Local News

Monday, Feb 25 2013 06:11 PM

Rallies held to support Second Amendment rights

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

State Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, let the crowd at Saturday's "Day of Resistance" know she firmly supports their Second Amendment rights.

"Too often, some think additional laws are the answer and overreach with misguided legislation that affect more law-abiding citizens than criminals, thousands of whom have already been released early into our community because of realignment," Fuller said in an e-mailed statement Monday.

Raymond Mars estimated he was one of a little more than 2,000 people who attended the event at Bear Mountain Sports west of Highway 184 and south of Highway 58. He said he attended for two reasons: One, he's a military veteran, and two, he's pro-Second Amendment.

"Everyone was there for one reason, to show support for our right to bear arms and the right to tell the government they shall not infringe" upon that right, Mars said.

He said there was a festive atmosphere to the rally, and he enjoyed the speakers, including Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.

Grove acknowledged the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, saying, "It's a privilege and an honor to represent Kern County," according to a video of the event.

Grove touched on the importance the Second Amendment has had throughout the history of the U.S., saying it's deterred potential aggressors.

The Assemblywoman also spoke specifically to women. She said if you give a 120-pound woman a Glock .40 caliber and a "belly band," then "she's on equal footing with any man who tries to assault her."

Bakersfield was just one of many cities across the country that participated in rallies Saturday supporting gun ownership rights. The topic of gun control has been at the forefront of discussion since mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn.

The national gun debate even took a local focus following a Jan. 10 shooting at Taft Union High School that left one student with major injuries and another student under arrest and charged with offenses including two counts of attempted murder.

President Barack Obama announced a $500 million plan in January to tighten federal gun laws. Obama is urging Congress to pass new laws, some of which would set a minimum standard for the types of guns and ammunition that are commercially available.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood has said he has no issue with the president's 23 planned executive actions on guns because they mirror California law. He did, however, say he would not assist federal authorities if laws were passed to remove guns from homes of law-abiding citizens.

There are currently no such proposals.

Reuters reported about 1,000 people gathered at a rally in Brooksville, about an hour north of Tampa, holding signs that said "Stop the Gun Grabbers" and "Gun control isn't about guns, it's about control."

About 500 people, including families and children gathered at a rally in Denver, according to Reuters. Don Dobyns, a former policeman and one of the organizers, said he's earned the right to own guns, and others at the Denver rally echoed that sentiment.

"My parents didn't raise a victim and the government shouldn't try and make me one," 31-year-old Jennifer Burk told Reuters.

Reuters said Saturday's rallies were organized by Guns Across America, a group launched by Texas airline pilot Eric Reed, who has said that after he heard Obama talk about gun control on the day of the Connecticut massacre he thought gun owners should send a strong message to lawmakers in Washington. As of Saturday afternoon, the Facebook page for Guns Across America listed more than 20,000 people saying they intended to attend events planned mostly in state capitals.

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