Gun rights advocates rally in Diamond Park
About 50 people who gathered in Diamond Park Saturday had at least one thing in common: they believe that everyone should have the right to bear arms.
Rich Wilson, a retired police officer who lives in Center Township, and Firearm Owners Against Crime organized the Second Amendment rally to tell residents of their constitutional rights, distribute information about proposed legislation and tell people ways they can take action.
Several of the speakers encouraged the attendees to vote for pro-Second Amendment candidates in the elections and to write lawmakers regarding proposed gun control legislation in both Congress and the state Legislature.
Butler County Commissioner Bill McCarrier read a proclamation passed by the commissioners declaring April 25 as Second Amendment Day in the county.
He said the most important reason for the Second Amendment is to prevent “democide,” or people being killed by their own government.
McCarrier named numerous governments, including Russia, Germany, China and Cambodia, that killed millions of their own unarmed residents during the 20th century.
Residents should speak up to ensure that their constitutional rights are kept intact, he said.
“I don't want to see the republic replaced with Shariah law or any other type of government. I want the republic, and I want to keep it,” he said.
County Sheriff Mike Slupe said he doesn't believe the federal government should be allowed to enact legislation limiting the ability of residents to carry guns.
“If the federal government thinks they are going to come into Butler County and take away your firearms, they've got another thing coming because I won't let that happen,” Slupe said.
Kim Stolfer, founder and president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, said that federal and state lawmakers are constantly proposing and passing laws that would infringe on constitutional rights.Stolfer said that state lawmakers have forgotten Article 1, Section 21 of the state constitution, which reads: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.”State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-108th, has introduced a bill, which is in the judiciary committee, that would require gun owners to register their weapons and pay an annual fee to renew that registration, he said.“I'll be damned if I'm going to give up any more of my rights,” he said.Bea Turner, who co-founded the Pittsburgh 9/12 Project organization, said that laws requiring residents to register and have “papers” for their firearms should not be passed.Nazi Germany had firearm registration lists and used them to disarm its residents, millions of whom later were killed, she said.“Adolf Hitler's use of firearms registration lists teaches us a forceful lesson, which is why American citizens and Congress have historically opposed registration,” Turner said.Other pro-Second Amendment speakers at the rally included U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-3rd. of Butler; state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-12th; Butler Mayor Tom Donaldson; and retired Navy SEAL commander Matt Shipley.Firearm Owners is planning its 10th annual Second Amendment Action Day for May 12 on the state capital steps in Harrisburg.