2nd Amendment Advocates Arrested Outside State House, Allege 1st Amendment Violations

By Bruce DePuyt

Two sign-toting gun rights advocates were arrested near the State House on Monday night for ignoring officers’ orders to move off a public sidewalk.

The men belong to The Patriot Picket, an organization that frequently protests Maryland gun laws at the corner of College Avenue and Blagden Street, where they will be seen by lawmakers arriving in Annapolis.

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Department of General Services Police arrested two gun-rights protesters (in blue hat, left, and yellow jacket) near the State House Monday night.  Photo by Bruce DePuyt

While being handcuffed and searched by Department of General Services Police officers, the protesters complained to reporters that their First Amendment rights were being violated. One of the officers said the men had repeatedly denied a lawful order to move off the sidewalk.

The incident occurred just steps from Lawyers Mall, where groups routinely gather for rallies and protests. Numerous lawmakers scurried past the ruckus without stopping, though one, Sen. Michael J. Hough (R-Frederick) did pause to inquire what was happening. Hough later expressed his dismay with the arrests on the Senate floor.

As one of the arrested men was being placed in a police car, he told Maryland Matters, “Suddenly there’s been a political change. I suspect that somebody in the corner office in the Senate office building doesn’t like the messages on our signs,” an apparent reference to Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert), the chamber’s presiding officer.

Miller denied any knowledge of or involvement in the arrests, telling reporters, “I don’t know a thing about it, honestly and truly.”

“I walk by their signs, I talk to them. They like me,” Miller said.  “They know I’m a gun owner. We relate well together.”

One of the signs being carried on Monday night read, “Dems deny your right to self defense.”  Another said: “Md. murders: Gangs – 1000s, Bump Stock – 0.”

“We’re big on concealed carry,” group member Kyle Norman said. “We’d like for everyone in Maryland to be able to defend themselves.”

13 comments

  • you state the men repeatedly denied to obey a lawful order. The order was not lawful. The protestors were not breaking any laws and have a right to assemble on a public sidewalk as long as they do not obstruct sidewalk traffic. the videos show there was no traffic and the pickets keep walking (moving) anyway. they know the rules (laws)

    • Furthermore, the order was for them to move to an area where a protest permit is needed in order to have a gathering. Then they would have been in violation. They were on a public sidewalk and not obstructing anything. There are several videos and witnesses to testify to this. The were also polite to the police and not threatening or antagonistic in any way…except for their pro 2A signs.

  • If you are given a “lawful” order, then OBEY IT!

    • ❝(T)here are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”❞
      ~Martin Luther KING, Jr., “Letter From A Birmingham Jail,” 16 April 1963

    • From http://mcp.maryland.gov/Documents/DemonstratingonPublicProperty.pdf
      Demonstrating on Public Property
      Where can I exercise my First Amendment right to pass out leaflets or to hold a rally,
      March or demonstrate?
      Because the First Amendment protects free speech from infringement by the government,
      leafleting and assembly is generally permissible in most public areas, such as public park,
      public streets and sidewalks, and outside public buildings. These locations are commonly
      known as public forums, which are generally defined as areas that can be used for the
      communication of any and all views on political and social issues.

      Which makes it their right to be there.

    • The order was not lawful. They were ordered to an area where a permit is required to assemble. It cannot possibly be lawful for a sworn police officer to order you to violate the law.

  • Law Abiding Citizen For Gun Rights

    If Maryland wouldn’t restrict and deny legal citizens their rights these gentlemen wouldnt have to stand out there to begin with.

  • Makes me sick how the police jumped on these conservatives, but let looters out or don’t even arrest them! Police aren’t arresting the neighbor drug pushers at all!

  • Were these people blocking traffic – NO! Were they being abusive, foul mouthed or obnoxious – NO. Then why were they told to move off a PUBLIC sidewalk? Had they been illegal potential democrat voters they would have been protected by Miller’s police. Someday someone will clean the Md. legislative swamp and recognize the U. S. Constitution but not the current occupants of the legislature or the state house.

    • I agree especially when we see rioters minority and Liberal’s tearing up our laws in our streets and the police do nothing and then they do this we are insulted as MArylanders iand as patriots

  • This might not be a popular opinion but I’m very upset with Larry Hogan and how he’s handled the Second Amendment in Maryland

    He needs to realize the reason he won the vote is because gun owners exclusively rooted for him and went out and voted for him with the hopes of protecting our gun rights as he said he would help us do.
    After winning a few years back, his first press conference he stated that he did not want to push the pro 2A agenda his first term. Which to me was a complete let down and since then he has done nothing to help in my opinion that has been meaningful.
    He won his election because of 2nd Amendment voters who turned out in record following the announcement of SB281.
    I’m very sad and very disheartened by his lack of concern for an issue that he made such a big deal about on his campaign Trail, he no longer has my support.

  • To Larry hedges: would you obey a lawful order or is just easier for you to Monday morning quarterback from the comfort of your wearever hiding behind your cell phone. I doubt you were even there

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