Jesse Gonzales, 26, carried his AK gun and walked parallel with an anti-Trump protest during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday. He reasoned,
It's the RNC, there's gonna be lots of these kids doing weird stuff. Thought I'd see it first-hand instead of just letting the TV tell me.
Gonzales, an Ohio resident, was exercising his Second Amendment right to have a gun, along with his right to open carry in the state of Ohio. He told Elite Daily,
I think the instant you stop exercising the right is the instant it goes away. So I figure this is the best place to do it, especially with such a large collection of leftist, anti-gun people who are also really vocal.
The police asked Ohio Governor John Kasich on Sunday to suspend the open carry law for the convention. Kasich refused, saying it fell outside of his legal ability.
The presence of open carry guns has led to worries from protesters and attendees at the RNC. For Gonzales, it's mostly led to media attention. He said he had been facing questions from the media "non-stop" since he came out with his AK. He believes this is because the media has an "agenda."
[The media is] probably cooperating with the government in terms of what message gets pushed. I mean, they try and make it seem like violence is on the rise. It's not. It's been in decline for the last 20 years.
Gonzales found the anti-Trump protest to be "kind of a bummer, honestly," as it "shows how divided our society is." To fix that division, Gonzales said, we need "strong people in office that actually fix the issues that make this happen" — including economic, demographic and violence issues.
He wishes he could have "actual discourse" with the protesters, although he doesn't know what in particular he would say to them.
I think a bunch of people shouting doesn't accomplish a single thing.
As he was lighting an American Spirit cigarette, Gonzales told Elite Daily why he finds the right to own a gun so important.
To put it very, very simply, you can't coerce an armed man. If you were to, say, try and force somebody to give them your money and they had a gun, you can just say no. They can say no if they're armed. With that in particular, I think it's hugely important for pretty much every private citizen that can, to own firearms. If it's legal and you can do it, you should do it. Naturally, if you don't want to, don't do it.
He had a simple reason for choosing the large AK he was carrying:
It's an AK. You can't go wrong with it. They work. Fun to shoot.
Gonzales then decided to stop following the anti-Trump protest.
I don't want to follow them anymore. I'm bored. This is the same thing over and over again.