My friend Amanda Gaily, president of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, put it this way.

“It’s time to withdraw support from the slaughter lobby.” 

It is possible to convince folks in any state . . . → Read More: How To Cut Off The Slaughter Lobby’s Money Stream

Dear Florida Gun Fighters González & Kasky: Prepare For The NRA Hammer!

Dear Emma and Cameron:

I’m so encouraged by your bravery and activism in the face of your tragedy.  Today I heard you and some of your classmates are meeting with Florida’s attorney general, House speaker, and Senate president in Tallahassee.

Emma González

Cameron Kasky at a rally on Saturday.

I have experience with politicians and professional spokespeople so I can tell you what to expect today, and then in the weeks and months to come. I think it will be enlightening for the general public to see how the Florida legislative system responds, so please share your experiences with politicians, the gun lobby and their supporters on social media.

One thing you will find about politicians–and the gun lobby that supports them–is that they are not stupid. They have short and long-term methods and strategies to prevent legislative change they don’t like, while at the same time getting the change they want.

Here are some of the state politicians you are meeting today:

Pam Bondi, Attorney General, Republican @AGPamBondi NRA Grade A

Richard Corcoran, House Speaker, Republican @richardcorcoran NRA grade A

Joe Negron, Senate President, Republican @joenegronfl NRA Grade A+






. . . → Read More: Dear Florida Gun Fighters González & Kasky: Prepare For The NRA Hammer!

Make the firearms industry pay

My friend Eric Milgram, from the Newtown Action Alliance, was on MSNBC today to talk about the Parkland school shooting.

The administration is trying to make this shooting about mental health. Eric brought the focus back to the gun lobby and the politicians who enable more guns everywhere. When asked about what to do next he said the usual: universal background checks and more funding for mental health, but he the took a turn that I encourage. Make the firearms industry pay.

This is a line of activism that needs to be developed.

Here is the whole segment. Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Email this!

Why The NRA Wins: Mass Shootings Trigger Pro-Gun Men To Fight Gun Control Harder

Twenty four hours after every mass shooting the media asks, “What can we do?”  Now they also ask, “Why has nothing been done to fix the problem yet?”

The coverage timeline will include calls to the NRA, who will decline to comment.  Experts will discuss legislative efforts for change that are widely supported by the public, such as universal background checks. The media will wonder why, with so much support, gun control legislation failed. The media might also point out that at the state level legislation has expanded the availability of  guns in more places.  This is what The Trace editors call the paradox of the gun debate.

“While widespread public support exists for many gun regulations and policies — including bump stocks— pro-gun advocates are significantly more active than their counterparts when it comes to engaging politicians and government agencies.”

For people who want to limit the proliferation of guns, the failure of legislation following mass shootings is discouraging.  But for the men who want more people with guns in more places, a mass shooting triggers renewed vigor to fight gun-control legislation and pass laws making it easier to bring guns into more places.

On The Majority Report today, producer Brendan Finn mentioned working on the Fusion program Breaking Bread, that brought gun control advocates together with gun rights supporters over a meal. I’ve pulled part of that episode out here and . . . → Read More: Why The NRA Wins: Mass Shootings Trigger Pro-Gun Men To Fight Gun Control Harder

Making A Bang with Gun Activism

Today’s quote about activism.

“It is ignored ‘til it makes a bang” – Zeynep Tufekci on protest movements.

I’ve determined that cities in states with super gun preemption laws may need to rewrite their insurance requirements for special events on city property. If they don’t, the cities will be on the hook financially for gun accidents on city property. Insurance vendors for municipalities need to review city policies to ensure the city is correctly insured.

City risk managers need to understand that it is their fiduciary duty to protect the city from expensive liability lawsuits on their property.

If the city decides to pass this burden to others, such as vendors holding events in their parks and convention centers, they need to inform the vendors, and the vendors’ insurance agents. If vendors find out that insurance costs go up 1000% they will look for other venues.

But all of this is just background noise ’til it makes a bang.

The stories about the financial impact of guns take a back seat to the physical impact of guns.

It’s hard to make news when you prevent an accident. Passive methods that prevent gun injuries aren’t newsy.

So what CAN make . . . → Read More: Making A Bang with Gun Activism