By Rachel Bluth and Connor Glowacki
ANNAPOLIS — Gun advocacy groups and several state lawmakers held a Second Amendment protection rally in Annapolis on Tuesday.
“We’re showing there’s grassroots support,” said John Mountjoy, vice president of advocacy group Maryland Shall Issue. “The goal is to communicate to our legislators to respect our rights.”
Representatives from these groups voiced their support of the protection of the Second
Amendment to the dozens of people in attendance at the rally, also known as “2A Tuesday.”
“It’s not the guns that kill people. It’s the crazies that kill people. I don’t know what some of those people over there are thinking,” state Sen. Wayne Norman Jr., R-Cecil, said as he pointed to the state capitol building.
Much of the rally centered around a hoped-for repeal of 2013’s Firearm Safety Act, which put more restrictions on firearms sales in Maryland — now among the most stringent states for gun purchases, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Delegate Susan McComas, R-Harford, described Maryland as a gun-phobic state.
For Second Amendment enthusiasts like Dan Pollock of Prince George’s County, a lot of the question boils down to safety.
“As an elderly person, at 75, I am too vulnerable,” Pollock said. “I have a black belt, but I don’t want to rely on it.”
The battle over gun rights has been one of the most controversial debates nationally in the past few years.
The rally Tuesday was just one part of an entire day planned by the advocacy groups to express their goal to defend their Second Amendment rights. Participants planned to meet with their legislators in the House and Senate office buildings.
“The whole goal is to tell our folks to come lobby here and have their voices heard,” Legislative Director of the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association Michael Doherty said.
“Go find your delegate and talk to them about this issue,” Doherty said.
Shannon Alford, Maryland Liaison for the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, said supporters were there to show they haven’t given up on gun rights.
“We want to make sure that the elected officials in Annapolis know that we aren’t going home, that they have essentially awakened a sleeping dragon.”
Alford takes issue with the fact that the law requires a permit to exercise a constitutional right, which she says is a “huge infringement.”
“Anyone would raise all kinds of clamor if they tried to license your ability to vote,” she said.
Kerrie-Anne Sutton, 19, a student at Anne Arundel Community College and member of Maryland Shall Issue, said gun ownership is important to students and young people, especially young women who may need to protect themselves.
“People believe that we’re so young we can’t understand the risks and how dangerous it is, and I’ve made it a point to come out here and learn,” she said.