The gun control debate fired up across the nation Saturday, including Richmond. Ralliers gathered at Virginia's capitol to protest the push for tougher gun laws.
Supporters are calling it "Gun Appreciation Day."
Hundreds of gun advocates also came together at state capitols around the U.S., in support of the Second Amendment.
Gun supporters say stricter gun laws proposed by the president, and state lawmakers, are eroding their freedoms.
The signs and sentiments of the crowd were clear outside Virginia's capitol – "don't infringe on our guns."
"Average citizens like people here are not criminals. We have lawfully gone through the process to buy weapons…We lawfully use them in a way that defends ourselves, our families and our rights," said Taylor Rose, who attended the demonstration.
The gun control issue reloaded after the tragic school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. President Obama subsequently unveiled a sweeping package of gun-control proposals.
Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey is aiming for tougher gun laws here in Virginia.
"You can walk in front of an elementary school, a middle school, or high school, with a loaded assault rifle, with 50 to 75 rounds in it. And there's not a person I know who thinks that's a good idea," said Morrissey.
"The issue is not about guns. Guns are inanimate objects. The issue is about people, specifically people who are on prescription drugs who are programmed by video games, programmed by decadent media, who are behaving badly," stated Rose.
"It would make me feel safe if everyone took up their Second Amendment. That way, you won't have to worry about that one person coming in that's breaking the law," theorized Crystal Beasley, also at the pro-gun rally.
Many of the protestors also stress concern not only about protecting their own safety, but protecting themselves against their own government.
"It's about protecting our rights as citizens against a tyrannical government," said Rose.
"What these folks are trying to suggest is, 'Oh my gosh. It's Armageddon. We're going to lose all of our guns. Big government is coming into our home and taking away our guns.' That's not going to happen," said Morrissey, who reiterated that people will still be allowed to own guns. Morrissey says it's the safety of guns and also of schools which needs to be revisited.
On Monday, Virginia's capitol will be packed with gun advocates.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League will be lobbying legislators about gun laws. Hundreds of people are expected to turn out.
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