On Saturday Match 25th, a “counter-protest” was organized against a “Make America Great Again” rally in Phoenix, Arizona.  Conducted by the “Phoenix John Brown Gun Club”, the goal was to disrupt and intimidate the rally.  The whole affair was covered by many right-wing websites, including Infowars and The Blaze:

Amid an Arizona “Make America Great Again” march in support of Republican President Donald Trump on Saturday, a heavily armed left-wing group  tried to intimidate a liberal reporter into not recording video of their actions.

Reporter Stephen Lemons spotted the group of “about 40 or so assorted anarchists, Brown Berets, and members of a group calling itself the Phoenix John Brown Gun Club across the street from the state Capitol, openly armed to the proverbial teeth,” he wrote in the Phoenix New Times.

Someone on Reddit took a closer look at the protesters and their firearms, and made some curious observations:

Uh-oh – it sure appears a lot of those protesters were carrying AirSoft (read: fake) guns.  And they were staring down a protest full of Trump supporters, many of whom were presumably carrying concealed weapons legally.

I’m not presumptuous enough to trust one blurry photo, so I decided to take a closer look at the “Phoenix John Brown Gun Club” and see what they were all about.  All real “gun clubs” will provide details on range locations, shoot times, competitions, training courses, etc.  So I took a look at their (alleged) home page, and this is what I found:

There is absolutely nothing at all about any firearms training the group does whatsoever, beyond a few links to “Zines” on their “Resources” page, which appear to be e-books about violence training.  There is nothing at all on which types of firearms and ammunition to use, programs the club offers, what ranges they shoot at, or any basic information at all for would-be gun owners on how to actually learn anything about firearms.

However, it appears that this is the national website for the organization that the “Phoenix John Brown Gun Club” is a part of.  The local chapter itself appears to have no website, and solely exists as a Facebook page:

The only reference to firearms training was in their “events” page, which had an event that took place on March 5th, titled “Introduction to Tactical Firearms”.  It had 46 guests.  There were no upcoming events, and the prior four events had absolutely nothing to do with firearms.

Not much of a “gun club” at all, is it?  Would you really be surprised to find out that many of their members didn’t even carry real firearms to an “open carry” demonstration against a Trump rally?

As I’ve stated before, open carry is generally speaking a very bad idea.  Not only are you giving up a major tactical advantage by displaying to the world that you are armed, you are basically inviting the police to give you a hard time.  And, if/when the bullets actually do start flying, your adversaries are going to know exactly who to target first – you, the person who is openly advertising yourself as armed.  If you’re going to carry a firearm in public, the best way to do it is concealed – society needs to fracture significantly to make open carry a truly viable tactic.

But alas, it appears at a lot of this protest included members of a “gun club” that didn’t actually carry real firearms.  The internet calls this behavior “Live Action Role Playing”, or LARPing, and only an idiot would go LARPing around with an AirSoft rifle, pretending to be actually armed and prepared to use deadly force if necessary.  I’m not presumptuous to think that everyone in that group was toting AirSoft rifles – there were likely several real guns mixed in with all the fake ones – it is Phoenix, Arizona, after all.  But who in their right mind would advertise themselves as armed and tote around an AirSoft rifle, at a real life demonstration?

But what would you expect from a “gun club” that is more interested in dispensing resources on the best ways to break the law and harass citizens than it is in practicing safe and responsible firearms usage and training?  Because they sure sound a lot more like children living at home with their parents than responsible owners of firearms.