RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the ReOpen NC protesters prepared for yet another rally in downtown Raleigh, one of the organizer's husbands suggested he's willing to kill people and sacrifice his own life for the cause.
Video of him making the statements surfaced days before the group was scheduled to have five "freedom rallies" across the state on Monday in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington and Asheville.
"Are we willing to kill people? Are we willing to lay our lives down? We have to say yes," Adam Smith said in a Facebook Live video posted on Friday, according to our newsgathering partners at The News&Observer.
The group has held marches in downtown Raleigh for the past several weeks in an attempt to pressure lawmakers to reopen the state. North Carolina moved to Phase 2 of its reopening plan on Friday.
"If you bring force, we're gonna bring force," he later said. "If you bring guns, we're gonna bring guns. If you're armed with this, we're gonna be armed with this."
The group feels the shutting down of the state's merchant from the COVID-19 pandemic robs them of their right to make a living. ReOpen NC's Facebook page reads "We are mostly business owners and employees that are losing our income and denied our right to provide for our families. We have come together to demand action from their elected officials." The group has more than 78,000 members on the platform.
During the protest, ReOpen NC organizer Ashley Smith said the Memorial Day holiday was a good time to gather to fight for fewer restrictions.
"What better day to march for our freedom and to stand and use our voices against tyranny," Ashley Smith said.
At the protest, several gym owners joined the group, advocating for their businesses to open.
"How many health clubs would you stay in even before this that weren't clean?" Ed Smith, owner of Fit4Life, said. "We always keep our clubs clean. That's part of it."
Previously, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen has said it's not the lack of sanitation that concerns health officials about gyms, it's heavy breathing and potential spreading of virus through the air as people get their heart rate up.
The News&Observer reports organizer Ashley Smith posted the video of her husband on Facebook and took it down after media outlets began to pick up the story. She eventually posted it again on the ReOpen NC page.
In the video, Ashley Smith said her husband is an ex-marine and is '"willing to die for all of you too."
At the rally on Monday, Adam Smith said he did not mean to incite violence.
"In no way. In no way," he said. "It was just a mindset of be prepared if we ever end up in that situation. And anyone that served in the military would know that's a readiness."
Smith was arrested at one of the previous protests for violation of an executive order and resisting a public officer.
ReOpen NC organizer's husband says he's 'willing to kill' in fight against government in COVID-19 pandemic