Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully over the weekend at state capitals around the United States 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 “Guns Across America’’ rallies on Saturday were promoted primarily through social media. The size of crowds at each location varied — from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York. Large crowds also turned out in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington state.
Some demonstrators in Olympia, Wash.; Phoenix; Salem, Ore.; and Salt Lake City came with holstered handguns or rifles on their backs. At the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, attendees gave a special round of applause for ‘‘the ladies that are packing.’’
The rallies at cities nationwide were organized by Eric Reed, an airline captain from Texas who in November started a group called ‘‘More Gun Control = More Crime.’’
They were held just after President Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals.
In Austin, Texas, the crowd swelled to more than 800 amid balmy temperatures. On the steps of the state Capitol, speakers took the microphone under a giant Texas flag with ‘‘Independent’’ stamped on it.
At the New York state Capitol in Albany, 2,000 turned out for a chilly rally, where they chanted ‘‘We the People,’’ ‘’USA,’’ and ‘‘Freedom.’’
The event took place four days after Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the nation’s toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions.