About 75 supporters of the Second Amendment gathered on the steps of the Massachusetts State House Saturday in a show of solidarity less than a month after thousands marched in Boston and other cities to push for stricter gun laws.
The vast majority of those who attended the 2 p.m. rally were “Three Percenters,” a national group named for the approximately 3 percent of colonists who took up arms to fight the British in the American Revolution.
Stephen Fasshauer, 63, a member of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Patriot III% said he was there to protest the state’s 20-year ban on assault weapons, upheld by a federal judge earlier this month.
“I’m looking forward to the Supreme Court issuing a decision based on the original intent [of the Second Amendment], and not having federal judges legislate from the bench,” he said.
The rally was one of several held at state capitols across the country Saturday in response to the student-led marches calling for tougher gun control laws in the aftermath of the February shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school that killed 17 people.
“In the case of the Parkland shooting, it wasn’t the Second Amendment that failed, it was the government that failed” Fasshauer said. “If the shooter has been charged with assault — every gun requires background checks. The police had been called about him more than 20 times.”
The rally followed no set program, and some vented about their confusion on social media.
“This apparent lack of advance organization may partially explain why we have 402 confirmed attending and the anti gun people have TENS OF THOUSANDS show up for their national rallies,” one wrote on the event’s Facebook page.
With no sound system available, two speakers were forced to shout into the crowd as they spoke from the steps.
“There is a strong wind blowing in this world, and it’s blowing to the right,” said Scott Lively, an Independent candidate for governor said to cheers. “[Liberals] took this country away from us, and we can take it back.”
“Don’t give up your guns, don’t give up your bump stocks,” said the other speaker, who identified himself only as Dave. “If you give up your guns, you’re giving up your freedom and your liberty.”
After about two hours, the crowd dispersed.
Daniel J. Gonzalez, a 26-year-old graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he was pleased with his side’s turnout.
“Part of me may have been half-expecting no people,” he said. “I kind of wish there were people counter-protesting so we could talk, though.”
He had a sign that read, “I also wish to stop mass shootings. I just believe that more gun control is not the answer. Let’s talk about it!”Martha Schick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MarthaSchick.