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Second Amendment supporters rally at Augusta Common

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 7:16 PM
Last updated Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 11:58 AM
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One banner best expressed the sentiment of many at a pro-Second Amend­ment rally Saturday who fear their constitutional right to bear arms is threatened by proposed federal legislation: “Don’t tread on me.”

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Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Walter Ashley (left) and Sheriff Richard Roundtree (right) listen as Don Edwards speaks during the Second Amendment Rally.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Walter Ashley (left) and Sheriff Richard Roundtree (right) listen as Don Edwards speaks during the Second Amendment Rally.

The rally at Augusta Common drew more than 100 people, many of whom came with weapons, ranging from an 1863 Springfield rifle to a crossbow to an AR-15 semiautomatic.

The prevailing theme among those attending and speaking was that President Obama’s plan to, among other things, reinstate a ban on assault weapons and limit rounds in an ammunition magazine, represents another unwanted – and unnecessary – government intrusion.

“It’s none of their business why they need it or they don’t need it,” Neil Weems, a Harlem resident, said when asked why someone needs a high-capacity magazine. “The government has no right to ask that question. We are private citizens and have rights under the amendment. … It’s never justified for the government to require citizens to do things they have no business in. It’s just overextension of government.”

Tom Taber, a friend of Weems, said he takes issue with what he considers a sometimes unfair media portrayal of people who believe strongly in the Second Amendment and are law-abiding gun owners.

“I think there’s a purposeful effort by the administration and the press, the so-called mainstream media, to portray people like me – and I have a few guns – as some kind of a wild-eyed gun nut who is anti-government to the extent that I’m going to barricade myself in my house and hold off any government official that might try to talk to me, and that’s not the case,” said Tabor, an Augusta resident and Vietnam War veteran. “However, there is that aspect that can’t be forgotten and I again think that’s why the original Second Amendment was written: to protect the citizenry from a tyrannical government.”

Event organizers told attendees to bring weapons they are legally able to carry under Georgia law if they so wanted. Weems and Taber didn’t have a weapon on them, but Erik Jensen came with his Ruger Mini-14 scout rifle with a 30-round clip strapped across his back and a Sig Sauer P250 pistol on his hip, both semi-automatics.

“I want to show my support for these type of guns that are out here,” said Jensen, a Waynesboro resident and Army veteran. He said the guns were not loaded because he didn’t want any accidental discharge.

Marjorie LaPan did come loaded, carrying a Remington 12-gauge shotgun that can hold eight rounds. LaPan, who co-owns FastSigns on Washington Road with her husband, said they keep the weapon at the store for protection because of break-ins in the area around their business.

She said she didn’t want to see the Second Amendment infringed on, but she does support background checks to restrict guns from certain people, such as those with mental illness.

“I think we should be able to keep whatever kind of arms that we want,” LaPan said, adding that she has been a gun owner for more than a year.

As she spoke, Marie Vargas interrupted to question LaPan’s objection to gun control. Vargas said a nephew and his friend had been killed in Chicago about six months ago, and she believes something should be done to get guns off the streets.

“I’m not saying we should give up the rights to bear arms, but there’s got to be some kind of control,” Vargas said.

LaPan said she agreed that criminals should not have weapons. When Vargas brought up “crazy kids” killing students in schools, LaPan responded, “If there were people that were armed at the schools, they would take care of that.”

Vargas replied, “That’s what bothers me. I believe in the right to own arms, but too many arms are running the streets.”

After walking away from the nearly 10-minute conversation, Vargas said she mistakenly thought the rally was going to be about gun control.

“I don’t think I belong here,” she said.

GEORGIA LAW ON GUN CARRY

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126

Having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons; license requirement; exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, and other locations and conditions; penalties for violations

(a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.

(b) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.

GUN LEGISLATION FORUM

Georgia Regents University’s Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Social Work will present “Gun Violence and Gun Legislation: A Public Panel Forum” from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, at the Maxwell Theatre. The program is free and open to the public.

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TK3
562
Points
TK3 02/09/13 - 08:53 pm
14
2
Beware Big Brother !

Its NOT about hunting or sports. The Second Amendment protects the rest and Shall NOT be Infringed (please look up infringed) !

"It's about banning your guns ... PERIOD!" LaPierre wrote in a January email to the NRA's 4 million-plus members.

Brad Owens
4583
Points
Brad Owens 02/09/13 - 09:11 pm
15
3
Great Libertarian event...America at its finest

It was great to see so many patriots exercising their rights on the Augusta Commons today.

So many citizens showing their support for the Bill of Rights, and the 2nd amendment in particular, was a reassuring sight in these troubling times.

Kudos to Sheriff Roundtree for stopping by this event and showing his support for the Bill of Rights and law abiding gun owners.

As citizens we need to be heard and there were at least 200 people at the height of the rally. Lots of voices, active voices.

Brad

dichotomy
33485
Points
dichotomy 02/09/13 - 09:25 pm
15
2
“I Am Not Going To Take Your

“I Am Not Going To Take Your Guns Away, That Just Ain't True”.....Obama 2008

Kind of like "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor".......or......"if you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance"......or......"it will lower the cost of healthcare".......or....."I will cut the defict in half in my first term".......ad infinitum.

If Obama's mouth is moving, he is lying.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 02/09/13 - 09:30 pm
10
1
American RIGHTS under attack

"In the end, people of good will must always turn to the Second Amendment, as the Framers and Founders intended when writing the Bill of Rights—and even Alexander Hamilton, who did not desire a federal Bill of Rights, acknowledged in the Federalist Papers. Ultimately, the Second Amendment rests on three pillars—Defense of Self, Defense of the Body Public, and Preservation of Liberty.

Those in power that infringe on and trash the Constitution/Bill Of RIGHTS must foolishly believe "Liberty or Death" has no meaning to Americans anymore.

Frank I
1191
Points
Frank I 02/09/13 - 10:07 pm
10
2
I have to say..

this is a fine example of mediocre journalism.. not one mention of the group that organized the rally, nor even an interview remark.. I don't even think a representative from the Chronicle took the time to interview event organizers.. shame..

Frank I
1191
Points
Frank I 02/09/13 - 10:10 pm
8
1
Successful

In my opinion the rally succeeded in what it was designed to do. There was a larger turnout than some of us expected and it succeeded in opening dialogue in this area. To bring people out and speak on the issue, and to show that we will not lie down while others attempt to take away our rights.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 02/09/13 - 10:28 pm
0
0
Vargas was right, she didn't belong.
Unpublished

She seems to be under the delusion, like many others, that a law or ban keeps criminals from acting like the uncivilized scum they are. You would have a better chance to deter such criminal behavior by enforcing appropriate and swift punishment to those who don't deserve to live in a civilized society. Send the message it won't be tolerated as opposed to the bleeding heart message "everyone deserves a 10th or 20th chance even if it costs innocent lives".

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 02/09/13 - 10:40 pm
0
0
Ya know whats really sad??
Unpublished

If just a small fraction of the passion thats put into gun control and second hand smoke was put into getting repeat offending drunk drivers off the street, thousands and thousands of innocent lives, adult and children, in numbers that way surpass all these school, theatre, and mall shootings combined would be saved in less than a year ....every year. Odd how 20 at 1 time every now and then creates outrage and a ban to punish innocent citizens yet 20+ a day gets other criminals a fine and a class before you are allowed to do it again. SMH

harley_52
23614
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harley_52 02/09/13 - 10:56 pm
9
1
A Very Successful Event...

....and some good speakers. Brad Owens did a good job at building a little enthusiasm and all but one of the other speakers was right on target as well. I especially liked the last speaker (one of the regional Libertarian Party leaders) who presented the history of gun control here in the USA, making the case that it has always had racial underpinning which most people have never considered, I don't think. GeorgiaCarry.org is a fine organization that has done a lot to help get Georgia's gun laws rational and sensible. I wasn't a member before today's event, but I will soon be.

itsanotherday1
43672
Points
itsanotherday1 02/09/13 - 11:28 pm
7
1
I wish someone would have

I wish someone would have politely and sincerely engaged Ms. Vargas and asked her exactly which legislation she would propose that would have saved her relatives; legislation that does not infringe upon the second amendment.

She is like so many others (I have been guilty myself) that just say "something has to be done", but they have no clue what.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 02/10/13 - 12:06 am
7
1
With all due respect to Ms. Vargas....

....doesn't she realize that her nephew and his friend lived in a city with some of the nations strictest gun laws, but yet a city with the country's highest murder rate?....
To deny a correlation is to deny logic....
So sorry for your loss Ms. Vargas, but my guess is that the gun is less to blame, than is the person who killed your relative....

myfather15
55725
Points
myfather15 02/10/13 - 01:00 am
5
1
Our Military is the best in

Our Military is the best in the world, there is no doubt about it. I was active duty in the Marine Corps for 1993-1997, so I know very well how good we are. But our military is NOT the only reason we've never been invaded or attacked on the MAINLAND. EVERY Country fears the American people, thats a FACT.

Yamamoto stated "You can't invade America's mainland, there would be a gun behind every blade of grass." This was right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They wouldn't DARE come to this mainland because victory for ANYONE that did, would be impossible.

Patrick Henry; writing the "Call to arms" in 1775 said "Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us."

Did you get that? INVINCIBLE!! Patrick Henry was RIGHT, we were invincible THEN and we are NOW, unless you take modern firearms away from us and leave us with revolvers. This would ONLY embolden our enemies, because it would do NOTHING to deter gun crimes!!

countyman
20229
Points
countyman 02/10/13 - 02:07 am
4
9
Conservativeman... I'm

Conservativeman... I'm positive a number of cities(small to large) have a higher murder rate than Chicago.

I think the media tends to concentrate on Chicago because of the president(from Chicago), and the gun laws inside of the city.

KSL
131197
Points
KSL 02/10/13 - 03:04 am
5
4
cm

No facts or figures. Just opinion

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 02/10/13 - 07:41 am
5
5
" a city with some of the

" a city with some of the nations strictest gun laws, but yet a city with the country's highest murder rate?"

Back in the days of dry counties there were always liquor stores right across the county line that did booming businesses. As long as states have slack regulations illegal guns will show up all across the nation. Georgia actually leads the nation in guns used in crimes in other states (13%). The others that continue to lead the nation are FL, SC, and VA. Many head up I-95 to NY and other large cities in the NE, and many head west along I-20. The bulk of Chicago's illegal guns come from rural Illinois and Indiana, along with quite a few from MS, KY, MO, and AR, again following the Interstate System.

Riverman1
84889
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 08:04 am
11
1
Well, Techfan, maybe we

Techfan, you are right. We saw how Prohibition worked. It encouraged lawlessness. Maybe we should tell all those from NY buying weapons down here to work to change THEIR state laws so they can buy up there.

Riverman1
84889
Points
Riverman1 02/10/13 - 08:05 am
7
2
GiantsAllDay, excellent post

GiantsAllDay, excellent post and information about current day California.

KSL
131197
Points
KSL 02/10/13 - 08:20 am
5
2
Techfan

Ban the sale of guns in the US and watch what happens.

Truth Matters
6982
Points
Truth Matters 02/10/13 - 08:27 am
4
2
Guns

Has Wayne LaPieere given a sound reason why he no longer supports closing the gun show loophole? Congrats to Chris Wallace for dressing him down regarding the false equivalence of children of the president receiving secret service protection compared to children of non high level targets.

That commercial was low class and gun rights advocates can heighten their credibility by saying so.

Where can I go to find the exact wording of the laws to take away people's gun. They do not exist. It is disingenuous of LaPierre to criticize laws not being enforced when the NRA has stopped any meaningful enforcement through threats to Dems and Reps alike.

Disclaimer: I am not anti gun ownership but I know some people, I hate to admit it but some in my extended family, who should not be within a year's distance to a gun.

KSL
131197
Points
KSL 02/10/13 - 08:41 am
3
3
Gee truth

I am sorry. I don't know a single person in my extended family who should not be allowed to own a gun.

KSL
131197
Points
KSL 02/10/13 - 08:51 am
4
3
Well, I am not sorry

Well, I am not sorry actually. I am proud of my gun enabled ancestors who settled in this country from 1620 and on, none of whom have murdered anyone.

maandpa
427
Points
maandpa 02/10/13 - 08:54 am
4
6
Children, really?

When scanning the photos of the rally, I shook my head in disbelief when viewing photos of children who were brought to the rally with toy guns.

KSL
131197
Points
KSL 02/10/13 - 09:07 am
1
4
Why

I am a female and I had a cap pistol early on! I have yet to do anyone any harm!

seenitB4
88071
Points
seenitB4 02/10/13 - 09:12 am
3
2
Giants all day

GREAT POST!

maandpa
427
Points
maandpa 02/10/13 - 09:12 am
6
2
Because

I had a cap pistol too when a child. The point is it hurts the integrity of the rally. I totally support the rally and am a gun owner myself. But I would not bring my child with a toy gun strapped to him.

harley_52
23614
Points
harley_52 02/10/13 - 09:54 am
4
3
"But I would not bring my child with a toy gun strapped to him."

Then don't.

Nobody is forcing you to.

I was there, so were plenty of policemen and even the Sheriff. Since I didn't see anybody arrested, I'll assume no laws were broken.

What I saw there was 200+ citizens exercising their Constitutional rights. No angry protests. Just polite people with smiling faces concerned about their rights being infringed upon. They picked up all their trash. They hurt nobody. They made their point.

If my father had taken me to such an event when I was a little boy, I would have been very disappointed if he didn't let me bring a toy gun along.

harley_52
23614
Points
harley_52 02/10/13 - 09:59 am
3
1
"Where can I go to find the exact wording of the laws....

....to take away people's gun."

A good place to start would be @GiantsAllDay's 2:31 AM post. You can get a summary as explained by a California policeman. Then use Google for the specific wording.

KSL
131197
Points
KSL 02/10/13 - 10:04 am
3
3
How does it hurt

The parents were just showing kids can handle it. Just like we could. It is a natural reaction to news reports of young children being suspended from school for pointing a finger like a gun. GOOD GRIEF!

harley_52
23614
Points
harley_52 02/10/13 - 10:10 am
4
1
"Congrats to Chris Wallace....

....for dressing him down regarding the false equivalence of children of the president receiving secret service protection compared to children of non high level targets."

As a fan of Chris Wallace, I've never seen him so emotional, nor as wrong, as when he discussed this ad with LaPierre.

Children of the ruling class have no more right to be protected at school than the children of the ruled. They might be in a little more danger, but that's why they have thirteen armed guards at their school instead of just three or four.

The ad wasn't aimed at his children, however. Nobody would deny their right to be protected by armed guards. The focus of the ad was President Obama himself whose stunning hypocrisy allows him to send his kids (and the kids of other rich and famous) to a school with armed guards while at the same time opposing such protection for the children of the ruled.

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