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Activists gather in Yuma for National Gun Appreciation Day
About 40 members of the Colorado River Tea Party gathered together Saturday to celebrate and promote the Second Amendment as part of National Gun Appreciation Day.
The activists, who gathered in the parking lot of Sprague's Sports, also protested proposed federal legislation, which if approved by Congress, will ban semiautomatic sporting rifles and limit the size of magazine clips. Both the White House and some members of Congress are contemplating the ban in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adult staff members dead.
“We are out here today celebrating not only the Constitution, but the Second Amendment in particular, because as you know our gun rights are under attack,” said Paul Jackson, Chairman of the Colorado River Tea Party and event organizer.
“We have to defend our Constitution, because if the government can limit our guns and what kind of guns we can buy, then they can start putting other limits on us – what kind of car to drive, what kind of food to eat. We are out here saying we stand for the Second Amendment, and don't take any of our rights away from us.”
Jackson is concerned any laws limiting the Second Amendment will be the first in a series of laws which will infringe on other constitutional rights.
“If they take away our Second Amendment, then they can take away the 14th Amendment, the 10th Amendment,” he said. “It will be a domino effect after that.”
Sally Kizer, Colorado River Tea Party communications chairperson, said the group is actively involved in protecting and promoting the civil rights of all American citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“It is important that people know what is going on. That is why we are out there letting people know we are here and the Tea Party is not going away. We are going to protect all of our citizens. That is what we do.”
That also means protecting the right to bear arms, she continued.
“We want to be able to protect our citizens that have their own guns, their permits, and we don't want to see them lose that right. We don't want to see our administration make the decision that we cannot have the guns.”
Law abiding citizens should not be punished for the actions of a small minority of criminals, Jackson said.
“People who commit crimes with guns are not law-abiding citizens. Killing is against the law, and they are already breaking that law, so they aren't going to follow a gun law.”
Tea Party member Gilbert Hernandez agreed.
“The government is blaming everybody for a few people's actions,” he said. “They do it in the classroom, at businesses. If somebody does something wrong, they punish everybody instead of going directly to (those responsible). They want to punish everybody.”
Hernandez called on politicians to respect the privacy and rights of all Americans, and to stop efforts to create a “nanny government.”
“Quit baby sitting. Obama is not going to prove nothing, the legislators are not going to prove nothing, with gun control. It hasn't worked anywhere else. What makes them think it is going to work here?”
Roy, who declined to give his last name, is a member of the Yuma Free Militia who came out to support the rally.
“It is your constitutional right to have a gun,” he said. “It is not about duck hunting. These people think it is about hunting. No. It is about freedom and liberty.”
The Colorado River Tea Party will remain active to curtail any laws which infringe on the Second Amendment, Jackson said.
“We can be vocal, and talk directly to the politicians and tell them we support them to stand strong for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.”
He also called for others who are not with the Tea Party to get involved.
“It is important that every American is active, and it is the responsibility of Americans to protect and participate in the governing process, and not to sit on the sidelines and just let stuff happen.”
For more information about the Colorado River Tea Party, log onto http://coloradoriverteaparty.org/. For more information about the Yuma Free Militia, call 287-7385 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.