Editorial: Of course there was a dust-up at the Anti-gun violence/pro-gun rights rally

What did Jack Kimball think would happen? Kimball, a former gubernatorial candidate and chairman of the state Republican Party, was one of the organizers of a counter-rally at the State House on Tuesday to protest the reading of the names of those killed in gun violence in the six months since the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings. The counter-rally progressed from boorish and juvenile to ugly when a burly, 52-year-old gun rights advocate refused to stop harassing a gun violence victim speaking on behalf of Mayors Against Gun Violence, a group co-founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The activist was shocked with a Taser, subdued and arrested by the Concord police.

The mayors campaign is touring the nation to advocate for stronger laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who, by dint of mental health or criminal history, shouldn’t have them. The actions of some of the people at the rally suggest that perhaps they belong on that list, but though many people were armed, no weapon was brandished. The police making the arrest were taunted, but did not appear to have been physically threatened.

Kimball knew, or should have known, since he organized a “Day of Resistance” rally in February to support rights under the Second Amendment, that the counter-rally would include a considerable number of gun owners who feel the need to assert their rights by being conspicuously and heavily armed. They are the gun-rights advocates’ worst enemy.

The pro-gun rights crowd, which outnumbered the supporters of background checks, was instantly unruly and disrespectful of the very rights of free expression that they profess to defend. They constantly shouted down gun-law advocates and many appeared angry and threatening. That is not the way to win public support for one’s cause.

These angry clashes between groups with rival opinions are predictable and speak to the poor judgment of those who chose to attend them, among them, Dunbarton state Rep. JR Hoell and Ralph Demicco, owner of the legendary Riley’s Sports Shop in Hooksett.

The behavior of the protestors made a better brief for tougher gun laws than the words of those speaking out against gun violence. But nothing made the case better than the digital display that changed as another gun death occurred, and at one point read 6,139.

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