US Gun rights advocates rally at state capitols across US

15:10  15 april  2018
15:10  15 april  2018 Source:   Associated Press

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Shaun Baby, of Cartersville, Ga., participates in a gun-rights rally at the state capitol, Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Atlanta. About 40 gun rights supporters have gathered for one of dozens of rallies planned at statehouses across the U.S. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) © The Associated Press Shaun Baby, of Cartersville, Ga., participates in a gun-rights rally at the state capitol, Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Atlanta. About 40 gun rights supporters have gathered for one of dozens of rallies planned at statehouses across the U.S. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

DOVER, Del. — 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.

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Ironically, the occasion was a gun rights rally . Gun rights advocates across the state descended at the Capitol to remind legislators that the Second Amendment is a Constitutional right , and to seek But we don't believe that our gun rights should be stripped because mad men choose to shoot people."

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 ' Guns Across America' rally at State Capitol today.

"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.

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Most of weapons advocates gathered next to state capitol buildings, where on-going discussions on gun control are taking place following December’s Sandy Gun legislation protesters hold signs during the Guns Across America pro- gun rally at the State Capitol in Denver, Colorado, January 19, 2013.

Gun rights supporters rally at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn. , Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. (Photo: AP). Larry Barnett, right , listens to a speaker at a rally by gun rights advocates on Saturday, Jan. An attendee of the Guns Across America rally holds his hat over his chest at the state capitol

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.

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This story has been edited to update crowd in Atlanta to about 160, instead of 180.

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Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Michael Conroy in Indianapolis; Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.

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