By Selwyn Harris
More than 100 local gun enthusiasts gathered at state routes 160 and 372 to show their support for the Second Amendment on Saturday with many more whizzing by in cars honking their horns.
At first glance, the event, part of National Gun Appreciation Day, appeared to be more protest than rally.
Many attendees were holding signs renouncing current and recently proposed federal gun legislation designed to reduce gun violence by expanding background checks for gun purchases, banning high capacity ammunition magazines, and sales of military style assault weapons.
President Barack Obama signaled a willingness on the part of his administration to take a tough line on assault rifles following the shooting deaths of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., two weeks before Christmas, which occurred just a few months after an equally senseless tragedy in Aurora, Colo., when a man opened fire on a crowd at a movie theatre on July 20.
Dave Champion served as the media contact for Saturday’s event. Champion confirmed the rally was in response to the anti-gun discourse following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last month.
“I think a lot of Americans want to do something more than sit home and be irritated about what they see. They want to express their support for the right to keep and bear arms. I thought it was sickening that a situation exists where someone can walk into a school with firearms and literally have his way in executing children and that kind of situation cannot be permitted,” he said.
Champion also said he understood the reaction many Americans had in the days following the tragedy.
“I certainly understand the knee-jerk emotionalism of it; however, we were born with both emotions and intellect. My view is that we need to engage our intellect and not just function on raw emotion. Whenever people tend to say what can be done? They really only mean law. What kind of laws can be passed? Which I think is an absurd way to go about a problem. That the only solution is a legislative solution and normally legislative solutions are no solution whatsoever. We got 20,000 anti-gun laws in this country right now and what just happened in Connecticut with 20,000 anti-gun laws right now. Legislation isn’t working,” he said.
Champion also offered up a suggestion on what he believes would be a reasonable solution to gun violence in the country.
“Americans should accept responsibility for their own safety and that of their family, community, and children. The government should rescind the firearms laws and Americans get motivated and begin to train and carry firearms as you see I am. I won’t go into my professional background but I will say if I had been at Sandy Hook school that day, zero children would have died. I am trained and I carry a weapon every single day. Americans need to be trained and carry every single day,” he said.
Even though gun restrictions were not a priority during his first term four years ago, firearms sales skyrocketed amid concerns that the Obama administration would enact draconian style laws restricting access to certain models and ammunition types.
In a strange twist, the Obama administration seems to have done more for the firearms industry in terms of boosting sales than any other president in history, according to conservative news reports.
“I am the first person to admit that Barack Obama has not gone after guns. He just hasn’t. What can I say. There are people in his party, notably Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and people like that are at the highest levels of the Democratic Party. I think a lot of pro gun people fear that the agenda of the Democratic Party is at best from their point of view to get rid of guns entirely and at worst mitigate gun ownership. For those people like me who believe it is an unalienable right, that is a cause for grave concern,” Champion said.
Judging from many of the chants and conversations on Saturday, some believe the president is bent on destroying the country, which is why all of those present said people need to arm themselves.
Pahrump resident Katreen Romanoff said she would not rule out a violent overthrow of the United States government.
“I would not rule it out. I wouldn’t choose it first because I would like to do it peacefully, but if it doesn’t happen peacefully, I’m afraid we would have to do it the other way. We have to face trouble. We have to face anything that is coming our way,” she said.
“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people,” said rally participant Lance Schaus.
The local resident and gun owner said his main purpose for coming out to the rally was to also voice his support for the Second Amendment.
“A gun is a tool. It’s a tool used for self-defense and hunting. Mine is a deterrent and has never killed anybody. The Second Amendment was written by the fathers before, during, and after the revolution so that we would have guns. God forbid we should ever have another revolution or need another revolution. It is to allow us to have weapons to turn back and change an oppressive government,” he said.
A rifle sight with the words “This is my Peace Symbol” drawn beneath was what Gary J. Miller was holding up as he walked back and forth waving to motorists along State Route 160.
Miller said he hoped for a much larger turnout but he’s pleased that local residents still came out to show their support.
“It is nice to know that there are people in Pahrump that appreciate the ability to carry a sidearm. It’s a God- given right and no government above God to take away that yet it is our government who is attempting to do it. I believe that is why it is so important about us being out here to show support for National Gun Appreciation Day,” he said.
Just days prior to the event, organizers tried to distance themselves from one of the event’s sponsors after news outlets reported that a white nationalist organization known as American Third Position A3P was involved with putting on the rallies.
The group describes itself as representing the “unique political interests” of white Americans.
In a statement released days leading up to the rallies, National Gun Appreciation Day officials suggested that accepting A3P’s sponsorship was an oversight.
“We mistakenly missed one. We have removed the group and reiterate this event is not about racial politics, it is about gun politics,” the statement read in part.