A .45-caliber handgun was tucked in the waistband of Jasmine Kelley’s shorts Sunday night as she stood outside the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue. She purchased it for about $475 last week, and it hasn’t been fired yet.
As the protests against racial prejudice began three weeks ago, Kelley, 29, quickly decided her role would be to protect others. She started by calling other protesters to check on their safety. Then, they were given walkie-talkies so they could communicate faster. Then, other protesters started showing up with guns in an effort to protect others.
Now, as groups assemble around the Lee statue every day in what has become a campground-like environment, a loosely organized group of men and women with handguns and rifles patrol the area, intent on keeping visitors safe. They chose not to divulge how many armed participants they have, except to say there are “plenty.”
Now, I don’t have a problem with this, but I’m not the city’s anti-gun mayor or a member of its anti-gun city council. They clearly do have issues with citizens lawfully carrying firearms in parks and other public places, so what happens on July 1st when their gun ban takes effect? Will they start arresting the armed protesters at the Lee statue? Or will they decide that even though the law is now in effect, there’s no need to enforce it?
As Cam Edwards writes, much like Mayor Jenny Durkan ignoring the guns being brandished in Seattle’s CHAZ, “I suspect that [Mayor Levar Stoney (D)] will develop a sudden case of amnesia in the coming days and forget all about the city council’s actions last year.”