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Over a thousand show up to pro-gun rally at Washington’s capitol

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January 20, 2013 in U.S. News

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Yesterday, over a thousand showed up in Washington state’s capital city to rally for gun rights as part of the national “Guns Across America” event.

The crowd was diverse: young, old, male, female, business-casual, hipster, rural, metropolitan, black, white.

Semi-automatic rifles could be seen slung on backs; pistols were holstered to belts. One attendee remarked, “I’ve never felt so safe.”

Various state and local political leaders spoke to the crowd at noon. Handmade signs held high touting quotes and catchphrases encapsulating the pro-gun ethos could be seen everywhere.

The real excitement, though, started when a large group of protesters gathered on both sides of Capitol Way to show signs to passing traffic. Nearly every car honked in approval. One woman proudly held a semi-automatic rifle out a passenger-side window, drawing loud approval from the crowd.

A lone sign in support of gun restriction could be seen in the crowd, which read, “Seniors for Gun Control.”

Bruce Balensiefer, a “liberty” activist from West Seattle felt the protest in Olympia was an important display of what gun owners look like.

“I came to the rally today to show folks here at the capitol that responsible gun owners in Washington are people just like you and me and everyday folks who have jobs and families.”

Yesterday’s rally came largely in response to the recent calls for the ban of assault weapons by the president and various legislators.

When asked whether or not he felt assault rifles were dangerous, Balensiefer remarked, “We need to define the term ‘assault rifle’ I believe.

“I think the term ‘assault rifle’ has become a catch-all for anything that looks like a military-style weapon, whether or not it functions as such. I think the important distinction to remember is that most rifles in civilian hands are semi-automatic which means they don’t spray bullets as long as you hold the trigger. The word ‘assault rifle’ really lends itself to a fully automatic weapon.”

As for the overall goal of the pro-gun rights movement, Balensiefer said this:

I think the number one thing is a healthy respect for the true responsible use of a firearm in this nation. I think that the first thing is Americans in general remembering that firearms are nothing but property that can be used for good or for ill and that the important thing is the owner, not the actual weapon itself.

I think that most gun owners just want to be responsible. They want to be able to go hunting for sport or defend themselves as is their natural right, and the important thing is that we have responsible owners – that we don’t vilify the machinery.

Click through to original article to see slideshow of attendees.


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