AP NEWS

Gun rights supporters gather

June 18, 2018 GMT

Second Amendment supporters used their First Amendment rights Saturday to assemble peaceably and speak their piece.

Some did it while carrying a piece. They strapped on firearms to make their point that the right to bear arms is the American way.

The small gathering at a corner of Town Square was greeted by passers-by with reactions that ranged from support to curiosity to bemusement.

The rally was organized by Robert Benedict, a transplant to Jackson from Great Britain who has enthusiastically adopted gun ownership and other American rights.

Benedict, accompanied by his American wife and their two daughters, called the hourlong get-together “a celebration of America and the rights we have here.”

The pro-gun rights group, with people coming and going, topped out at about a dozen at its largest.

About a half dozen handguns were carried openly, though others, legally under Wyoming law, might have been there but concealed.

One of the group, James Raven, with a semi-automatic pistol strapped to his chest near his heart, said he and others wanted to celebrate the right of gun ownership and argue against limits, even limits with good intentions.

“I’m all for solutions” to gun violence, he said, “other than taking guns away from people.”

Raven said that in general he espouses the idea that it’s people, not guns, who are responsible for crime, and that guns are just as likely to be a force for good as bad.

“My solution for gun violence is to shoot back,” the Jackson resident said.

Limiting gun ownership threatens to lead to more limits without end, said Nathan Dalton, another Jackson man who attended. Attempts to limit ownership just mean the ill-intentioned will adapt and “eventually you have to take all guns from everybody, that’s my worry,” he said.

Dalton said it wouldn’t end with guns: “If people cause violence with anything, eventually you have to ban that thing,” he said.

Organizer Benedict agreed.

“You can have an assault baseball bat, an assault frying pan, anything,” he said.

The demonstration featured signs that said “A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone,” “An armed society is a polite society” and “Assault is a behavior not a device.” The signs were backed with American flags.

There was also red-white-and-blue-frostinged cake being offered for free to entice people to stay and chat.

One of the pro-gun people said he saw one person driving past flip him off.

More common was some friendly honking at the demonstrators.

A few people stopped to talk, but most everyone was polite, armed or not.

Benedict organized the group online at the website JH2A.