There were times, on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon in West Chester, when the Day of Resistance gathering felt like a heavily armed history class.
Hundreds of people stood, many with pistols on their hips or semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders, and listened to speakers talk about the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, about the Federalists versus the anti-Federalists debate, and the history of the legal theory of nullification.
“Isn’t this great,” said Lynette DeVine, of Middletown. Both she and her son, Reed, were standing with their AR-15s, listening to the speakers at The Square at Union Center. “I’m here to support the 2nd Amendment and my right to protect myself.”
Adam Purdue, 25, of Lebanon, was also there with his AR-15. “I’m worried about any gun laws that would try to take my weapon,” he said simply.
There were large yellow flags saying: “Don’t tread on me,” and hand-made signs identifying President Barack Obama as a problem.
The Florence event drew hundreds as well – organizers estimated about 1,000 — from throughout the area.
At the Florence rally, the crowd cheered keynote speaker Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Garrison) and other speakers who railed against federal efforts at mandated gun registration and “gun-free” school zones.
After the Sandy Hook shootings, Massie said, “I decided you could do something possibly with legislation to prevent another shooting like that — you could take a law off the books that creates vulnerable populations.”
“We will repeal the Gun Free School Zone,” he continued, to one of the largest ovations of the day.
Massie also got a huge reaction from the crowd in opposing a new move to allow doctors to ask if there’s a gun in patients’ homes.
“I advise you to tell your doctor the same thing I plan to tell mine. ‘No, doc, I brought mine with me!’” he said to more applause.
The Florence rally, about 90 minutes long, included sheriffs from Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant counties, who all said they would not enforce any infringement on the Second Amendment, and Boone County Constable Joe Kalil, who spoke for 40 minutes on the history of arms in America.
There was also a gun-control rally in Columbus, outside of City Hall, sponsored by a group called the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The Columbus Dispatch said more than 200 people rallied and called for gun control. Moms Demand Action wants to keep the gun control movement in the public consciousness following the December shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The group supports President Obama’s call for a series of new laws, including mandatory background checks before buying any firearm.
In West Chester, the keynote speaker was state Senator Kris Jordan, a Delaware County Republican. Earlier this month, Jordan co-sponsored Senate Bill 36, which, if passed, would prohibit firearms seizures, registration and bans in Ohio.
It would also include first degree felony charges against any law enforcement officer, state or federal, who attempted to enforce a firearm registration or firearm ban.
Jordan’s speech was less of a history lesson, and more a call to arms. But there was some history thrown in.
He spoke about the dangers of a “tyrannical” government and mentioned a “police state” and “bondage.” He assured the federal government that many gun owners would “defend ourselves and our liberties.”
He then referenced Ancient Greek history and a Spartan leader’s famous quote. When asked to lay down his arms, Jordan said, King Leonidas said: “Come and take them.”
Asked afterwards if he believed he was living under a tyrannical government, Jordan said, “I do believe they are trampling upon our freedoms.”
Asked if he thought he was living in bondage, Jordan smiled and said, “I believe our founders would probably say so.”
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