On a brisk and windy Saturday afternoon, a couple of hundred pro-gun activists gathered in front of the Texas Capitol building in Austin. The organizers of the event aimed to spread awareness and information about their Second Amendment rights, as the arms control movement has gained substantial momentum following the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida.
"It really means a lot to see everyone standing here for our rights. But the truth is that we should not have to," said Derek Wills, one of the speakers at the event representing the activist group Lone Star Gun Rights. Wills also hosts a podcast called Lone Star Gun Talk. "Our founding fathers would be rolling in our graves at this time if they could see the state of our Union today, the freedom that we proudly pride ourselves on is just a shadow of what it was."
The Austin demonstration was just one of 50 demonstrations organized in state capitals throughout the country by the National Constituent Coalition of Patriotic Americans.
Fewer than a hundred armed activists gathered in front of the Massachusetts State House for a lukewarm and ill-organized demonstration in support of the protection of Second Amendment Rights.
The majority of those gathered were men, and they dressed in olive green in support of the Tres Percentros, a group named for what they say was the 3 percent of the American civil population that fought in the American Revolution. The national branch of the group has pledged to take armed resistance against those who threaten to shoot. Several members also claimed to be affiliated with the far-right Proud Boys, some in the margin said they were not affiliated with any group.
"We are here to support the Second Amendment," said one of them, Three Percenter, named Colin, 26, of South Shore, who refused to give his name for fear that he would publicly identify himself and others in his group would put them in danger of gun control activists and put "targets on our backs".
In Austin, many local assistants proudly displayed concealed firearms, with some walking outside the Capitol with rifles and automatic weapons strapped to their chests. Darren Michado, an Air Force veteran, wore uniform and was visibly tied with three pistols spread all over his body.
"The only limitation [to gun control] that could happen is to eliminate all stupid gun laws and allow American citizens to be armed," Michado said. "An armed society is an educated society."
These assemblies were a response to the March for Our Lives events held last month in major cities in the United States, including Austin. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered locally, including actor Matthew McConaughey and Austin Mayor Steve Adler, to march down Congress Avenue and hold a rally on the steps of the Capitol.
Wills and the other two hundred attendees addressed directly to the gun control advocates Saturday.
"They refuse to even acknowledge the fact that you can not legislate evil in extinction, I'm sorry to say to each of those people who believe in the Never Again hashtag that they are incredibly naive," Wills said. "Everything that will disarm us will make this country a much more dangerous place."
One of the main disputes among pro-weapons protesters was that of the young leaders of the arms control movement. Parkland student David Hogg was mentioned by name several times, and a 26-year-old activist who would only call his first name Jon lamented that "we have become an emotional spiral nation."
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In Boston, the effect of Parkland students could also be seen. Stephen Fasshauer, 63, the designated public relations person in the group in Boston, says the group met in part to protest against student activism in the wake of the Parkland shooting, "There have been attacks on the Second Amendment lately. part of the children, what they are doing is trying to renounce our rights over the government that has failed them. " He says mass murder could have been avoided if the government had found ways to prosecute Nikolas Cruz before.
He said he was frustrated by the low turnout. "It's a range fault," he said.
The feeling was reflected in Austin. Next to Jon, the 26-year-old activist, was Wendell Taylor, who carried a sign that said: "I would use the advantage of an AR-15 with 30 rounds to defend my property, my friends, my family and my freedom. like that? "
" Young people can fill a crowd, but they should not be the main speakers, "said Taylor, 23. "His wisdom is eh."
Emily Grisham is the mother of three children and echoed the concern. Grisham's husband, CJ Grisham, is the president and founder of Open Carry Texas, a defense group that educates Texans about the state's right to legislate and press elected officials to repeal the gun ban.
"I do not think it's fair for us, as adults, we're forced to listen to the adolescents' logic, which is probably being controlled by other adults," Emily said.
"I think there is a massive effort to progressively remove our rights until the second amendment goes, that is true," he added. "People say:" Oh, we're not trying to take your guns away. "That's a fake, they're trying to take away our guns in whatever shape or size they can."
Jerry Mares considered it his "lucky day" when he learned that the demonstration in favor of weapons coincided with his College Republicans convention. The Abilene Christian University student really slipped away from his convention to pursue his passion: "spread the truth about the Second Amendment," which includes rectifying media narratives about gun control.
"The instrument used to commit the atrocity is blamed and responsible instead of the individual, I think it's ridiculous to blame an inanimate object for what happens, just because it's black and frightening," said Mares. "It seems you want to blame the spoons for fattening people or you want to blame the opioids for killing people, when people use the product."
"If there was a law that could stop the mass shooting, it would be because of that", Mares added, "But I can not think of a law that stops a mass shooting."
Some in Massachusetts took it even further.
Dave Kopacz, a conservation agent from Palmer, MA, took the steps of the state office, doing for the liveliest moment at the two-hour meeting.
"I've heard a lot about the Second Amendment talking about deer hunting, target shooting and it has nothing to do with those things, it's completely fortuitous" he shouted, wearing jeans, a green Three Presenter T-shirt, flannel, black leather waistcoat, long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, a mustache on the handlebar and a black baseball cap that said: "It matters how are you "
" The Second Amendment in my opinion and the opinion of many is to kill tyrants! It's about defending this country and these people and this land against an overly aggressive government. It's about time we started talking like this. When they say: "Do you need an AR-15 to kill deer?", You say: "No!", He shouted.
"It's to kill tyrants!"
When asked to name the tyrants, Kopacz said it was too long a list. "I do not think it's fair to name a few, there are many," he said, adding that the list includes elected officials.
"There are some in the office right now, there are some who have been in the office, we are seeing a systemic lack of respect for the constitution as a whole"