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Should I have my shotgun by my side on Election Day?

in Peter by

I’ve only owned one gun in my life.

It’s a Remington 870 Breacher, so named because it’s partly designed for forcing open a closed and locked door.

It has a carbon stock and a camouflage finish. The handful of people who have seen the gun say it’s a beautiful weapon.

Then again, not many people have seen it because I’ve only brought it out of its case once and that was to learn how to use it at a local range. Otherwise, it’s stored away among the extra coolers, holiday decorations, and paint cans.

We live at the end of a cul-de-sac in an upscale neighborhood. Our community is gated and patrolled by a private security force. We are blessed that crime is something of an abstract concept read about in the newspaper.

My wife and I have a young child. We decided a while ago we did not want to keep a gun in the house. The garage is close enough.

But with three weeks to go before Election Day, I have to wonder: should I have my shotgun by my side when the results are announced?

According to The Boston Globe, some supporters of Donald J. Trump are openly talking of armed revolt if the presidential race does not go their way.

“This is a result of Trump actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box,” the story said.

On Election Day, Trump supporters say “they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.”

“And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem,” it continued.

It’s far from clear where this violence will be directed — but isn’t that part of why the situation is so worrisome?

Instead of protecting my family from a home invasion or an apocalyptic advance of a Zombie army, I face the prospect of using my shotgun to ward off gangs of electoral sore losers.

The trouble is, something tells me Trump’s supporters are better armed and equipped than those who support Hillary Clinton.

And, yet, maybe America will take a page from, of all places, Turkey. It’s there that the better-armed military attempted to oust the popularly supported, albeit increasingly autocratic, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But the coup d’état was put down after forces loyal to the state defeated the plotters.

If Trump’s supporters do grab their pitchforks and AR-15s and take to the streets, it will be the police and National Guard — two institutions traditionally identified as conservative — that will have to tamp down the Trumpkins.

Trump’s campaign distanced itself from the radical viewpoints espoused in the Globe article. “We reject violence in any form and will not allow it to be a part of our campaign,” the campaign said in a statement.

Of course, the Trump campaign has said a lot of things it didn’t mean. That’s why I’ll be digging for my shotgun case in the days after Halloween.

Instead of the doomsday preppers, it’s time to fear the democracy preppers.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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