Gun rights advocates urged to keep protesting


Patriot Rally for the Second Amendment organizer Paul Johnston talks with gun supports during the rally at Legislative Hall on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Winds gusted and a light rain fell from gray skies with low temperature adding to the chill.

That hardly dissuaded a crowd of about 50 clearly dedicated gun rights supporters gathered outside Legislative Hall Thursday afternoon. Some held American flags and others umbrellas as the listened on in rapt attention to several speakers.

Smyrna residents Paul and Tracie Johnston organized a “Patriot Rally” to support the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution they feel is challenged by several current pending bills they describe as “anti-gun.”

Candidates for state office joined them, along with Delawareans united by their cause to support the right to bear arms, protect themselves and their families, their homes and state, along with the opportunity to shoot recreationally and during hunting season.

State Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel, appeared about an hour into the event and urged everyone to continue showing up to contest anti-gun legislation and keep contacting he and his legislative colleagues to express their views while paying attention to their actions.

Thursday’s rally was on the 243rd anniversary of the first shot of the American Revolution and held by the statue of three musket-bearing Delaware Minutemen.

The event began at 2:30 p.m., and some attendees took a walk around Legislative Hall about an hour later as the sun briefly appeared, hoping to get the attention of state senators and representatives beginning session work inside chambers.

The Johnstons planned the event on the 243rd anniversary of the first shot of the American Revolution by a militia member toward the British Red Coats. The rally was staged by the statue of three musket-bearing Delaware Minutemen in a fighting stance representing all three counties and inscribed with the phrase “Liberty and Independence.”

Donyale Hall, a Republican candidate for the 17th district State Senate, opined that only a tyrannical-leaning government “would fear (their) people so much that they felt that they had to disarm them.” The claim immediately drew positive response from the gathered supporters, and the unity of beliefs was evident throughout the event.

Hunter Gant holds a Don’t Tread On Me flag during the “Patriot Rally.”

Dover City Councilman David Anderson, a Republican running for the 31st District State House of Representatives, described the supporters as “not gun nuts, but guardians of the American way of life.” Legislators were making scapegoats of “good, law abiding gun owners” when it comes to addressing the country’s violence issues, he said.

Describing himself as a constitutionalist, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gene Truono urged supporters to understand the issues, support candidates through volunteering and donations, register to vote and get others to do likewise when it comes to the upcoming elections.

Another candidate for Sen. Carper’s seat, Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett, said when urging citizens to become involved in shaping their government’s actions “The elected officials across this great nation of ours are the problem. The solution is two things — the Bible and the Constitution.”

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