An Update on the Planned 2nd Amendment Support Demonstration in Pittsburgh


Last night Anne Laurie posted about an announced rally of 2nd Amendment enthusiasts who had planned to have an open carry demonstration at/adjacent to Donald Trump’s rally in Pittsburgh today. In the comments I posted the following reiteration and clarification:

I think it is important to reiterate (or, perhaps, clarify) that the open carriers are not demonstrating to get open carried made legal in Pennsylvania. Rather, per what Al Giordano tweeted, they are demonstrating while open carrying to demonstrate their commitment to the 2nd Amendment. They’re not trying to get the law changed, as was the case for the past several years in Texas. They’re basically just showing up armed to show up armed. And to make sure everyone knows they’re showing up armed to show up armed. Basically its an exercise of and in narcissism.

The Pittsburgh City Paper has reported (h/t: LAO) out that things are a bit more detailed than yesterday’s reporting implied.

Yesterday, an open-carry support group posted a message on Reddit saying they would be armed and patrolling outside Trump’s Oakland appearance. The goal was to inhibit potential protesters. Trump is holding a town hall meeting with Fox News’ Sean Hannity  inside the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall at 5:30 p.m. A screenshot sent to City Paper yesterday afternoon details plans for a group of 50 people to patrol in loops armed with guns around Oakland blocks to stop potential protesters from starting roadblocks. The screenshot has since circulated on social media but appears to have been removed from Reddit.

The link to the Pittsburg sub-reddit is here (h/t: RawStory). You can see the responses to the original post even though it has been deleted. The Pittsburgh City Paper story I linked to above has this screen grab of the original and now deleted sub-reddit post.


While it is unclear if this is the 2nd Amendment supporters demonstration that was reported about yesterday just with more details, or if this is something different and in addition to it, this is a very different dynamic than what Pittsburgh thought it was dealing with yesterday. Open carry is permitted in Pennsylvania except in Cities of the First Order. The only Pennsylvania city that is a City of the First Order is Philadelphia. Here is the link to Title 18 of the Statutes of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Code. Title 18 lists the criminal offenses. Chapter 61 includes within it the carry statutes for firearms and delineates crimes relating to firearms in Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh authorities are now facing not a lawful demonstration of open carriers in support of the 2nd Amendment. Should this Pittsburg sub-reddit organized activity take place they are potentially facing vigilantism. Such an action, should it occur, has the potential to get out of control and do so in dangerous and unpredictable ways. The discussion at the sub-reddit includes the argument that open carrying Pennsylvanians trying to engage other, and presumably anti-Trump, protestors would, if anything goes wrong, be covered under Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine. Chapter 5 of Title 18 of the Statutes of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Code provides the legal definition and explanation for the use of force in self defense – including the revised Castle Doctrine. Here’s a two part discussion by a Pennsylvania attorney on the pros and cons of the changes to Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine that became law in 2011.

* July 28 Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix.

68 replies
  1. 1
    gex says:

    The goal was to inhibit potential protesters.

    So the First Amendment is now rendered inoperable by the Second Amendment. Good job, NRA.

  2. 2
    A Ghost To Most says:


    So the First Amendment is now rendered inoperable by the Second Amendment. Good job, NRA.

    feature, not bug.

  3. 3
    Feathers says:

    My best wish is that the police pull a Bundy. Let the protest happen, focusing on keeping people calm. Then use the surveillance footage to arrest everyone brandishing weapons at their convenience in a week or so.

  4. 4
    Citizen_X says:

    Since they’ve got their own Freikorps, can we call them a fascist movement now?

  5. 5
    Citizen_X says:

    2nd Amendment Support Demonstration

    Pace gex, Imma go with 1st Amendment Suppression Demonstration, myself.

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    It looks like Gex’s comment vanished into the ether, but I second (or third) this. An armed society is only a “polite” society because people are afraid to speak up. And claiming that you’re using your 2nd Amendment rights to suppress someone else’s 1st Amendment rights is more usually called terrorism.

  7. 7
    Joel says:

    I just walked by. Not a gun in sight.

  8. 8
    low-tech cyclist says:


    An armed society is only a “polite” society because people are afraid to speak up. And claiming that you’re using your 2nd Amendment rights to suppress someone else’s 1st Amendment rights is more usually called terrorism.

    Seconded. This open-carry fetishization is all about intimidation.

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    The goal was to inhibit potential protesters.

    i’m so old i remember when “conservatives” thought the problem with political correctness was that it had a “chilling effect” on free speech.

    some chills are better than others.

  10. 10
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Citizen_X: Truly.

    GOTea Decision 2016: Trumpets, Packing to Prevent Protestors, or Cruz’ Bureau for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice breaking in to seize your illegal dildos

  11. 11
    Gravenstone says:

    I’d love nothing better than to have a couple of CS dischargers to drop in front of these gun fondling cretins. Have fun intimidating everyone when you’re curled up in the fetal position because you can’t see and can barely breath.

  12. 12
    J R in WV says:


    That’s good.

    Those guys are usually more talk and bluster than actual terrorism.

    Or maybe someone got on the phone, told them that appearing at a demonstration fully armed would be regarded as terrorism, and they would be spending a long time in the slam, even if it was just awaiting trial sometime in late 2017.

  13. 13
    gratuitous says:

    Whether these cowards actually show up or not, the fact remains that they’re talking about using arms to intimidate or silence speech they don’t like. What if this happened in conjunction with the appearance of a Democratic candidate? I think we can all imagine the pointed, repeated questions that would be aimed at Clinton or Sanders.

    The question, then, is why won’t the popular media demand some answers from Trump?

  14. 14
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Joel: Well, good, because otherwise – holy shitsnacks.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gex: @A Ghost To Most: So the oft stated 2nd protects the 1st is not really operable.

  16. 16
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Not unless both sides are packing; but in that case the body count tends to get a bit high.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @boatboy_srq: Correct.

  18. 18
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That *is* the issue, isn’t it? I’d hate to have a Real Live Case where something came to grief badly enough to make a lawsuit out of it, but now I can’t help wondering what would happen if a case based on that principle came to the SC.

  19. 19
    LAO says:

    Looks to me (based on twitter, a truly reliable source of news gathering) that the open carry ammosexuals have decided to pass on providing security for Mr. Trump. I am both disappointed and relieved. Mostly relieved.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: The problems are, as I’ve written about here several times, that there are now two competing Constitutional views of the 2nd Amendment, its history, its historiography, its plain meaning and intent, and how it should be applied. The one that understood it as only enumerating an explicit right to keep and bear arms in relation to militia service, but recognizing an implicit individual right to keep and bear arms outside of such service prevailed through the Heller decision. It had formed the basis for every Supreme Court ruling on the issue for over 200 years. The Heller decision embraced/adopted the counter position that there is an explicitly enumerated individual right to keep and bear arms separate from militia service. Where the former and current Supreme Court opinions overlap is that Associate Justice Scalia in the Heller decision reiterated that the 2nd Amendment allows for reasonable regulation. And this is where a third understanding comes in. The 2nd Amendment maximalists argue that there should be and cannot be any regulations, reasonable or otherwise, because the plain language of the amendment says “shall not be infringed”. And any regulation, reasonable or otherwise, is an infringement.

    In practice, even had Associate Justice Scalia not passed away, the Supreme Court is very wary to take on a new 2nd Amendment case as neither side trusts each other and neither side trusts Associate Justice Kennedy.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Links please!

  22. 22
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I figured that that was the problem (why yes, I have been arguing with my Libertarian friends and neighbors lately on this very issue), but I also figured that SCOTUS is going to have to revisit the issue eventually – later rather than sooner, I would imagine, for the reasons you outline above. I just wondered – not to get too morbid about it – if a case where someone actually got shot at a protest by some open-carry nut would force the issue into the “sooner” category.

  23. 23
    The Golux says:


    So the First Amendment is now rendered inoperable by now trumps the Second Amendment.

    A yuuuge improvement, if I may be immodest.

  24. 24
    Captain Goto says:

    According to a friend who teaches there, a bunch of the Trump types set up shop in front of the Pittsburgh performing arts high school early this afternoon. They broke up around 3, when their “permit” expired–how they were approved for such a thing, I’m trying to figure out. One commenter on FB claimed that there were taunts directed at students.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: I think that where the issue lies is the reasonable regulation component. Associate Justice Thomas has asserted that lower courts are ignoring the Heller ruling because they keep upholding the regulations (municipal and state) as reasonable. This was the case several months ago with an Illinois municipality that restricted AR pattern rifles. The lower courts, state and Federal, have basically been hanging their decisions on “Heller allows for reasonable regulation” and the appropriate local officials “feel these are reasonable regulations, so who are we to judge” (other than being judges…). Associate Justice Thomas is correct, but the solution is one of three things: 1) status quo: the Supreme Court doesn’t address the issue and leaves reasonable regulation undefined, 2) the Supreme Court takes one of these cases and defines reasonable regulation, or 3) the Supreme Court takes one of these cases and strikes down the ability to reasonably regulate. I could see Associate Justice Thomas support the third one and maybe Associate Justice Alito, but I don’t see Chief Justice Roberts or Associate Justice Kennedy supporting the third option.

  27. 27
    oz29 says:

    I guess I missed a Wingrish lesson. What does “we will be carrying +1 people” mean?

  28. 28
    Citizen_X says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That third understanding is expressed by many as “The 2nd Amendment means you have a right to own guns so you can overthrow the government!” Which isn’t supported by the law, American history, reason, or the history of all civilization, but a lot of idiots believe it.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: danke!

  30. 30
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: What happened to the lilac? I like the color. What’s going on?

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Citizen_X: No argument here. I find the 2nd Amendment maximalist position interesting, but ahistorical. And also a great example of the ability to radically move public opinion and understanding of an issue in under 50 years.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Nattering nabobs of negativity in the late night threads last night about the colors.

  33. 33
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: bummer.

    o/t — did you see that the Oregon Judge backed down on Shawna Cox’s bail conditions re: her right to talk about the case. I’m annoyed, even though I believed that the judge was wrong in the first instance. full story at (I of course downloaded the order, which I can DM you — because as you know I have problems.)

  34. 34
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So my scenario would involve a willingness on the part of the Court to visit Option #2 in your scenario? And that’s the one that’s least likely given the current make-up of the Court?

    ETA: So, no more Imperial Aubergine? Pity, I was just getting used to it…

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oz29: Its a shorthand for seat fully loaded magazine in the gun, chamber a round, drop the magazine, top the magazine off with an additional round, reseat the magazine. So its a full magazine, plus one in the chamber (also referred to as one in the pipe). So if you have a GLOCK 19, which has a standard 15 round mag, you would be carrying 15+1: 15 rounds of 9mm (parabellum) in the magazine and one round of 9mm in the chamber. By doing this the weapon doesn’t have to be charged, it is ready to fire once any/all manual/external safeties have been disengaged (these include an active flip up/down safety, a passive grip safety, and/or a passive trigger safety).

    This is in contrast to carrying with a full magazine, but without a round chambered. Carrying in this manner means that before one can deploy the weapon, one must chamber a round. Or with the variants of Israeli carry: no magazine in the gun and no round chambered. This requires two additional actions prior to being able to bring your weapon to bear: seating the loaded magazine and chambering a round/charging the weapon.

    If you want to start a fight on a firearms website, and you’re bored of whether GLOCK is or is not perfection arguments or caliber wars (can a .45 acp actually kill the soul, not just the body? But, but, but technological advances mean my .380 is now a real caliber… [don’t ask, but these discussions really happen]), then bring up how one should carry if one is carrying (regardless of concealed or open). It gets heated real fast in the comments.

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Hadn’t seen that. I did see that the Grant County Prosecutor has basically called the Grant County Sheriff a liar and indicated he’s not supporting his tort claim against the John Day Dispatch folks putting him in harms way by not giving him operational info on the way to the roadblock. Also, the Prosecutor has now clarified the picture of the Grant County Sheriff racking his shotgun: he pulled it out and chambered a round when they were approached by reporters with a camera mounted on a tripod. The Prosecutor indicated that was the only time he felt unsafe upon and after arriving at the roadblock. Sheriff Palmer is in a lot of trouble and won’t stop digging.

  37. 37
    oz29 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks. I figured it out when I realized there was a missing comma. I suppose “carrying +1” is one of the necessary pre-conditions to peaceable assembly.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: Yep. I don’t think anyone trusts Associate Justice Kennedy not to be all over the map.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oz29: The argument is that if you’re carrying for self defense, then when you deploy the weapon it has to be ready to fire. Because there won’t be time to charge it or doing so gives your attacker an additional advantage because your visible deterrent is now visibly not ready to deter. The folks that Israeli carry all argue that they train that way and it wouldn’t be a problem for them. I am merely the messenger.

  40. 40
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Saw that. Love it. There must be some serious bad blood between the two of them. Or the DA is confident the sheriff will be removed from office.

  41. 41
    oz29 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I always forget that these people imagine they live every minute of their terrified life in a gigantic shoot house.

  42. 42
    Miss Bianca says:

    @LAO: I actually hope he is. And I also hope that that message sends a chill out to the other fuckwitted Constitooshinul Shurriffs out there. But I kinda doubt it. : (

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oz29: Its a different understanding of reality.

  44. 44
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think “it’s a different understanding of reality” is going to be my go-to phrase from now on for a *lot* of things.

  45. 45
    elmo says:

    Ah great. The back button quit working again.

  46. 46
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: Glad I could help!

  47. 47
    Gravenstone says:

    @oz29: Full magazine plus a round in the chamber (+1). In other words, the only thing standing between them and an “accidental” discharge is the safety on their weapon.

  48. 48
    Miss Bianca says:

    @efgoldman: I was thinking specifically of the argument floated above, “the 1st Amendment being rendered inoperable by the 2nd”. But you’re right – it probably couldn’t make a case.

  49. 49
    oz29 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It certainly is. When I was growing up, my dad was a firearms instructor for the Department of Correction, and served as an instructor for rural PDs and Sheriff’s offices. At that time (late ’80s) most of the state was transitioning to semi-autos. One of the primary rules taught at the time was to never “top off.” These fools act like they’ve never heard of an unintentional/negligent discharge.

    Tactical instruction for peace officers and correctional officers was definitely very different than what you see on the gun nut tv shows today.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oz29: I believe the standard reply is: 1) No and follow the 4 rules and 2) keep your finger off the trigger until you are sure of your target and ready to fire. Reply no 2 is three of the four rules…

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That’s pretty hysterical, in every sense of that very old word. I sat on a jury trial where the victim was killed with a .380 pistol – it was the defendant’s wife’s purse pistol, she dropped him off at a friend’s home, said, “Oh, you better have this!” and gave it to him.

    We found the defendant not guilty after a 2 week trial and maybe 4 hours of deliberation. So a .380 is a real weapon, at a range of about 8 feet.

    I have carried a .40 in the past, have now acquired a Kimber .45 which I like a lot, but am not carrying yet. Kill your soul? Don’t think so… that’s so weird! But a pistol designed in 1911 that is still as popular as they are, that’s saying something. I don’t much like Glocks, if you chamber a round, there’s almost nothing keeping the pistol from firing.

    NO, No, don’t fight about it, it doesn’t really matter…!

  52. 52
    Big Picture Pathologist says:

    Remember folks, the First Amendment is not being infringed because these are private citizens, not the government.

    However, it’s still intimidation and it’s deplorable.

  53. 53
    lollipopguild says:

    I an simply going to hope for a fracas in cleveland.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: I think the kill the soul thing is mostly tongue in cheek, but you’d be amazed at the fights over calibers and platforms, etc. And since the FBI is moving away from the .40, there’s often a whiff of sad loss among its adherents in the forums. Somebody is always happy to explain to someone else why what they prefer is wrong in precise terms. And then someone usually tries to come along and make peace with “isn’t it great how many options we all have to celebrate our freedoms?” And that person gets flamed by the two people he or she was trying to pacify. My issue with 1911s is they can have reliability problems – often/especially the high end ones because the tolerances are so tight on them.

    As for the GLOCK – it has its uses and advantages. I prefer the consistency of striker fired, but I’m not a big fan of GLOCK’s grip angle. Where the genius is in the GLOCK was the innovation it spurred over the past 20 to 30 years. It reinvigorated the striker fired system. And changed the understanding of a duty style firearm. So now you have the S&W with two different types of striker fired polymer pistols: the M&P and the M&P Shield. Ruger has had a couple and now has a completely new build. SIG SAUER even finally gave in – largely to compete in the military acquisition program for a new duty sidearm – and created the P320 platform. Springfield has had the rights to the Croatian militaries duty platform, which it brands and sells under its XD lines (in addition to its 1911 lines), and has been tweaking them over the years. Even Heckler & Koch, which doesn’t love your or me or anyone else, finally came full circle (P7) and designed and released the VP9 and now the VP40. And Walther’s been all in for a while on them. Interestingly enough the best triggers at purchase/from factory are considered to be in the Walthers and then the two new entries from SIG and HK: the P320 and the VP9. A lot of micro innovation has occurred because of GLOCK.

  55. 55
    oz29 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Oh, I lived through the time when the Idaho State Police briefly switched to a 10mm, so, I’m pretty much done as far as those arguments go.

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oz29: That’s a hefty round.

  57. 57
    oz29 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Oh yeah. Stopping power. A study of shooting events later showed them that stopping power is less important than just throwing as much lead in the air as possible until back-up arrives with an M-4 or a shotgun.

    Damn it. Just when I thought I was out, you pulled me back in.

  58. 58
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    @Adam L Silverman: perhaps you are overstating this a bit. I don’t think that one view “prevailed” until Heller as much as it is that the court had never really worked out the contours of the doctrine pre Hellerr and there was a school of thought that that’s the way it should be.

    I’m not a scholar of the Second Amendment, but I’ll certainly agree that the first position you stated was viewed by most academics as being the “correct” one pre-Heller. So much so that my understanding is that the NRA was reluctant to get involved with Heller because they were concerned that it would go the other way.

  59. 59
    J R in WV says:

    I will confess, when I read the booklet that came with the Kimber, I was surprised when they said it took 500 rounds to break the gun in. By the same token, I fired 150 the first day, and it worked flawlessly. But they are tight. Tight when it’s right isn’t a bad thing, but it can be so close… and too close.

    I like it though, grip safety, hammer to pull back, real safety. Shoots straight, too.

    My Grandma had a 1903 Colt .32 auto, it was Browning designed and just like a 1911. My cousin still has it. She carried it when she was keeping her little general store in the coal country. No one ever even tried to hold up that store, because everyone knew Grace had that auto in her apron pocket.

    Those are collector’s items now, $1000 for a 113 year old gun. I have more stories to tell about it, but another time. Grandma taught my wife to shoot too, after we got together. Turned out my Grandma and Mrs J’s Grandma lived next door to each other nearly 100 years ago. Everyone knew but us!

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oz29: Sorry.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: Considering that the first view I laid out was how the Supreme Court held in Cruikshank and Presser and Miller and all the other cases up until Heller, I think that makes the argument that that was the prevailing and prevalent Constitutional interpretation and not just the academic or scholarly view. Where we’ve moved to with the Heller decision, from the histories of the 2nd Amendment I’ve read, seems to have begun around the 1930s or 1940s. But don’t quote me on that. Also, and I’m pretty sure you’re following that I’m not arguing for either. I really don’t think Heller changed all that much because Associate Justice Scalia allowed the reasonable regulation component to remain intact. So the jurisdictions that are controlled by folks that want to loosen things will/have and those that don’t haven’t/won’t. Even those like DC that lost in Heller haven’t made much movement and are using the reasonable regulation component as cover.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: Those things are amazing. If I’m recalling correctly they were senior officers sidearms because they wanted something smaller than the 1911. And were used through WW I. I’m in the process – as in I need to contact the smith who was recommended to me by the folks that authenticated and appraised it in Gettysburg – of having a Remington 1858 .44 caliber restored. It was used during the Civil War and I purchased it from the Estate Sale folks who handled mine – they were handling the family’s who inherited the revolver at the time I hired them. My intention is to have it restored, mounted, and then display it. That’s it. I have no desire to shoot a cap and ball revolver. It’ll go with my Carlson’s Raiders mini-machete/bowie that I purchased from the state family through the Estate Sale folks. Its one of the last ones in existence.

  63. 63
    burnspbesq says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That explains the high rate of “accidental” discharge incidents among these idjits. Round in the chamber + safety off = high risk of dead two-year-old.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @burnspbesq: They’d argue for either safety on and to be disengaged as the gun is drawn. Or use one that has either passive safeties or no external safeties at all.

  65. 65
    wenchacha says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Because these are the very same people who love to engage in an amicable and lively exchange of ideas.

  66. 66
    The Other Chuck says:

    These Second Amendment Supporters ought to wear some uniforms while they’re at it. Let’s start with shirts. I suggest brown.

  67. 67
    Paul in KY says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Anyone who loads their mag to the max is a dipshit.

  68. 68
    Paul in KY says:

    @J R in WV: Kimber is a beautiful weapon. Great workmanship, but it is not double action, so you should never carry one +1.

Comments are closed.