An estimated 20,000 pro-gun enthusiasts braved cold weather and a national media blackout on Saturday to support their rights to own guns, according to the Daily Mail, a British tabloid. This was a true grass-roots movement, called Guns Across America, that began, according to the tabloid, when Eric Reed, an airline captain in Houston, decided that the threats to the Second Amendment coming from the Obama administration demanded a response. He started a group on Facebook called “More Gun Control = More Crime,” which as of this writing has more than 19,000 “likes,” and most of them kept their promise to show up at state capitols.
What he wanted to do was to send “a very, very strong message to Congress and to our president that we the people are against any more gun control.” He added,
I realized that I’m part of the problem. It takes somebody to stand up and say, "Hey, we’re not going to accept this. We’re against it."
We want Americans who feel the same way to come out. We want to stand up, be united and get our point across.
To have so many of them show up at state capitols on Saturday far exceeded his initial expectations. Said Reed,
What’s uplifting and encouraging is the amount of support we’re getting from Americans who are against any more gun control and who are trying to help save our Second Amendment.
There’s definitely a lot more out there than I imagined when I started this.
Several thousand showed up in Denver, Colorado, gathering at “high noon” on Saturday to protest the Obama administration’s threats to limit citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment. One thousand showed up in Hartford, Connecticut, while an estimated 2,000 supporters protested in Albany, New York. Five hundred arrived at noon in Nashville, Tennessee, while another 500 rallied in St. Paul, Minnesota. In all there were rallies in 49 states, with many citizens carrying signs.
Some of the signs were direct and to the point:
“Stop the Gun Grabbers”
“Gun control is not about guns, it’s about control”
“The Second Amendment Protects the First”
“An Armed Society is a Polite Society”
Other signs were more provocative:
“I need more than seven rounds. Rapists are harder to kill than deer.”
“Come and take it!”
“If guns cause crime then all mine are defective!”
“We have the 2nd Amendment Just in Case the Politicians Ignore the Others”
“Hey, King O., I’m keeping my guns and my religion”
Some were humorous:
“Single Mom Needs Money 4 Guns Before Obama Leaves Me Defenseless!”
And some were thoughtful:
“The Second Amendment Comes from God”
“Tyranny Insurance: Our Second Amendment Right”
Local media covered the events without getting national attention. Some revealed supporters who had a poor understanding of just what the Second Amendment was all about. For example, Don Dobyns, a military veteran and ex-police officer from Pueblo, Colorado, said, “All I want is my Second American rights. I've earned them. Nobody that hasn't even served has a right to take them away from us.”
All that the Second Amendment does, however, is guarantee the right to own a gun. The right to ownership comes from God who gave Dobyns his life and along with it his right to defend it. It isn't something that can be earned, nor does anyone who has served in the military, or anywhere else for that matter, “have the right to take them away,” as he suggests. A government grown too large, outside of its constitutional limitations, may someday be able, by force, to take them away, but the right remains.
In warfare, one cannot fight something with nothing. Put another way, a purely defensive position is destined to lose. This explains the popularity of the “nullification” movement spreading nationwide as well. As The New American noted earlier,
Across America, state lawmakers, governors, attorneys general,sheriffs, and other officials are promising to protect the gun rights in their jurisdictions....
Numerous bills have already been introduced in state legislatures ... that would nullify unconstitutional federal gun control and even criminalize enforcement of such lawless restrictions.
Sheriff Denny Peyman from Jackson County, Kentucky, is one example of a person who understands his role as ultimate protector of his citizens. In an interview with The New American, Peyman said, "Anytime ... they come against the Second Amendment, or try to say ‘we’re going to do this or we’re going to do that,’ well, we ... are not going to comply with that."
This reflects an increasing understanding of sheriffs’ responsibilities to protect their citizens, an understanding aided and abetted by Sheriff Mack who helped establish the Constitutional Sheriffs and Police Officers Association (CSPOA). That organization is dedicated to informing, educating, and inspiring county sheriffs about their constitutional responsibilities as the primary line of defense against unconstitutional federal intrusions.
But even that is still a defensive posture, and one cannot win a game, or a war, on the strength of the defense alone. What is needed is an offense.
Alan Scholl, the executive director of the Freedom Project Education (FPE), a web-based home education organization based out of Appleton, Wisconsin, received a note via social media about the Guns Across America rally to be held in nearby Madison. When Scholl arrived with some supporters, he was surprised and delighted to see 800 others gathered together to support the Second Amendment. Fortuitously, Scholl was asked at the last minute to address the crowd about the positive program of education that FPE is offering: an understanding of exactly what the Constitution is, where it came from, how it’s being undermined, and how to restore it. He explained that “young people come into this world not knowing anything. With FPE those young people are taught the traditional values of Americanism and limited government along with an appreciation of the Bill of Rights. That’s where the battle is raging, and that’s where we can win!”
Following his presentation, Scholl and his supporters were overwhelmed with requests for more information. He laughed, “They were chasing us down in the parking lot. We ran out of material. Folks kept peppering us with questions, wanting to know more. They understood: Education is the key. Action comes afterwards.”
Through social media such as Facebook, Eric Reed was able to galvanize thousands to support the Second Amendment and protest threatened federal restrictions against it. The only lasting effect of such rallies, however, will be in the hands of those chasing people such as Alan Scholl out to the parking lot in Madison, demanding to know more about educational programs like FPE. They are the answer, designed to inform, educate, and then activate people in a positive program to restore the Constitution and its precious Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment.
Photo of activists gathered outside the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City Jan. 19: AP Images