Activist cancels plans for armed march on Washington

Andrea Noble — Washington Times June 1, 2013

An activist has canceled a planned armed march into the District on July Fourth that drew a confrontational response from the city’s police chief.

“Please don’t come to Washington, D.C.,” Adam Kokesh said during an interview on the online “Pete Santilli Show,” saying he could not be certain he would be present for an event in the District and instead urging supporters to march in the 50 state capitals in favor of dissolving the federal government.

News of the cancellation was first reported by the website Media Matters.

The idea of the armed march, which would start at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and proceed across the bridge into the District — where it is illegal to carry guns on the street — was proposed earlier this month and immediately met resistance from city officials.

“If you’re coming here to break the law, then we’re going to take action,” Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in an interview on News Channel 8. “There is a pretty good chance we’ll meet them on the D.C. side of the bridge.”

Mr. Kokesh had written on his website that the march was an “act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event.”

“We will march with rifles loaded and slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated and cower in submission to tyranny,” he said, adding that march organizers would coordinate with law enforcement beforehand in order to determine at what point armed marchers would risk arrest.

Mr. Kokesh had pledged the march would be “a nonviolent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent.”

Within days, thousands of people had said via Facebook that they planned to attend the march.

Chief Lanier reiterated that passing into the District with loaded firearms is “a violation of the law, and we’ll have to treat it as such.”

Since the Supreme Court struck down the District’s 30-year near-total ban on handgun ownership in 2008, D.C. residents have been able to purchase and keep handguns in their homes but are precluded from carrying them on the street.

A person caught carrying a gun outside of their own home or place of business can face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, according to D.C. law.

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