Gun-rights supporters rally in Orange County
Under the threat of rain, dozens of people gathered Saturday morning in Orange County to express their support for the Second Amendment and their right to carry guns.Posted — Updated
Over 200 people had expressed interest in the event, which was publicized by organizers via a Facebook.post. The event was held at the Old Orange County Courthouse and several speakers said they were strong advocates of the Second Amendment, which is enshrined in America's Bill of Rights.
"Only the misuse of a gun is wrong," one of the speakers said. "I believe the majority of Americans do not want to ban guns."
Under state law, guns are not allowed to be carried by those attending public rallies, demonstrations or protests. Protesters on Saturday said they believe the ban treads on their Second Amendment rights.
"The reason why that's important to me is because the police can't be everywhere," Daniel Johnson said.
Organizers were urged to wear empty holsters "to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the law while still obeying it. The empty holster symbolizes how we are disarmed while simply exercising our First Amendment right to peaceful assembly."
Johnson organized the rally because he believe that open dialogue is missing from the debate over gun control.
"Online, it seems like nothing is getting worked out. Everything is becoming more divisive and divided," he said.
Mark Robinson, the featured speaker, said his rights to carry firearms would stay in place despite the efforts of "the left" and George Soros and Hillary Clinton to repeal the Second Amendment.
"We're going to fight tooth and nail to keep the Second Amendment in place," he said. "We need to be courageous."
Robinson garnered attention recently when addressed the Greensboro City Council, which was weighing whether to cancel a planned gun rights show in the city. He also spoke negatively about survivors of a South Florida shooting at a Parkland high school in February.
Some who attended Saturday's rally were advocates for stronger gun control, but crossed the divide to listen.
"I believe in human rights. I think there are too many guns in the wrong hands," said gun control advocate Lori Ramsey.
Jefferey Brenneman, who wore seven empty holsters to the protesters, agreed that some guns end up in the wrong hands, but believes those instances do not represent all gun owners.
"There's a lot of responsible people in this country that you never hear about that respect firearms and use them responsibly," he said.
"If my guns are taken away, then how am I going to protect myself and my family? Because that, to me, it the ultimate right," protester Wendy Burgess said.
The debate about gun safety has flared anew in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings this year and last, which include a massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Valentine's Day by a former student who shot and killed 17 people. In November 2017, a gunman killed at least 26 people who were attending church in rural south Texas. In October 2017, a lone gunman fired for at least 10 minutes into the crowd attending a country western music concert, killing 58 people.
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