WRAL has analyzed this protest group and believes it represents an anti-government movement that feels its First Amendment rights are being violated by business closures and the stay-at-home orders.
The Raleigh Police Department is investigating but said in a statement, "While State law does not permit individuals to possess a dangerous weapon when they are participating in or spectating at a protest, there is nothing that prohibits an individual, or a group of individuals, from walking on a city sidewalk while carrying and displaying firearms."
North Carolina is an open carry state, meaning people can carry weapons openly on public property, but neighbors and business owners said these demonstrators are going too far and are violating the law.
In the photos taken by Travis Long with the News & Observer, armed protestors were ordering food from a Raleigh Subway with weapons either strapped to their backs or in a holster.
his is downtown Raleigh. We don’t need to have weapons like that. It’s ridiculous," said business owner John Pugh, who believes these demonstrators are violating a common law that prevents being “armed to the terror of the people.”
Raleigh city council member Jonathan Melton weighed in on the state’s open carry law. “It is not lawful to possess (and therefore openly carry) a firearm while participating in, or spectating at, a protest or a picket. Therefore, an individual can walk down a sidewalk openly carrying a firearm, so long as the individual is not also a “demonstrator,” he said in a statement.
sidebar: please look at wral's cite tag above which states "wral investigated the group and they are...blah blah" yet there is absolutely nothing in their article about this proclamation!