Gun rights ad­vo­cates rally at state capi­tols across US

Starkville Daily News - - FORUM - By RAN­DALL CHASE As­so­ci­ated Press

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Gun rights sup­port­ers — many car­ry­ing ri­fles and am­mu­ni­tion — gath­ered at state capi­tols across the U.S. on Satur­day to push back against ef­forts to pass stricter gun-con­trol laws that they fear threaten their con­sti­tu­tional right to bear arms.

From Delaware to Wy­oming, hun­dreds gath­ered at peace­ful protests to lis­ten to speak­ers who warned that any re­stric­tions on gun own­er­ship or use even­tu­ally could lead to a ban on gun own­er­ship, which is guar­an­teed un­der the Second Amend­ment.

"If you have a build­ing and you take a brick out ev­ery so of­ten, af­ter a while you're not go­ing to have a build­ing," said West­ley Wil­liams, who car­ried an AR-15 ri­fle as he joined about 100 peo­ple brav­ing blus­tery weather in Cheyenne, Wy­oming, for a pro-gun-rights rally in front of the state supreme court build­ing.

Dave Gulya, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of a rally in Au­gusta, Maine, said about 800 peo­ple showed up at the state­house — a gun-free zone — to make the point that "we are law-abid­ing."

Satur­day's protests were planned in dozens of state capi­tols less than three weeks af­ter hun­dreds of thou­sands marched in Wash­ing­ton, New York and else­where to de­mand tougher gun laws af­ter the Fe­bru­ary school shoot­ing in Park­land, Florida, that killed 17. Or­ga­niz­ers of those protests de­manded a ban on as­sault weapons and high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines, and called for uni­ver­sal back­ground checks on po­ten­tial gun own­ers.

Dur­ing a pro-gun-rights gath­er­ing in At­lanta on Satur­day, more than a quar­ter of the es­ti­mated 160 rally-go­ers car­ried weapons, as well as flags and signs say­ing "Don't Tread On Me" as they lis­tened to speak­ers talk about the right to bear arms. A few peo­ple wear­ing "Black Lives Mat­ter" T-shirts showed up at the rally and made videos, but didn't in­ter­act with the rally-go­ers.

Protesters also showed up in Bos­ton; Indianapolis; Mont­pe­lier, Ver­mont; Al­bany, New York; Austin, Texas, Des Moines, Iowa; and other cities.

The coali­tion be­hind the gun rights ral­lies de­scribes it­self as a col­lec­tion of pa­tri­otic-based groups that "come from all walks of life, in­clud­ing Three Per­cent groups and lo­cal mili­tias."

The Three Per­cent move­ment vows to re­sist any gov­ern­ment that in­fringes on the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. Its name refers to the be­lief that just 3 per­cent of colonists rose up to fight the Bri­tish.

Such groups lack the fol­low­ing of more main­stream Second Amend­ment ad­vo­cates such as the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion.

A group called the Na­tional Con­sti­tu­tional Coali­tion of Pa­tri­otic Amer­i­cans spread word of the ral­lies on so­cial me­dia.

Mead Daniel Marces ad­dresses a gun-rights rally Satur­day, April 14, 2018, in front of the Wy­oming Supreme Court in Cheyenne, Wyo. About 100 peo­ple took part in­clud­ing a hand­ful openly car­ry­ing firearms. (Photo by Mead Gru­ver, AP)

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