Knoxville, Tennessee is home to some of the most gun-loving people on the planet. These citizens have been enjoying their ability to use concealed carry for years, and are some of the most passionate people when it comes to firearms that you may ever meet.
Unfortunately, the Knoxville Police are temporarily taking away their right to concealed carry – at least for a day.
The Knoxville Police are banning guns (as well as other weapons) during an upcoming protest regarding the removal of yet another Confederate monument. The protest will most likely have white supremacists, as well as counter protestors, at the removal site.
According to Guns.com:
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and the police department announced the decision Wednesday, saying that all guns and other weapons will be prohibited from the designated demonstration area at the Fort Sanders monument honoring Confederate soldiers. To comply with state law, all participants will be screened with metal detectors and subject to wanded security checks.
“Our officers will be there to maintain order and ensure that everybody is free to speak their piece,” Mayor Rogero said. “These are volatile times, and I strongly urge everyone to refrain from antagonism. We can have these discussions as a community without resorting to angry rhetoric or violence.”
Other banned items include masks or any type of face covering, shields, poles, sticks, water bottles, drink containers, coolers, beverages and food. Signs and flags will be prohibited if they are attached to a pole or stick or anything else that can be used as a weapon.
While Tennessee issues permits for the open and concealed-carry of firearms, Lincoln Memorial University professor of law Stewart Harris told WBIR News that city officials can legally ban guns at the protest so long as law enforcement officials secure the area with the proper personnel and equipment.
“The law of the state of Tennessee is that it’s okay if a city wants to ban guns in a sensitive area,” Harris said. “If the city does that, then the city has to control access to that area and have some sort of metal detector there–some sort of gun detector there.”
The precautionary measures come after the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The rally turned deadly when a neo-Nazi drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
One of the people organizing the counter protests during the Knoxville rally is Charles Irwin. He states that the Knoxville Police are planning on keeping the counter protesters and white supremacists separate from each other.
This is done to help prevent violence from ensuing, like the kind that occurred during the recent Charlottesville, VA rally.
Despite the hopeful peaceful separation of the two groups, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett is making it clear that the state of Tennessee does not agree with the white supremacists’ actions or their values. He says these in no way reflect the beliefs and values of the state of Tennessee.