Thousands rally against gun control | NevadaAppeal.com

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Thousands rally against gun control

Photos by Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealLinda Foster of Gardnerville waves to cars in front of the Legislature. Foster took part in the “Guns Across America” rally in support of Second Amendment rights.

AUSTIN, Texas — Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully Saturday at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter limits on firearms, with demonstrators carrying rifles and pistols in some places while those elsewhere settled for waving hand-scrawled signs or screaming themselves hoarse. The size of crowds at each location varied — from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York. Between the Capitol and Legislative grounds, hundreds turned out in Carson City for the peaceful rally. Activists promoted the “Guns Across America” rallies primarily through social media. They were being held just after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals. The crowd swelled to more than 800 amid balmy temperatures on the steps of the pink-hued Capitol in Austin, where speakers took the microphone under a giant Texas flag with “Independent” across it. “The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them,” said state Rep. Steve Toth, referencing last month’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.Toth, a first-term Republican lawmaker from outside Houston, has introduced legislation banning within Texas any future federal limits on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, though such a measure would violate the U.S. Constitution. Rallies at statehouses nationwide were organized by Eric Reed, an airline captain from the Houston area who in November started a group called “More Gun Control (equals) More Crime.” Its Facebook page has been “liked” by more than 17,000 people.Capitol rallies also took place in Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin, among other states. William Lawson drove more than four hours to attend the Austin protest, he held up a sign reading “Modern Musket” over the image of an assault rifle and the words, “An American Tradition since 1776.”“I’m not some wild-eyed person who wants to fight in the streets,” Lawson said. “This is a country of laws. But I want to protect our Constitution.”Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson conceded that the Second Amendment sometimes leads to killings, but he told the crowd that the First Amendment can be just as dangerous. Patterson said news coverage of those responsible for mass shootings can spark copy-cat shootings.“All of us here, together, are right about our liberty,” Patterson said. “And we will not back down.”