Wednesday, March 20 — Chris and Martha Welch were at the Capitol today to voice their support for gun ownership and carrying rights.
Chris had a custom-made, chrome-plated, 12-gauge shotgun attached to his hip, while Martha was sporting across her chest a .223-caliber “mini M-16," which was colored with pink accents.
“We came to show support of our Second Amendment rights and let everybody know that we’re legal to carry anything we desire,” Chris said. “There is no law against open carry. Anybody of legal age can open carry. A lot of people are under a misconception that it’s a loophole. No, there’s no loophole. It’s allowed because there is no law that says you cannot do it.”
The Welch’s, who are both 64 years old, joined several hundred other gun rights supporters, many of them armed, at the Capitol this morning to show their support for Second Amendment rights and to oppose gun control measures.
The event began at 9:30 a.m. with a sidewalk procession from the corner of Pennsylvania and Michigan avenues toward the Capitol. The line of people toting American flags, “Don’t Tread on Me” banners and guns stretched several blocks before it reached the Capitol grounds.
Skip Coryell, the founder of Second Amendment March and a Gun Lake resident, led the event, which was “just to show support for the Second Amendment.” Second Amendment March has been organizing pro-gun rallies across the country for four years, he said.
He also said many people were there to show their support for “pro-Second Amendment” legislation like Senate Bill 213, which would reform concealed pistol license laws.
“There’s also the Michigan Firearms Freedom Act that we’d like to get moved through,” he said. “That would make it so any firearm or ammunition that was manufactured inside the boundaries of Michigan, and never left the boundaries of Michigan, wouldn’t be subject to federal firearms laws.”
Coryell said Second Amendment buffs are also concerned about the federal government’s attempt to limit gun ownership through laws like assault weapon bans.
“What people are concerned about right now is an overreaching federal government that invades in every aspect of our lives and we don’t want them to do that with the Second Amendment,” he said.
There was at least one visible gun control supporter among the throngs of armed gun activists.
Tom Moran of Fenton stood across the street from the Capitol with a banner that read: “STOP GUN VIOLENCE SUPPORT OBAMA’S PLAN,” which earned him some ridicule from the gun rights crowd. Moran said he was there to support “common sense” gun regulations, like universal background checks.
“The reason I’m here today is because I feel it’s important to let our legislators know that the majority of Michigan voters are behind common sense gun law changes,” he said. “It’s important that our legislators not be intimidated by people carrying guns. They’ve got to remember the victims, they’ve got to remember the children, the battered spouses and they’ve got to look at the gun laws and make some common sense changes.”
The event was co-organized by the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, Michigan Students for Concealed Carry, Michigan Open Carry and Michigan Gun Owners. Attendees listened to speeches from gun rights activists, talked shop about the guns they were carrying and lobbied legislators.