ST. GEORGE — A peaceful open carry demonstration was held in downtown St. George Saturday morning, with participants exhibiting their right to bear arms.
Protest organizer Melinda Wolf said the goal was a peaceful demonstration to make a nonpolitical statement of safety in St. George. A handwritten sign at the event advised onlookers that “arson,” “looting” and “murder” are not allowed in the community.
“We noticed that there was an open carry protest in Idaho that seemed successful at quelling riots, burnings and violence,” Wolf said. “It’s both sides; it’s people getting hurt that we care about, and we don’t want that to happen in St. George. We want to preemptively say that that is not going to be OK here.”
Wolf said she was surprised to find out that there have been problems with riots and looting in smaller towns. She said she believes the people conducting the rioting and looting are travelers moving from town to town.
“You’re welcome here as long as you’re peaceful, and I think there’s a lot of people here that feel the same way,” Wolf said. “It’s generally not locals that I’m concerned about, it’s people from other places who want to make a political statement and spread discontent and problems.”
Wolf added that she is a supporter of people’s right to speak and protest, adding that anyone who feels the need to protest should just do so peacefully.
She said the goal of the protest is peace in the community — they are not out protesting to take sides in a political battle; they are concerned about the safety of the community.
During the demonstration, Wolf was joined by a handful of people openly displaying their firearms. One demonstrator said he expected more people to join them throughout the morning. A man not affiliated with the group engaged the demonstrators in a peaceful, spirited debate about police reform.
When asked about open carry being seen as an escalating factor in some protests, Wolf said that people have a right to feel how they want to about open carry.
“It’s part of American history,” she explained. “It’s part of the reason why we have the freedoms that we have, and so if they’re citizens of this country, they maybe could learn to make their peace with it. It’s a right that we have that helps protect those other freedoms that they cherish.”
A major theme for the protest was gun safety and open carrying a weapon properly. Wolf used her Facebook page to set up the event and educate people about legally carrying a gun openly.
“We’re going to support each other in making sure that this is a safe and peaceful event,” Wolf said.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.