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On April 19, a surge of pro-gun rallies

Updated 12:52 p.m.
They remain under the radar for now, but expect to hear a lot more about the dual April 19 rallies that will bring anti-government and pro-gun groups to the Washington region.

Both events are scheduled to coincide, organizers say, with the 235th anniversary of "the shot heard round the world" in the battles of Lexington and Concord.

The "Restore the Constitution" rally in Fort Hunt National Park in Virginia, right on the Potomac near Mount Vernon, will be a showcase for the Oath Keepers, the year-old coalition of "currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters."

Founder Stewart Rhodes describes Oath Keepers' mission as "to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here."

Attendees are encouraged to bring firearms; an oath will be administered on the scene.

And in a very long blog post at the organization's web site, Rhodes goes after MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for criticizing their plans.

Apparently Rachel Maddow only respects the Bill of Rights when leftists are using it. When those she hates (anyone she considers to be on the political right) want to simply exercise their constitutionally protected freedom of speech, assembly, and also their constitutionally protected individual right to keep and bear arms (while in full compliance with current Virginia laws), she screeches so loud you’d think they were going to conduct human sacrifices.

And God forbid you ever do anything on April 19! According to Rachel Maddow, because the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was on that date, you can no longer dare to meet or congregate on April 19 to celebrate your heritage or to honor those who fought for liberty back on April 19, 1775, or to do anything else, lest she and her fellow travelers equate you with Timothy McVeigh.

The second rally to watch is the Second Amendment March, organized by Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt's group that reliably goes further (and acts faster) than the NRA in backing conservative causes.

Speakers at the grounds of the Washington Monument will include Dick Heller, the D.C. resident whose Supreme Court win overturned the District's gun laws -- if not to the extent to preclude the following rules from being given to marchers -- and ... Stewart Rhodes.

1. NO UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, ammunition (including empty cases), or magazines (including empty). There is no reciprocity with any states to speak of, no recognition of licenses issued by other states, no provision for non-residents to exercise their 2A right in D.C.

2. If you do not intend to comply with item #1, do not attend.

Thanks to Stephen Webster.

I've watched with some surprise as the Oath Keepers, battered a bit by reports that call them "extremists," get more mainstream conservative acceptance. Here, for example, is a glowing interview with Rhodes by Bill Whittle, now a host for PajamasTV, previously a blogger who wrote long, long essays about honor and war.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Constitution , Fringe  
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