Gun Rights Advocates Gather In Phoenix, Joining Rallies Across The Country

Published: Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 5:52pm
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2018 - 4:04pm
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(Photo by Bridget Dowd - KJZZ)
Second amendment rallies were organized in all 50 states Saturday, April 14. Arizona conservatives gathered at Paradise Valley Park with signs, flags and banners to stand up for the protection of gun rights.

Second amendment rallies were organized in all 50 states Saturday, April 14. Arizona conservatives gathered at Paradise Valley Park with signs, flags and banners to stand up for the protection of gun rights.

Valley residents brought signs like “If guns were outlawed, only outlaws would have guns.”

Eric Smaltz is a member of the conservative Patriot Movement Arizona group and one of the main organizers for the rally in Phoenix.

Smaltz said he and other organizers wanted to put together an event where they could push back against proposed changes to gun laws in an educational way. He said the NRA was founded to educate people on gun rights and gun safety.

“They’re a good advocate for what we do,” Smaltz said. “Most of the people here probably are members because they educate us and they legislate for us as gun owners.”

Smaltz said he wants to maintain the rights already in place for gun owners in Arizona.

“We’re probably one of the most liberal oriented gun rule states in America,” he said.

Smaltz cited laws that have gone into effect in other states since the school shooting in Parkland Florida, banning bump stocks and changing the age when someone can legally purchase a gun.

“[What happened in Florida] is a tragedy,” Smaltz said. “But is it guns or is it the disengagement of people that don’t recognize the value of human life?”

Smaltz said when people become disengaged from society by television shows or other media, it can have negative consequences.

“That’s just not the nature of people,” he said. “The nature of people is to have friendships, to engage each other and unfortunately in our school system, some individuals become disengaged and they want to retaliate. It’s not a gun problem. It’s an individual problem”

Alan Korwin was one of the speakers at the event. He’s also the author of the Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide and several other books on gun laws. He says the problem lies not with the NRA, but with the state of mental health in the U.S.

"We used to have people go to school with guns,” Korwin said. “We had rifle teams in high schools. Nobody killed their classmates. This is relatively new.”

Korwin said he believes the second amendment is under attack.

"We should look at why children want to mass murder they're classmates,” he said. “That has nothing to do with gun law or with background checks.”

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