An operation called the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans organized pro-gun rights protests in various state capitols over he weekend, though some complained of poor communication. The protests were primarily promoted on the group’s Facebook page. As a result, the crowds were generally small. The Daily Beast took pleasure in calling the turnout “measly.”
“It really means a lot to see everyone here standing up for our rights. But the truth is we shouldn’t have to,” said Derek Wills, one of the event’s speakers representing the activist group Lone Star Gun Rights. Wills also hosts a podcast called Lone Star Gun Talk. “Our founding fathers would be rolling in our graves right now if they could see the State of our Union today. The freedom we so proudly boast is but a shadow of its former self.”
In Vermont — a constitutional carry state — pro-2A protestors were reeling over what they saw as a betrayal by GOP Governor Phil Scott who signed a sweeping new gun control bill into law last week. Vermonters now have to be 21 to purchase a firearm, navigate universal background checks and deal with a 10-round magazine limit. Their bump fire stocks are now illegal, too.
At the Montpelier protest Saturday, John Nagle addressed the crowd:
“Three days ago, on these steps, we were betrayed,” Nagle said, clad in a dark red T-shirt bearing the image of a firearm and the slogan ‘I will not comply’ over camouflage-printed long sleeves. “We were promised no new gun laws.”
Conservatives, he said, have been hiding in the shadows.
“This is an intellectual battle, and we need to come out as the winners,” he said. “No more compromise—we vote them out.”
Attendees were in no mood for compromise.
The crowd broke out into chants of “Dump Phil Scott” as Deb Billado, the chairwoman of the Vermont Republican Party, got up to speak, telling her that they would not support Scott as the Republican nominee for governor.
“It’s everyone’s choice to take back to the polls,” she told the crowd. “I don’t pick winners or losers.”
Billado did not directly criticize Scott, but emphasized the party is “committed without reservation to personal liberty,” including the right to keep and bear arms.
They were just as riled up in Massachusetts.
Dave Kopacz, a conservation agent from Palmer, MA, took to the statehouse steps, making for the most lively moment in the two-hour-get together.
“I hear an awful lot as it relates to the Second Amendment talking about deer hunting, target shooting, and it has nothing to do with those things, completely incidental,” he yelled, wearing jeans, a green Three (Percenter) T-Shirt, flannel, a black leather vest, long gray hair held back in a ponytail, a handlebar moustache, and a black baseball cap which read, “It Matters How You Stand.”
“The Second Amendment in my opinion and the opinion of many is for killing tyrants! It’s about defending this country and this people and this land against an overly aggressive government. It’s about time we start talking this way. When they say, ‘Do you need an AR-15 to kill deer?’ you say, ‘No!” he yelled.
“It’s for killing tyrants!”
When asked to name the tyrants, Kopacz said it was too long of a list. “I don’t think it would be fair to name a few, there are many of them,” he said, adding that the list included elected officials.
“There are some in office right now, there are some that have been in office. We are seeing a systemic lack of respect for the constitution as a whole.”