An anticipated 2,500 Evergreen State gun owners will gather on the Capitol steps in Olympia Saturday in what is billed as the second annual “March for Our Rights,” which is already being portrayed as a turnout with white supremacist overtones by gun control groups.
The rally will begin at noon, and will likely draw some protesters, much like a far larger gathering of Second Amendment advocates in distant Indianapolis. There, the National Rifle Association is holding its 148th Annual meetings and exhibits, to be visited by President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and host of other dignitaries.
The NRA convenes against the backdrop of recent reports about financial and legal troubles, yet some 80,000-plus members are expected. NRA members, along with the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, will be present in Olympia as well. SAF and CCRKBA staff are also joining NRA in Indianapolis.
It seems hardly coincidental that gun prohibitionists in both locales have already tried to portray both gatherings as guided by extremism. When all else fails, presumably, the discussion turns to name-calling.
Last year in Olympia, more than 2,500 gun owners ranging in age from high school to retirement, showed up to defend their rights, which are being eroded by a Democrat-controlled Legislature and supported by anti-gun Democrats in the governor’s and attorney general’s offices. This year, depending on the weather, as many could appear, although they have some competition from the monthly Washington Arms Collectors gun show at the Puyallup fairgrounds. That show typically draws a Saturday crowd of several thousand.
What these events underscore is that gun owners and the Second Amendment aren’t going anywhere. Trump and Pence showing up for the second year in a row to join with NRA members is an acknowledgement of the importance of gun owner votes. With every Democrat now in the running to replace Trump in 2020 espousing some degree of gun control—such as Rep. Eric Swalwell did earlier this week—the choice for Second Amendment advocates seems clear.
Saturdays are always big at an NRA convention or a Puyallup gun show, and organizers of the rights rally in Olympia are hoping that holds true for their event.
A statement issued by 29 groups has condemned the Saturday rally in Olympa and have implored politicians not to attend.
“The undersigned organizations call on those Washington state legislators who are scheduled to speak – Jim Walsh, Robert Sutherland, Matt Shea, Brian Blake, Tom Dent and Phil Fortunato – to choose to not speak at the rally. At this critical time, politicians need to focus on the things that matter – good paying jobs, vibrant communities and livable neighborhoods – not go join an ideologically violent and threatening network.”—Statement from anti-gun groups
But are they really worried that a turnout of politicians boosts the legitimacy of a pro-Second Amendment argument?
Rights activists have long maintained that the anti-gun crusade wants to erase the Second Amendment. They consider the right to keep and bear arms a cornerstone of the Constitution, and an insurance policy against tyranny.
What else does one call it when one side of a debate wishes to silence the other side? In this case, it appears to rights activists heading to Olympia or Puyallup Saturday that anti-gunners aren’t just interested in crushing the Second Amendment, they also want to impair the First Amendment for the thousands expected at the Olympia event.
The same might be said for the NRA’s turnout in Indy this weekend. The gun prohibition lobby is furious that Trump and Pence are appearing. Their rhetoric appears designed to marginalize the NRA leadership, as illustrated by an Op-Ed from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America:
“Although the NRA bills itself as the voice of American gun owners, it’s increasingly become a fringe group for gun rights extremists rather than the hunters and sportsmen it claims to represent.”—Shannon Watts
But through the doors of the convention center this weekend, as well as on the capitol steps in Olympia, will be people from literally all walks of life and most likely all ethnic backgrounds. The Second Amendment, they say, is colorblind.
One side claims to hold the high moral ground. The other side merely wishes to be left alone.