A gun dealer has caused a stir in Dublin after inviting members of the National Rifle Association and right-wing groups Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and other “Second Amendment supporters” to protest against a Tri-Valley for Black Lives event Sunday at Dublin City Hall.
Mike Grant, a federally licensed firearms dealer, and owner of Guns Unlimited Advance Firearms Training — which was based in Dublin and is now headquartered in Colorado — posted “This is a 911!!” on social media last Saturday. The post has since been removed.
“Patriots the city of Dublin had a council meeting Tuesday night Nov. 3 and had the contract attorney telling the council how to get around the new sign ordinance they just put in place months back,” Grant wrote, according to a screenshot of the page circulated around social media. “The reason is because Shawn Kumagai wants to let the black lives matter thugs puts signs up promoting their agenda.”
Kumagai is a member of the Dublin City Council, which on Nov. 3 approved a request from Tri-Valley for Black Lives to bring its “sign garden” to City Hall this coming Sunday.
The city is treating it as a “temporary city-curated public art installation at the Dublin Civic Center,” according to the council resolution, which passed unanimously. Mayor David Haubert will serve as official curator. The installation of the signs takes place at 2 p.m. and the display will be there for a week.
“They are planning a protest on Sunday, Nov. 15th so patriots get your friends and let (sic) greet them with a little smile,” Grant wrote. “Oath Keepers, 3%, NRA and second Amendment members let (sic) gather at City Hall Parking Lot in Dublin on Sunday AM and get ready for a Fun couple hours. Oath Keepers please bring your vests and helmets I case these BLM people start trouble. Remember this group is known as ‘left wing’ anti government group.”
Having second thoughts
When reached Wednesday, Grant said he has received death threats over the post, which he said did not advocate violence. He said his perception had since changed and has since reached out to the groups he initially contacted and asked them not to come.
“This has woken me up to the fact that, what I’ve been going through the past few days, people of color have been going through their entire lives,” Grant said. “You can’t take something like that back.”
Grant said one of his issues with the event is that it is being held on city property. He also said he mistakenly believed it would be a protest event from the same people he’s seen on television in large cities, harassing people and setting fires.
Grant said he had just spoken to the father of Denel McMahon, the president of the Black Student Union at Dublin High School and one of the organizers. Some community members took to social media to accuse Grant of putting a target on the students’ backs. Grant said that wasn’t his intention and the whole situation has been blown out of proportion.
“This was never a formal threat,” said Grant, who still owns a home in Dublin but now resides in Colorado. “I don’t understand where all this came from.”
Kumagai said Wednesday that Dublin police have been working with Tri-Valley for Black Lives to determine the scope of the event and to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Sadly, there has been a member of our community who posted some inflammatory messages about the display and the organizer of the event, but with public safety personnel on standby, we anticipate a peaceful gathering for all,” Kumagai said.
Ensuring public safety
Haubert, Dublin’s mayor, said the city is taking the possibility of violence “very seriously.”
“I’ve asked our city manager and chief of police to provide adequate resources be made available to ensure the public’s safety,” Haubert said. “I have also reached out to leadership of Tri-Valley for Black Lives and to the student and family to share our efforts to ensure their safety. I am assured by city staff that proper precautions are in place.”
Tri-Valley for Black Lives have already taken their project to Livermore, where there was some controversy over one of the signs allegedly being anti-police.
When contacted Wednesday via social media, the group responded by writing “We want to ensure that the focus is on our groups and what we’re doing for the Black community in the Tri-Valley. The Sign Garden for Justice is being hosted by Tri-Valley for Black Lives in partnership with the Dublin High BSU.”
The group said its mission statement is “Tri-Valley for Black Lives aims to foster a safe and anti-racist community for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), with priority for Black lives. Our goal is to educate our community on anti-blackness through community engagement and advocacy while holding public officials accountable to ensure our home is a place where every BIPOC person has the opportunity and resources to thrive.”