On Thursday, armed activists with pro-gun groups and several militias gathered in front of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to speak out against a litany of proposed gun control legislation on the state and federal level.
The rally – which was dubbed “We will not comply” – was in response to House Bill 228, a state law that Republicans attempted to amend to protect the right to carry certain firearms. The legislators accidentally miswrote the amendment to ban – rather than protect – the firearms in question, and the amended bill went into law.
The ban would have been effective as of Wednesday, but emergency legislation was passed to fix the error.
“The law in Ohio was amended, and so we need to be rejoiced in that fact,” said Ryian Moore, a militia member based in Ohio. “If not, we would all be felons right now because we possess AR-15’s.”
Had the erroneous bill not been fixed with emergency legislation, the event “We Will Not Comply” would have been a civil disobedience event, where the weapons they carried would be freshly illegal.
The rallygoers numbered in the low hundreds. Approximately a dozen antifascist (“Antifa”) protesters showed up to counter-demonstrate.
Antifa said they don’t oppose gun rights on principle, but took exception to the III%’er militia groups that participated in the “We Will Not Comply” coalition and the waving of a Confederate flag by one participant.
“I don’t even think if I asked any of them ‘why are you here’ they would have an answer,” said Princess Kuevor of the counter-demonstrators. “We’re here because of legislation that was attempted to be passed. Today, if they wouldn’t have fixed it within the last three weeks, this would have been an act of civil disobedience. So I’m not sure why they’re here.”
“I was more determined than ever to get here because nobody should have to ask to be free,” added Penny Rutter, a pro-gun activist.