Rallies for Gun Rights in 49 States
You've got the NRA vs. the Brady Campaign -- two heavy hitting lobbying forces on a collision course in Washington, D.C.
But significant action will also take place in the streets. Grass roots support for each side's position will probably tell the tale between victory and defeat.
Things got off to a good start today as rallies were held in dozens of state capitols -- 49 states in all -- in support of gun rights. Organized by a new group called Guns Across America, the demonstrations appeared to draw well given the short period of time to pull things together.
Hundreds of people are gathering in state capitals nationwide to rally against stricter gun control measures.
An estimated 600 people turned out so far for Saturday speeches in Austin, Texas. Many are carrying signs with messages such as "An Armed Society is a Polite Society" and "The Second Amendment Comes from God."
Meanwhile, police say hundreds more joined rallies in New England while organizers also have plans to gather in capital cites to the west.
Activists have promoted the "Guns Across America" rallies primarily via social media. They're being held days after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of gun-control proposals.
First-term Texas state Rep. Steve Toth is among attendees in Austin. He's one of several state officials nationwide who've proposed trying to curb federal gun restrictions in states.
It was the same elsewhere:
In Hartford, Conn. -- less than 50 miles from the site of the December 14 mass school shooting in Newtown -- police say about 1,000 people showed up on the Capitol grounds Saturday, urging state and federal authorities not to introduce new restrictions on gun ownership, saying such moves would erode their Second Amendment rights.
Task forces created by the legislature and Gov. Dannel Malloy are considering changes to state gun laws.
In Maryland, where Gov. Martin O'Malley is backing a comprehensive measure that includes a ban on assault weapons and new licensing requirements for handguns, a demonstration in Annapolis drew a large crowd to Lawyer's Mall in front the state capitol, where demonstrators carried signs reading, "Guns Save Lives," and "It's not about Guns, It's about Control."
A demonstration was also held in Albany, N.Y., where the nation's toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions were passed and signed into law last week.
"Gun Appreciation Day" as the rallies were themed, is a good way to unite the opposition to the president's gun control agenda. That opposition will only grow as activity on The Hill heats up.