When Kansas City police on Saturday ordered several armed demonstrators, including members of antifa groups, to remove ammunition from their guns during a protest at Washington Square Park, some observers had questions.
Why did police disarm the protesters? Is that legal, given that Missouri allows “open carry” with no permit?
Did police take this kind of action on Aug. 20, when militia members appeared at an anti-hate rally near the Country Club Plaza with handguns and rifles?
Who are the armed groups who have been showing up at Kansas City protests this year?
Questions about the limits of open carry and the dangers of having armed camps of protesters facing off have gained increased urgency across the country with the death of a protester last month in Charlottesville, Va. Racial and political tensions have been heightened by confrontations between white supremacists and antifa protesters, often with militia present as well.
Three times this summer in Kansas City, armed militia members from the Three Percent United Patriots movement appeared at protests with handguns and rifles. Some demonstrators said the militia made them nervous.
Then on Saturday, at an event billed as “Fight Back for Charlottesville” a group of antifa protesters — political opponents of the militia — brought handguns and rifles to a rally at Washington Square Park. Police advised those gathered — which also included some Three Percenters…