NFAC has one answer. By parading with military-style rifles of the sort that Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, wants to ban, the militia’s members show they are prepared to exercise the Second Amendment rights that gun control supporters typically portray as a fetish of white conservatives.

The assertion of those rights resonates historically, since modern gun control laws have their roots in the efforts of Southern states to disarm freedmen, depriving them of a constitutional right that Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, warned black people would enjoy if they were recognized as citizens. Under Jim Crow and during the civil rights movement, the right to armed self-defense was vitally important to African Americans resisting government-imposed white supremacy.

The Three Percenters, by contrast, were responding to NFAC’s presence in Louisville, aiming to “aid police” (as the Courier-Journal put it) in maintaining order. Yet the group, which rejects the “militia” label and disavows racism, also describes itself as defending civil liberties and resisting the illegitimate exercise of government power.