Thousands rally against stricter gun control in US

Sent in by a reader, whose brother is the one holding the sign.

Boston Globe – by Will Weissert |  ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully Saturday at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter limits on firearms, with demonstrators carrying rifles and pistols in some places while those elsewhere settled for waving hand-scrawled signs or screaming themselves hoarse.

The size of crowds at each location varied — from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York. Large crowds also turned out in Connecticut, Tennessee and Texas. Some demonstrators in Phoenix and Salem, Ore., came with holstered handguns or rifles on their backs. At the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, attendees gave a special round of applause for ‘‘the ladies that are packin’.’’

Activists promoted the ‘‘Guns Across America’’ rallies primarily through social media. They were being held just after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals.

The crowd swelled to more than 800 amid balmy temperatures on the steps of the pink-hued Capitol in Austin, where speakers took the microphone under a giant Texas flag with ‘‘Independent’’ stamped across it. Homemade placards read ‘‘An Armed Society is a Polite Society,’’ ‘’The Second Amendment Comes from God’’ and ‘‘Hey King O., I’m keeping my guns and my religion.’’

‘‘The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them,’’ said state Rep. Steve Toth, referencing last month’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Toth, a first-term Republican lawmaker from The Woodlands outside Houston, has introduced legislation banning within Texas any future federal limits on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, though such a measure would violate the U.S. Constitution.

Rallies at statehouses nationwide were organized by Eric Reed, an airline captain from the Houston area who in November started a group called ‘‘More Gun Control (equals) More Crime.’’ Its Facebook page has been ‘‘liked’’ by more than 17,000 people.

Texas law allows concealed handgun license-holders to carry firearms anywhere, but Reed said rally-goers shouldn’t expose their weapons: ‘‘I don’t want anyone to get arrested.’’

A man who identified himself only as ‘‘Texas Mob Father’’ carried a camouflaged assault rifle strapped to his back during the Austin rally, but he was believed to be the only one to display a gun. Radio personality Alan LaFrance told the crowd he brought a Glock 19, but he kept it out of sight.

At the New York state Capitol in Albany, about 2,000 people turned out for a chilly rally, where they chanted ‘‘We the People,’’ ‘’USA,’’ and ‘‘Freedom.’’ Many carried American flags and ‘‘Don’t Tread On Me’’ banners. The event took place four days after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the nation’s toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions.

Republican Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin said the new law was ‘‘abuse of power’’ by the governor. Some in the crowd carried ‘‘Impeach Cuomo’’ signs. Protester Robert Candea called the restrictions ‘‘an outrage against humanity.’’

In Connecticut, where task forces created by the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy are considering changes to gun laws, police said about 1,000 people showed up on the Capitol grounds. One demonstrator at the rally in Maine, Joe Getchell of Pittsfield, said every law-abiding citizen has a right to bear arms.

Capitol rallies also took place in Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin, Missouri and North Carolina, among other states.

Back in Texas, Houston resident Robert Thompson attended the rally with his wife and children, ages 12, 5 and 4. Many in the family wore T-shirts reading: ‘‘The Second Amendment Protects the First.’’

‘‘What we are facing now is an assault weapons ban, but if they do this, what will do they do next?’’ Thompson asked.

William Lawson drove more than four hours from Wichita Falls and held up a sign reading ‘‘Modern Musket’’ over the image of an assault rifle and the words, ‘‘An American Tradition since 1776.’’

‘‘I’m not some wild-eyed person who wants to fight in the streets,’’ Lawson said. ‘‘This is a country of laws. But I want to protect our Constitution.’’

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson conceded that the Second Amendment sometimes leads to killings, but he told the crowd that the First Amendment can be just as dangerous. Patterson said news coverage of those responsible for mass shootings can spark copy-cat shootings.

‘‘All of us here, together, are right about our liberty,’’ Patterson said. ‘‘And we will not back down.’’

Associated Press writers Bob Christie in Phoenix, Ian Pickus in Albany, N.Y., Emery P. Dalesio, Raleigh, N.C., and Debbi Morello in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.

8 thoughts on “Thousands rally against stricter gun control in US

  1. Yep, there was lots of traffic in Austin, TX today. I’m thinking it had something to do with the gun rally.

    “Texas law allows concealed handgun license-holders to carry firearms anywhere, but Reed said rally-goers shouldn’t expose their weapons: ‘‘I don’t want anyone to get arrested.’’”

    No REED, we should show our guns because if we don’t show them our guns, REED, then the cops and the politicians won’t understand that WE MEAN BUSINESS!! So don’t play the goodie-goodie, “I don’t want anyone to get arrested” game. Don’t give them an inch! It’s our government that should be arrested as well as any cop who goes along with them and their treasonous agenda.

    1. The ONLY reason I didn’t carry my WASR to the protest today in my state was because I failed to properly research the open carry statue regarding long guns.

      I did carry open carry my pistol though and there were TONS of people with their long guns. Most open carried inside of the capitol building and took pictures in front of the governors office.

      I actually enjoyed my states rally and even if they move on the guns I am confident that there will be sufficient widespread resistance should they attempt outright confiscation.

      Even if they attempt an attrition style confiscation, EVERYBODY IS FED UP and I see a lot of resistance groups popping up to deal with any potential Wacos.

      Today gave me hope for the future.

  2. I looked at a bunch of pictures from various rallies at “The Daily Mail” website because it was linked at WRH.

    I couldn’t help noticing that they looked like A.A.R.P. gatherings. We really have to work on getting the next generation involved in shooting and gun rights, unless the problem is that the kids just don’t go to protest rallies.

    We might have to petition the government to confiscate all the x-boxes.

    1. Just like within our own age group, we have the majority of the youth and they are armed because we have armed them and they are trained because we have trained them and they will fight because we have instilled within them the virtues of freedom and liberty.
      We have to remember the mainstream propagandists will not give a true account of our numbers because to do so would be to admit defeat.

    2. Easy now, I am the old man of my group. In fact I’m older than some of their fathers. That said, my boy’s couldn’t go because they were working. I do see your point, yet I’m not sure where the reality in all this is because our generation was well represented at the rallies, yet I see families and 20 & 30 somethings going to the gun shows and buying.

    3. That’s what they want you to see,

      Where I was at in WA state there was people from all all age groups there.

      There were more young people than old.

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