Virginia gun owner militia open carry
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

The study examined 560 instances in which individuals – whether the protesters themselves or people who opposed them – brought firearms to demonstrations. In roughly one of every six of those demonstrations, “violent or destructive activity” ensued, the researchers found. At protests where no guns were present, one out of 37 turned violent.

Violent or destructive acts were carried out by both armed and unarmed protesters, the researchers said.

Violence and property destruction occurred after political rallies of all types at which arms were present, including Black Lives Matter protests, the researchers found. Kishi said 94% of Black Lives Matter protests, hundreds of which occurred around the country, were peaceful. 

“In contrast, demonstrations involving right-wing militias or militant social movements –such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, or the Three Percenters, among others – have turned violent or destructive over twice as often, or nearly 14% of the time,” she said in an email. 

— Will Carless in Armed protests are picking up, and a new study says they’re more likely to turn violent



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