A new petition, signed by over 8,000 people and just sent to Charlottesville's City Council, asks Charlottesville to keep weapons out of rallies. The petition, found at https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/cville , reads:
"Make clear that in permits for any rallies in public spaces in Charlottesville, guns, knives, and sticks shall not be allowed."
Activists, including nonviolent peace activists, are often forbidden to carry posters on sticks, having to use hollow carboard tubes, at events around the United States. Yet in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 a group threatening violence and having engaged in it the night before was allowed to assemble in a public space with guns, sticks, and other weaponry. The results were brutal.
There is no reason that Charlottesville cannot, under existing laws, do what many other localities do and set the terms of public rallies to forbid the possession of weapons. Here's an expert legal opinion that forbidding weapons is legal.
Here is a report on Richmond, Virginia, forbidding weapons at a rally.
There is nothing to be gained by trying to ban rallies of particular political viewpoints, or by trying to ban all public rallies. Either would be in stark violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
There is no need for new laws.
Charlottesville can and must commit to forbidding weapons from rallies.
In addition, over 10,000 people have now signed a second petition in favor of creating a peace memorial in Charlottesville.
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