But many antifa who spoke to BuzzFeed News said medical training alone won’t protect them during confrontations. During the street fights that broke out in Berkeley between antifa and white supremacists earlier this year, Sean Hines realized that his side wasn’t ready for that kind of confrontation with the right. “To be quite frank, they kicked our ass in a lot of instances … it was kind of an eye-opener that we really needed to start training,” Hines said.
He created a fight club in Santa Rosa, California, to teach combat training to like-minded antifa. “Antifa had strength in numbers, but when it came to symmetrical combat, we would usually lose,” he said.
Hines also founded an anarchist and socialist gun club, integrating guns into antifa self-defense to arm working-class people and create a “left-wing militia.” He’s not alone — several antifa groups are taking advantage of lax gun laws in their states and arming their members.
“The more people that are armed, the more that we have the ability to fight police terrorism or fight fascist terrorism,” said Joseph Jordan, an anarchist who participates in Seattle antifa groups. “When the fuckers see that we are willing to shoot back, they back the fuck off.”