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Reader Mike C. writes:

A Second Amendment rally is planned for 9:00 AM this Saturday August 27 in Butler Pennsylvania, a blue-collar county seat 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. While Second Amendment rallies are common, this one is unique; the mayor of Butler, Tom Donaldson, has proclaimed the day of the rally to be an official Open Carry Day in the city.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mayor Donaldson last night, interviewing him over a beer at one of his usual haunts, the Butler American Legion.

The mayor won election in 2013, running on a law-and-order, pro-2nd Amendment platform. His lopsided 66-to-34% victory unseated Margaret Stock, one of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He says his police force will have no issues with crowds of rally-goers openly carrying their weapons. “My police are very firm, but they’re also very knowledgeable, and they respect people’s rights, especially the Second Amendment right”, he said.

Support for Second Amendment rights extends throughout Butler County. Local legislators, both state and federal, are strong supporters of the right to keep and bear arms.  Assistant District Attorney Ben Simon will speak at the rally, along with County Sheriff Mike Slupe. At last year’s rally, Sheriff Slupe promised to do everything in his power to stop the federal government from coming and enforcing unconstitutional gun laws in Butler.  “He’ll be the other guy at the bridge with me. We’ll probably both be taken out by the same tank, “ the mayor laughed.

“I believe in an armed citizenry, because you’re your first immediate protection. When that police officer is on the other side of town handling a domestic, and you’re getting robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint it might take him 15 or 20 minutes to clear that domestic up, and you’re out here all by yourself, so you need to be prepared to defend and protect yourself, to the fullest extent that the law allows, and to do so wisely.”

The mayor said he learned that from personal experience.  As a police officer on patrol one night, he was badly beaten by three assailants.   He gives an account of being on his back, his head being viciously battered, when he drew his revolver.  One attacker stepped on his arm.  Being unable to aim, all he could do was to fire the rounds, emptying his gun so his attackers couldn’t use it against him.  They ran off, and he waited 15 long minutes for help to arrive from neighboring departments.  He now carries his 1911 pistol everywhere he goes.

He is a staunch Second Amendment advocate. “When we talk about it, when we exercise our rights, we must be nuts, we must be radicals, we must be dangerous. We’re not. We’re law-abiding citizens.” He recounted a question about his open carry proclamation from a local newspaper reporter: “’Why would you do that? Open carry is legal’, the reporter asked. ‘Why’d I do it? You just proved why I did it.’ I said ‘You called me, didn’t you?’ He said, ‘Yeah’. I said ‘That’s why.’ I wanted to draw attention to this [rally]. I want to do anything I can to support the cause.”

The rally was started last year by Rich Wilson, a retired police officer and regional coordinator for Firearms Owners Against Crime (FOAC), Pennsylvania’s leading Second Amendment advocacy group. With little planning or promotion, the small crowd at last year’s rally did not do justice to the quality of the speakers. This year, an ad hoc committee (which includes this author) has been planning the rally for weeks. Attendance at this year’s rally is expected to be much larger than last year’s, and the hope is to grow larger year after year.


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  1. I don’t care for casual talk of shooting people or being shot. It gets people riled up and some may end up making foolish and counterproductive decisions. These violent delights have violent ends, you know.

    More importantly, it turns off would-be supporters who might otherwise entertain serious discussion of peaceful, constitutional, dissolution of America into sovereign states.

    Hold the rally and give the speeches, but leave the unsubtle, uncivil allusions to violence at home. It’s a 2A rally attended by armed supporters. The subtext is already obvious. Don’t over play your hand and get dismissed as wackos.

    • See, I disagree.

      Standing firm for the 2nd amendment without mention of the shooting of people is part of the problem.

      We harp constantly that the 2nd isn’t about hunting but when someone mentions the fact that you have to actually shoot another person, all of a sudden pro carry people are pro murder.

      You think the person trying to take your life cares about you as a person and what your life is worth?

      This is an ongoing problem with this country.

      A bear attacks someone and everyone demonizes the man because he should have used “more humane and gentler techniques” to kill the bear that ways trying to kill him in any way it could no matter how painful.

      Bull ! Take that sissy stuff elsewhere.

      You try to kill me or my family I will try to kill you back as swiftly as possible, end of story.

      So yes, stand up for your right to defend yourself with life threatening means!

      Stop beating around the bush and giving the anti-guns more ammo and reasons to say we don’t need them.
      If you’re just going to wave it at the bad guy, then why have bullets?!?

    • (1) It’s hyperbole; you’re reading too much into it, and (2) Mayor Donaldson proceeded it with something along these lines: “I know this will get some people riled up, but…” One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but certainly a bit of a devilish streak.

      • It’s impossible to read too much into hyperbole. It is what it is. In this case, it’s empty tough talk, which I acknowledged. I don’t care for it.

        What you really mean is that I’m reading too much into his intentions. I’m not, though, as I noted the risk is with others taking it seriously or with others thinking he takes it seriously. I didn’t say the risk was with him acting on anything.

      • Hmmm…..there are how many gun owners in America? Maybe 80-100 million?

        And the grabbers have won four of the past six presidential elections, while poised to win another? Any election could turn on this issue alone, but they don’t. The votes are there. The will is weak.

        Meh, gun owners already are irrelevant.

  2. Sounds like a great mayor. BTW Gunbroker’s biggest seller Sportsmans Supply is in Butler-I wonder if they are helping with this? Always a great deal from SS…

    • I stop at Sportsmans Supply when I am in Butler (about 45 minutes from home). They have a ridiculous amount of guns and ammo stuffed into their building. They really need a bigger place. Always fun to go in and root around.

      • Oh I have no idea about their shop(other than being in Butler). They sell 99% of there offerings onGB with no reserve-and have a great rating. They no doubt lose $ on some stuff too…

    • Grew up in nearby Mercer co and neverr knew Sportsman was in Butler. Now I got another reason to visit the parents. Heck my whole mothers side of the family lives in Butler.

  3. Butler County is also home to PA State Representative Daryl Metcalfe. Big time 2A guy and all around conservative. He organizes the 2nd Amendment Rally at the capitol every year. He is like a bulldog when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, government waste, and other conservative issues.

  4. That got me scratching my head. PA is already an open carry state. Our state constitution basically says Philly is the only city with the right to require an open carry to have a CCP. So why are we suddenly allowed to OC in Butler?

    • You’ve always been allowed to OC in Butler. As explained in the article, the mayor made the proclamation to draw attention to the event.

      It also shows the mayor’s commitment to 2A rights. So many of our politicians pay lip service to the Second Amendment, but then won’t lift a finger to push pro-gun legislation through or to ensure that law enforcement respects our rights. He’s putting his money where his mouth is.

  5. I’m in NJ. my in-laws live in Penn Hills. Butler is where my wife’s grandfather used to live, one of her uncles lives, and a cousin of hers lives (she has a family tree that resembles the fattest christmas tree you can imagine.) Next time, put up details earlier about when this rally will be held, and I’ll be sure to visit to attend.

  6. Hard to say how many we will get this year… anywhere between 100 and 3oo I suspect.
    Its located in Diamond Park which is across from the Butler County Courthouse.
    300 S, Main St,
    Butler, Pa 16001

    You wont want to miss this…
    Hope to see you there.

  7. Wish I’d known sooner. It’s 8:50 AM and I’ll never make it in time.
    I’ve known Mike Slupe for years. Since he was an officer in Evans City.
    He’s a good man and one person I would trust to always have good judgement. If he’s in on this it’s a positive thing.

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