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Glens Falls protest

North Country Deplorables founder Mike Kibling, with megaphone, moves within inches of a local group calling on U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik to "defund hate" near Stefanik's office at a September rally in downtown Glens Falls. 

Editor’s note: This story contains language that some readers may find objectionable.

GLENS FALLS — Several groups that support President Donald Trump will hold a rally Saturday with unloaded rifles, city officials announced Friday.

City officials wanted to get the word out so that no one is surprised by the scene Saturday.

“We want to let people know not to be alarmed,” Mayor Dan Hall said Friday. “They will be unloaded. They’re just displaying them.”

Police Chief Tony Lydon said the city “received information” Friday morning that some people would bring rifles to the rally.

The founder of North Country Deplorables posted on his Facebook page encouraging his group to attend the “pro 2nd Amendment” rally.

But in a phone interview, the founder, Mike Kibling, emphasized that he will be arriving unarmed. He said the rally was organized by Friends of President Donald Trump.

“I don’t even own a gun. I don’t like guns,” Kibling said. “They scare the shit out of me.”

But in an increasingly angry interview, he said The Post-Star was trying to attack pro-Trump groups by accusing them of bringing rifles to a rally.

“We will all bring our guns and we will turn this shit back on you,” he said before hanging up.

The founder of the Friends of President Trump group, Bill Bombard, said he’d been planning Saturday’s rally for a month but never discussed bringing guns to it. He’s not sure who came up with the idea and suggested the police were lying.

The rally will begin at 2 p.m. at Centennial Circle on a particularly busy day. There will be a gun show at the nearby Cool Insuring Arena from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then fans start arriving to the evening event at the arena for a 7 p.m. preseason hockey game between the Adirondack Thunder and Reading Royals.

Police Chief Tony Lydon said he is worried about the influx of hockey fans walking past the rally, which in the past has featured Kibling from the North Country Deplorables shouting insults at children from a megaphone. At one rally, Kibling told counterprotesters not to bring their children next time.

That could be a problem Saturday.

“We’re going to have families, young children there,” Lydon said. “It’s a cause of concern for public safety and public perception.”

But the protesters have a Second Amendment right to display rifles, he said.

“You can have a rifle in public as long as it’s unloaded,” Lydon said. “You can’t have ammunition at the same place. You can’t have any type of assault weapon in public, such as a military-style rifle. That can’t be publicly displayed. You can’t publicly display pistols in New York state.”

Protesters also can’t make threatening gestures with their rifles or make verbal remarks about using the guns.

“Public display is different from brandishing or pointing,” Lydon said. “Nobody should ever point a weapon at anyone.”

But just holding it isn’t menacing, he added. The criminal act of menacing is “actually pointing a weapon and threatening to use it,” he said.

That means rifle-holders will have to keep their tempers, which have run high at times during the rallies.

“If you’re at a protest rally (with a rifle), that does not give you the right to threaten to use it,” Lydon said.

Police will be on scene during the rally and will enforce the law, he said.

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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