On the steps of the Washington State Capitol building in Olympia, about 200 gun-toting stalwarts endured a soaking rain Saturday afternoon to stand up for their Second Amendment rights, a scene repeated at state capitols across the country.
But where were the tens of thousands of gun owners whose rights have been under constant attack since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida? With the exception of Olympia, other venues appear to have enjoyed far better weather, but how likely is it that everyone’s lawn needed cutting or their garden needed weeding?
According to NPR and the Associated Press, “about 100 people at the event in Cheyenne, Wyo., more than 400 at the event in Dover, Del. and more than 135 people at the event in Atlanta, Ga. Organizers of the event in Augusta, Maine told the AP about 800 people showed up there.”
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In Richmond, Va., about 200 gun owners gathered at the event. Down in Texas, according to The Daily Beast, “a couple hundred pro-gun activists gathered outside the Texas Capitol Building in Austin.”
The Salem Statesman-Journal reported about 300 activists showed up at the Oregon World War II Memorial near the State Capitol in Salem. The newspaper noted by contrast that “More than 3,000 people attended the Salem event on March 24,” the date of the “March For Our Lives” gun control demonstrations across the country.
The Boston Globe reported that, “About 75 supporters of the Second Amendment gathered on the steps of the Massachusetts State House Saturday in a show of solidarity less than a month after thousands marched in Boston and other cities to push for stricter gun laws.”
Approximately 200 people showed up in Kalispell, Montana according to the Missoulian newspaper. The Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer reported that “Several hundred people gathered on Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh for a pro-Second Amendment rally…”
At the Olympia event, surprisingly held in the late afternoon when most of the other gatherings occurred in the morning or mid-day, local resident Charlie Kirry, wearing a cap emblazoned with the letters NRA, told Conservative Firing Line that he is concerned about gun law proposals.
“I hope that this fires people up,” he said, shrugging off the dreary Northwest rain.
Another activist, Ira Moser, had a sign from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms hanging from a string around his neck. Undaunted by the downpour, he warned that Washington “is going to become (like) California,” alluding to the Golden State’s extremist gun control laws.
Still, in the wake of the massive marches last month that stretched for blocks in many American cities, the pro-Second Amendment rallies got far less news coverage, especially when the weekend news was dominated by controversy surrounding ex-FBI Director James Comey’s book, and the vicious feud between him and President Donald Trump. At Olympia, it did not appear any other reporters turned out to cover the event.
At least Washington gun owners have a second shot at turning out a crowd. This coming Saturday, another gun rights rally is scheduled noon-3 p.m. on the Capitol steps. The “March For Our Rights” is expected to bring out a much larger crowd, and if Evergreen State activists hope to make an impression, it may be their last chance.