Less than 24 hours after a Seattle-based gun control lobbying group announced a new citizen initiative to add age restrictions to the purchase of semi-auto modern sporting rifles, an estimated 2,500 Evergreen State gun owners gathered on the state capitol steps to say “not so fast.”
Dubbed the “March for Our Rights,” the rally was organized by a 26-year-old expectant mother and a veteran gun rights activist. Using social media and networking, they brought together the biggest gun rights gathering since more than 1,000 people gathered to protest passage of Initiative 594 in late 2014.
Organizer Tessa Ashley of Tacoma is opposed to the new initiative, which would raise the minimum age for purchasing a semi-auto rifle to 21, and requiring a waiting period and so-called “enhanced background check” and a safety training course, according to the Seattle Times.
“I want less government,” Ashley told a reporter. “We have too much government. I believe in small government.”
Ashley also accused gun prohibitionists of exploiting teens and younger children to push its anti-gun agenda.
Not a member of any gun rights organization, Ashley was excited at the turnout. A week earlier, another gun rights rally was held on the Capitol steps in a steady rain, and only about 200 people showed. This time around, the message was clear. Gun owners are ready fight back.
Several gun owners noted the Conservative Firing Line that banning semi-autos is something of a false flag goal because very few people are murdered with rifles of any kind.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2016, of the 127 people killed with firearms that year, only 11 were victims of rifle fire. The previous year, there were only three slayings where a rifle was confirmed as the murder weapon in a year with 141 firearms-related homicides. More people are stabbed fatally, or beaten to death in any given year.
The Alliance for Gun Responsibility announced its new gun control scheme at a rally of high school students in Seattle Friday. Several teens attending Saturday’s gun rights rally were steadfastly opposed to the idea. One 16-year-old, Aryeh Rohde, who attends South Whidbey High School, spoke the crowd and earned a rousing applause for taking an unpopular stand at his school in support of the Second Amendment.
Whether Saturday’s turnout signals a renewed energy among gun owners remains to be seen, but one thing is clear that none of the local media has noted.
A couple of thousand armed citizens gathered together carrying rifles and handguns, and nobody was harmed.