Demonstrators show support for their ‘gun rights’ to counter ‘March for Our Lives’


Several people hold signs supporting the Second Amendment, waving at honking cars Saturday across the street from Old Main. The counter demonstation was in response to the “March For Our Lives” rally that was held on campus.

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

Carrying American flags and holding signs that were covered in pro-Second Amendment slogans and chants, several men representing the National Rifle Association, the Illinois State Rifle Association and Guns Save Life walked in a counter demonstration to show their  support for guns on Saturday.

The counter demonstration was in response to Saturday’s March for Our Lives rally.

Bill Harrison, the regional director for Guns Save Life, held a sign that said, “Good guys with guns save lives,” while he waved at cars that passed by.

Several cars honked their horns and waved at the demonstrators who held their signs marked with words such as “Honk if you support gun rights” or “Criminals prefer unarmed victims.”

“Anyway, you’re hearing the horns right?  Those are the people we’re trying to communicate with, those are the people we’re trying to show them that we support gun rights,” Harrison said, pointing at the cars that stopped at the light at the intersection of Lincoln Ave and 7th Street.

“There are people who are passing by who see that we’re here supporting gun rights.”

Though the demonstration was in response to the March for Our Lives Rally that took place on Eastern’s campus, Harrison said what he and the other men were doing was not a protest.

He said he and the others were not confrontational and did not want to start any trouble.

“It’s not a protest. We’re just here to show our support of gun rights,” he said. “We’re here just to show the public that we support gun rights.”

As far as support for guns, Harrison said he did not support the idea of bans on guns and those who want to enact gun restrictions instead of bans are simply lying.

“They’ll just turn around and say that ‘we need to take away semi-automatic guns from everybody because they’re dangerous,’” he said.

Harrison said owning a gun was a matter of safety and that everyone attending the counter demonstration was a law-abiding citizen wanting to protect their rights.

He said another reason why guns are needed and why the right to own one should be protected is because “criminals prefer unarmed victims,” referring to one of the posters and the fact that most mass shootings that happen are in gun-free zones such as schools or churches.

Charleston resident Ray Carr, one of the participants in the counter-demonstration, said he was a firm believer in the U.S. Constitution, including both the first and second amendments.

“The Bill of Rights was specifically put into the Constitution by Madison and the boys to protect us from the government, and that’s why we’re here,” Carr said. “The second idea they had after freedom of speech was a strong Second Amendment because the Bill of Rights can’t stand unless the citizens have that right.”

Carr said free speech and the Second Amendment are so tied together it is hard to separate them and guns were a necessary thing to have in the States given the nature of the Constitution.

He said everyone participating in both demonstrations were exercising their First Amendment rights and said he respects any other opinions and wants others to respect his.

“That’s the whole thing,” he said. “We’re not really anti-anything out here because we’re pro-American and that is the most important thing that we can be.”

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]