Being a huge fan of the First Amendment, I have in the past defended the KKK’s (and by extension other hate groups) right to assemble. If we take away their rights, that leads us down the path of groups being banned just because some people don’t like them.

Charlottesville has changed my perspective. I will concede that they should still be allowed to assemble privately, or publicly in closed session, so they can freely discuss their morally bankrupt ideas with other like-minded folk. They should not be allowed to assemble publicly, however.

The First Amendment only guarantees the right to peaceable assembly. If their intent is genocide and overt bigotry, they cannot peaceably assemble. It is not peaceful to chant about hatred of non-white people in the presence of non-white people. That is hate speech, and therefore violent. It is not peaceful to emulate lynch mobs, by carrying torches. It is not peaceful to surround protesters, while carrying said torches. That is bullying. That is threatening violence. It is not peaceful to emulate German Nazis, by chanting their chants, carrying their flag, and imitating their salutes. Their role models were so dangerous, the whole world fought to save us from them.

If we cannot keep hate groups from assembling publicly, due to the First Ammendment, we should create stipulations. If they will not agree to sit silently, without props or a single weapon among them, their permits should be denied. If there is a single protester, the threat of violence exists, and the assembly should be disbanded. If a single item that could be used as a weapon is found, the assembly should be disbanded.

I may add to this later. I have to get ready for work.