May 19–Pro-Second Amendment demonstrators crowded around four corners of the intersection at Hover Street and Nelson Road in Longmont on Saturday, a continuation of numerous gatherings organized by the online community “Rally for our Rights.”
Activists carried pro-gun placards and waived American flags and the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flags which have become associated with libertarians and supporters of gun rights.
“Not everyone agrees with the anti-gun sentiment that’s taken over the nation,” organizer Lesley Hollywood of Johnstown said. “Criminals are the problem, not law abiding citizens.”
Many of the demonstrators were carrying firearms, including AR-15 style semiautomatic rifles. Longmont Deputy Police Chief Jeff Satur said that police had received some calls from people concerned about the weapons, but police hadn’t taken any action because it is legal — with exceptions for city buildings and some parks — to open carry in Longmont, as long as it’s not done in a threatening manner.
“Sometimes these people carry in a way that causes alarm,” Satur said. “I’m not sure they are doing any favors to their cause doing that. People have a right to carry, but you have to think about your presentation.”
Numerous demonstrations associated with Rally for our Rights have taken place in Larimer and Boulder counties, including one last month ahead of a planed vote by the Boulder City Council to ban certain semi-automatic weapons deemed to be “assault weapons.” The council passed the ordinance, and it has since been legally challenged.
Saturday’s demonstration comes a day after a teenaged gunman opened fire inside Santa Fe High School in the Texas town of the same name, killing nine students and a teacher and wounding 10 other people before surrendering.
“Everyone here is obviously heartbroken about that,” Hollywood said. “What it shows is the need to protect ourselves and protect our children. We can never eradicate evil, but we can protect ourselves from it.”
Longmont resident Patrick McClintock helped organize the rally with his friend Austin Harper, also of Longmont. McClintock said the shooting in Texas is sad but is a result of the failure of policies regarding gun-free zones at schools.
“They are sitting ducks in those schools,” McClintock said. “There is no one to step up and protect them. You have your school resource officers, but I think you need to have other armed people in schools.”
McClintock’s friend, Austin Harper, also of Longmont, said “We are definitely with everyone who is affected by the shooting in Texas.”
“We don’t want anyone to think we are out here being totally heartless and not thinking about them,” Harper said. “But guns are a tool. All these mass shootings are such a small percentage of the population. Ninety-nine-point-nine-nine-nine percent of gun owners would never consider doing something like this.”
McClintock, who was carrying a handgun and an AR-15, said he came out on Saturday to stand up for the Bill of Rights, although not solely because of the Second Amendment. (He also fears that an assault weapons ban could show up in Longmont and Boulder County at large eventually.)
“Our Bill of Rights, all around, not just the Second Amendment, but all around the Bill of Rights is under attack,” he said. (There is) censorship of conservative sites on Facebook and YouTube and the constant attacks on the Second Amendment.”
He added, however, that he would like people to stop and talk to him and other gun supporters.
“We are all nice people,” he said. “There is good energy around here. Everyone is having a good time. I think it’s important to have an open dialogue.”
This article provided by NewsEdge.