AP Photo/Morgan Lee
They were thousands of miles away from each other, but gun owners in Kentucky and New Mexico rallied at their respective state capitols on Friday in opposition to red flag legislation that’s been introduced in both states.
The Courier-Journal newspaper in Kentucky reported that about 100 gun owners were on hand to lobby against the red flag bill, including a few who showed up from Virginia to lend their support.
Met these guys at the 2A rally. They drove 10 hours from Virginia to “stand in the rain with complete strangers.” pic.twitter.com/jZHo7SCXa6
— Jonathan Bullington (@jrbullington) January 31, 2020
Dick Heller of DC v Heller fame was on hand to speak, as was Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie, who held what he called the “first assault rifle” as he addressed the crowd.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 31, 2020
The media coverage of the rally left much to be desired, frankly. WKYT-TV, for example, seems to be confused about which Virginia is ramming through gun control bills.
A few gun-related bills have been introduced during the 2020 legislative session.
One bill would “require the owners of registered assault weapons to store the weapons in a manner which renders them inoperable to unauthorized users.”
Participants in a similar rally in early January at the VA post in Frankfort said they were concerned newly proposed gun restriction laws in neighboring West Virginia would become a trend.
Here’s a tip for reporters: it’s not West Virginia that’s passing legislation infringing on the rights of residents.
Meanwhile, Esquire‘s coverage claimed that Kentucky gun owners had turned out to protest the state’s red flag law, but they were actually protesting a bill, not a law. Of course, that’s a minor complaint given the anti-gun bias throughout the website’s reporting on the rally.
The photos here offer a chilling look at the lengths second amendment supporters will go to for their cause. It’s hard to wrap your head around how a group of masked men and women strapped with death machines is an effective way to combat the stigma surrounding gun owners, but here we are.
I’m not sure that seeing people openly carrying rifles is a “chilling look at the lengths Second Amendment supporters will go for their cause,” but it’s clearly bothered anti-gun advocates.
— Getty Images News (@GettyImagesNews) January 31, 2020
At the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico, firearms were banned from portions of the capitol complex as hundreds of gun owners were on hand to voice their objections to the red flag legislation approved last week by a state Senate committee. From the Albuquerque Journal:
Stefani Lord of the advocacy group Pro-Gun Women led the rally, calling on sheriffs and others to speak to the crowd of roughly 500 people. As a survivor of domestic violence, she said, she understands the importance of women being able to keep firearms to protect themselves.
“Stop infringing on our rights,” she said, looking up at the Capitol. “We’re drawing a line in the sand.”
Shouts of “vote them out” surfaced repeatedly when Democrats were mentioned.
“We will put you in our political crosshairs,” Otero County Commissioner and Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin said.
People in the crowd waved American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and carried rifles and pistols. Some of the firearms on display were semiautomatic rifles modeled on the AR-15 and AK-47.
Just like we saw at the much-larger Lobby Day in Virginia, the gun owners in Frankfort, Kentucky and Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday were peacefully advocating for their constitutional rights. And just like in Virginia, the media gravitated towards the most unusually dressed in attendance. If you showed up in a suit and tie, you were probably ignored by the reporters on hand. If you showed up kitted out and ready for the Boogaloo to begin, congratulations on making the front page of the paper.
Now that the rallies are over, I hope that those in attendance will keep up the pressure on lawmakers. I’m not convinced that the red flag legislation is going anywhere in Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature, but it is on the move in New Mexico and faces another crucial committee vote next week before likely heading to the state Senate floor. That’s where similar legislation died in the 2019 session, and it’s probably the only chance gun owners in the state have of defeating the bill before it gets to Gov. Grisham’s desk.