The District of Columbia’s police chief said Tuesday officers would arrest marchers who plan to openly carry rifles into the city in violation of District law.
“Passing into the District of Columbia with loaded firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said on NewsChannel 8.
Libertarian activist and radio host Adam Kokesh is organizing a July 4 march into D.C., which he hopes to feature 1,000 gun-toting Americans marching from Arlington National Cemetery into the city and passing the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court.
“We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny,” Kokesh wrote on the Facebook page for the event. “We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.”
D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. While an old law banning handgun ownership was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2008’s District of Columbia vs. Heller, the D.C. Council quickly passed a new law allowing residents to purchase handguns, but requiring them to keep the guns in their homes. Carrying a loaded weapon of any type is against D.C. law.
“It’s pretty exciting to see how it’s developing,” Kokesh told WAMU, D.C.’s NPR affiliate. “It’s certainly taking off and going viral, and we’re really excited to be able to provide something meaningful for people to do on Independence Day, when everyone else is going to be the least patriotic thing possible, which is sitting on their butts and not doing anything to improve the country.”
Over 2,000 people have said the plan to attend the event on Facebook, but Kokesh wrote he is aiming for 10,000 planned attendees to ensure there are actually 1,000 marchers on Independence Day.
Lanier said Kokesh hasn’t contacted police, although Kokesh wrote on Facebook he planned to do so.