NC organizers want voices heard with Second Amendment rally
Posted April 12, 2018 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:17 a.m. EDT
The organizer of a rally planned in Raleigh Saturday in support of Second Amendment rights distanced his cause Thursday from a national call for people to gather with their weapons.
“I want people to follow the law and to come out and show their support,” said Michael Thompson, of Burlington.
Thompson, a member of Constitutional Patriots of North Carolina, which is behind an event in downtown Raleigh at Halifax Mall Saturday afternoon pointed out that the Tar Heel State prohibits carrying firearms on state grounds as a form of protest.
On Facebook, the group urged members to understand the law and leave their weapons at home.
Rallies nationwide were being organized by the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans. Organizers have permits for rallies Saturday outside 45 statehouses, said David Clayton, of West Virginia, one of the coalition's founders.
The rallies come less than three weeks after hundreds of thousands marched in Washington, New York and other U.S. cities to demand tougher gun laws after the February school shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida. It's unclear how many will show up — turnout predictions of national organizers are vastly higher than those of local planners.
Clayton said a new gun law in Florida and similar measures being considered in other states threaten the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“People who are pushing for more gun legislation – we understand their side,” Thompson said. “We really just want to have our voices heard.
“There are ways to prevent these tragedies from happening without infringing upon my rights as a law-abiding citizen.”
Clayton said the organizers' goal is for attendance to reach 1 million nationwide.
That would require average turnout of 20,000 per state. Maine rally organizer Dave Gulya said he expects 500 to 1,500 people. The permit for Missouri's rally anticipates 100 participants. Mississippi rally organizer Monty Reeves estimated 50 to 200 people.
Reeves and Gulya said they have no ties to militias or other such groups. Reeves owns a bolt-action rifle and a shotgun for hunting doves and squirrels near his home in rural Whynot, Mississippi. Gulya is a truck driver in Blue Hill, Maine, who likes shooting targets with handguns and rifles. He worries gun rights are slowly getting chipped away.