Gun-rights activists are fueling the isolated protests against shelter-in-place orders via Facebook groups, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Demanding the state governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York end enforced social-distancing rules to stem the coronavirus pandemic, the groups have been emboldened by President Trump’s tweets urging citizens in Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia in particular to demand their public officials “liberate” their states, the Post reports. Ben Door, political director of an organization called Minnesota Gun Rights, is reportedly masterminding the Facebook groups with his brothers, Christopher and Aaron. They claim a combined membership of 200,000 and growing. Their groups are titled “Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine,” “Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine,” “Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine,” as well as “New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine.”
Trump has declined to criticize the protests, asserting Sunday that “Some governors have gone too far, some of the things that happened are maybe not so appropriate.” Facebook told the Post in a statement that “unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook.” Public-health officials maintain that the best way to prevent further spread of the deadly virus at this stage of the pandemic is for the population to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. More than 40,000 Americans have died from coronavirus since early March.