ACLU won’t defend hate groups protesting with guns
By Andrew Shepperson
ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday that it would no longer defend hate groups that protest with guns, after the violence that erupted at rallies in Charlottesville last weekend.
The civil rights group will now more carefully screen the groups it defends in court and will refuse to represent hate groups planning to march with firearms, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The move comes after groups of neo-Nazis and white supremacists clashed with counter protesters in Charlottesville last weekend, and one neo-Nazi allegedly drove a car into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
Arguing the First Amendment applies even to hate groups, the ACLU had defended the groups’ rights to assemble and protest the removal of a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee. However, after the Charlottesville violence, Executive Director Anthony Romero said they will be looking at hate group much more closely and will not represent those who plan to carry guns.
“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Romero told the Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No,