Hundreds of people showed up for Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe’s yearly NRA rally supporting gun ownership and the second amendment. The crowd filled the capitol’s main rotunda to the point where Capitol Police closed it off due over-capacity. Some of the onlookers included your run of the mill, anti-government militia types from the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers and others included the “American Guard,” a new white nationalist, white supremacist organization that has ties to other skinhead organizations.
The Anti Defamation Leauge reports that the American Guard “formed in Indiana in 2016 and officially went ‘national’ in February 2017,” and was formed by Brien James. James was one of the founders of the Vinlanders Social Club, which the ADL describes as “hardcore racist skinhead gang that has had a high association with violence.” The group draws inspiration from the fictional character “Bill the Butcher” from the Gangs of New York, and uses a shield and crossed meat cleavers as their logo. The ADL states that “‘Bill the Butcher’ was a fictionalized version of William Pool, the leader of the Bowery Boys, a violent street gang in New York City infamous for its attacks on immigrants.”
The ADL goes on to say:
Other American Guard members and associates have present or past connections to such white supremacist groups as the Hammerskins, Aryan Nations, the Traditionalist Workers Party and the Atlantic City Skinheads. Some members also have aligned themselves with anti-government groups or movements, such as the Three Percenter wing of the militia movement.
The American Guard currently has members in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and New Hampshire, and claims chapters in Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, and Tennessee as well.
Other organizations that were present at today’s rally included “PA Patriots United,” a group that has already held two pro-gun rallies on the capitol steps. Members from local anti-government militia groups such as the Pennsylvania Lightfoot Militia, the Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters attended both rallies. The Pennsylvania Republican Party was also seen canvassing for emails and contact information at that rally. The organization has another rally planned May 19 on the Capitol steps.