Rally for Our Rights Holds Pro-Second Amendment Rally in Longmont
Members of the pro-Second Amendment group Rally for our Rights convened along Main Street in down town Longmont on Saturday afternoon to express their dismay with the Longmont City Council which recently declined to read a gun safety proclamation in September.
“We are holding this to show the Longmont City Council and other people who drive by that guns aren’t scary and gun safety isn’t scary,” said event organizer Austin Harper. “The proclamation we submitted basically said that the right to bear arms is everyone’s right and (also) the four rules of gun safety.”
Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley planned on reading an edited version of a “Firearms Awareness and Safety Day” proclamation submitted by Longmont resident Jerry Britton, but Bagley later scrapped the reading in the interest of “unity” among council members.
Harper said that the council read a proclamation by anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action earlier in the year , so he feels that his organization is being held to an unfair double standard. He added that the gun safety proclamation was not meant to be “right leaning” but based on constitutional principles.
“I get trying to keep unity, but the fact that the city council can’t come together and agree on the Constitution, that’s an issue,” Harper said. “The Constitution is the backbone on which this country was built. So if they are in office and they can’t support and uphold the Constitution, they shouldn’t be here.”
Rally for our Rights sprang up several months ago, in part, as a response to the Boulder City Council considering and later passing a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons deemed to be assault weapons. The ordinance is currently facing at least two court challenges, one by the National Rifle Association.
The group — with some participants dressed as members of the city council — shared Main Street at Sixth Avenue with Longmont Leads with Love, a loosely-based group who have convened at the intersection for about a decade, according to some of its members. The intersection was the center of an anti-gun violence March for our Lives in March that saw more than 1,000 demonstrators marching down Main Street.
Harper said that his group is considered right-leaning by many, but he said it has liberal and conservative members as well as unaffiliated people and Libertarians.
In spite of the perceived political divide on Saturday, Harper said he welcomed any dialogue. Members of Rally for our Rights were seen interviewing members of Longmont Leads with Love for online publication.
Longmont City Councilmember Polly Christensen was among the demonstrators out with Longmont Leads with Love. She said she came out on Saturday to offer rides home to anyone who felt uncomfortable around the pro-Second Amendment protestors, many of whom were carrying semi-automatic rifles and handguns. She said some of the people who come to the demonstrations on Saturday have been victims of gun violence.
“I was worried because this is an open carry thing that someone would get out of line and do something dumb and hurt someone,” Christensen said. “But they haven’t, so it’s fine. Everyone is down here yelling on Main Street. This is Longmont.”
Christensen, who threatened to walk out if Bagley read the proclamation in September, said that opposition to the proclamation was more widespread among the council than publicly stated.
In spite of her misgivings, she said the street belongs to everyone; it was a nice, sunny fall day and everyone on both sides were “angry” about one thing or another — but expressing themselves peacefully.
She added that she feels sad when she speaks to the gun safety and gun rights advocates, because they “see the world as an evil place they need constant protection from.
“I’m a 69-year-old woman, and I’ve had people try to kill me I’ve had people try to rape me,” she said.
“I’m still here. I’ve not been killed or raped, and I’ve accomplished all this without a gun. There are many ways. Everyone should do what they feel protects them the best, but I don’t see the world as irredeemably evil.”
John Bear: 303-473-1355, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/johnbearwithme