On April 19, the pro-gun group Second Amendment March (SAM) will lead a demonstration to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, “to remind America that the Second Amendment is necessary to maintain our right to self defense.” The group has sponsored several rallies across the country already, including ones last weekend in Frankfort, KY and Helena, MT. Second Amendment March founder Skip Coryell explained the group’s motives:
“I saw a lot of our freedoms being stripped away,” he said. “I was concerned about what the present Congress and administration were going to do. So were a lot of other people. [...]
“If you look at Barack Obama, he’s got the most anti-Second Amendment voting record of anyone who ever served. I just don’t trust him.
He said when George W. Bush was president, he didn’t feel as threatened.
Coryell claims he chose April 19 “because it is the 235th anniversary of Lexington-Concord.” However, the date also carries a rather unfortunate significance: the day militia sympathizers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Daily Dish wrote in to express concern:
As a person from Oklahoma City, I find the entire idea upsetting beyond belief. These protests are going to take place on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The idea of a bunch of armed right-wingers parading around on that day — especially here — makes me *ill*. Do any of these people know what actually happened here on that day?
Even some commenters on the Tea Party Patriot-linked SAM web page for the march in Oklahoma were troubled about any potential gun rights rally in Oklahoma City. “Everyone should *implore* the Oklahoma coordinator to schedule this march on a date that is NOT the anniversary of the Murrah Building attack,” said one commenter.
April 19 also marks the end of the weeks-long siege of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, TX. Dan Casey of the Roanake Times reported that “[s]ome activists in the gun-rights movement have tried to talk Coryell out of organizing” the march, fearing that the “political timing is bad” or that it “might lead people to believe the gun movement is a paper tiger with a few loud voices.”
Of course Coryell’s fears are completely baseless. Obama has no intention of taking any anyone’s gun rights. In fact, during his campaign for president, Obama said, “I believe in the Second Amendment, and if you are a law-abiding gun owner, you have nothing to fear from an Obama administration.”
A separate gun rights group will also be holding a rally in Virginia on April 19th. Mike Vanderboegh, who has threatened congressional Democrats and called on Americans to “throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices nationwide” because of health care reform, has said he will be speaking at the event.