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Pro-Gun Protesters Rally Outside Maryland State House

Hundreds gather on the day Gov. Martin O'Malley testifies in favor of gun legislation he proposed earlier this year.

By Rashee Raj Kumar

Capital News Service

Hundreds of gun rights advocates rallied outside the State House Wednesday in opposition to new gun control measures proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

As O’Malley testified in favor of new gun restrictions before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, protesters outside said his proposals to ban assault weapons, limit magazine sizes and strengthen licensing measures would erode their rights.

Jay Hanlon, a retiree from Silver Spring, held a sign arguing that the Second Amendment protected gun ownership, including assault weapons, as a check against “Domestic Enemies.”

“That’s the weapon we need to defend ourselves against a government gone bad—against our oppressors,” said Hanlon, 65.

Kerry Nelson, 49, a former Marine who works as a U.S. Navy contractor, said he was tired of politicians arguing that assault weapons and large capacity magazines should be banned because they were not used by hunters and sports shooters.

“I keep hearing the argument that I don’t need 30 rounds to kill a deer. They’re absolutely 100 percent correct. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is for protection, primarily against our government should our government turn into a tyrannical government,” said Nelson, who is from St. Mary’s County.

Efforts to impose new restrictions on guns intensified after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, in December.  President Barack Obama and O’Malley both proposed new gun control regulations following the tragedy.

The protesters gathered on Lawyers Mall outside the State House said that any new restrictions must not infringe on their constitutional rights. 

Harry H. Fahl, a photographer from Essex, warmed up the crowd in the morning by leading a group recitation of the Second Amendment, which quickly turned into a chant.

Fahl, 65, said he came to the rally because he feared that new gun control proposals by O’Malley and Obama showed that the nation was moving away from democracy towards communism.

He adopted his 16-year-old daughter from China 15 years ago, and he said he was worried that the United States was transforming into the repressive society she left behind.

“This bill doesn’t represent safety,” he said of O’Malley’s proposals. “It represents a destruction of our personal freedoms and a crumbling of our society.”

Fahl said he needed high-capacity ammunition magazines to protect his home and his daughter.  A security alarm thwarted a recent break-in, he said.

“What if my 16-year-old daughter had been there? And what if the person would have gotten in?” he asked.  “I’d much rather have that intruder lying in a pool of blood than my daughter. Period.”

Sarah Merkle, a 15-year-old student from Baltimore who has been shooting since she was 8, said she was worried that the ban on assault rifles would limit her educational opportunities.

Merkle, who attended the rally with her mother, Karen Merkle, said she shoots an AR-15 competitively and was hoping to secure a college scholarship.

She addressed the crowd at the rally with a message for the governor.

“Martin O’Malley, you can’t take my guns, you can’t take my rights,” she said.

JustABill February 26, 2013 at 08:33 PM
That's why murder of any kind is against the law Hal. LIBERTY and the Pursuit of Happiness are why our inalienable rights guaranteed to us in the United States Constitution you are quoting shall not be infringed upon.
Honeygo Hal February 26, 2013 at 08:58 PM
When those rights, granted in the main body of the Constitution, are denied by abuse of an amendment to the same document we have a problem that needs to be addressed. Remove the inalienable tag from the main body of the Constitution, or amend the 2nd Amendment?
CP February 26, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Don't blame the Constitution for your dismal existence.
JustABill February 26, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Hal you seem to be under the misconception that the original Bill Of Rights is not part of the "main body" of the Constitution when in fact they are exactly that and nothing less. Clearly you would not be a winning contestant on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader."
Bill Lawson March 22, 2013 at 06:38 PM
"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." George Washington
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Honey Pot does not know that the Constitution would never have been ratified without the inclusion of the Bill of Rights.
Concerned Parent March 22, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I find it interesting that SOME gun owners can leverage the Constitution to make an argument to keep high-capacity magazines manufactured by companies that sells them for profit and sit complicit when they are used in heinous acts. It says a lot about the character of the company and the people who continue to purchase them.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Are you complicit in the deaths of those killed by drunk drivers because you support the rights of the auto manufacturers to sell them at a profit? What a twisted and obscene connection to those who exercise their constitutional civil rights legally and those who don't.
CP March 22, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Well it does say "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." That pesky Constitution!
CP March 22, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Oops this might get your way as well..In 2008 and 2010, the Court establish an "individual rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Steve March 22, 2013 at 08:09 PM
The NRA is making a big push to allow felons to possess and carry firearms. So much for all that "law abiding" crap they spew. http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/03/new_orleans_judge_rules_statut.html
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Ed, how the hell are responsible firearm owners responsible for this kind of crime by those who have not apparently evolved into humans yet? ‘I begged them not to kill my baby’: Tragedy as 13-month-old toddler is shot dead in his stroller by teenage robber in front of mother She told how one of them, who looked about 15, demanded money from her and threatened to kill her if she didn't give him any. She told him she didn't have any. 'He said: "Well, I'm going to kill your baby", and I said "Please don't kill my baby."
CP March 22, 2013 at 08:26 PM
You want felons to vote! Now carry on.
Steve March 22, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Where did I ever say I wanted felons to vote?
Concerned Parent March 22, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Here's how....As RESPONSIBLE firearms owners, you should know that other magazines, outside the high-capacity ones, can be used for whatever you currently use your gun for today. As RESPONSIBLE firearms owners, you should step up to ensure further steps are taken to prevent these types of magazines do not get into the hands of those unlicensed to use a gun. I'm not going to rehash my argument because you've already heard it, but to say this Constitutional argument to keep these sole high-capacity magazines is ridiculous. You know it and I know it.
1ke March 22, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Popguns would be just as effective...George died in 1800?
Corbin Dallas Multipass March 22, 2013 at 09:18 PM
The only thing that these gun laws can't prevent the death of is this thread.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Wow there Westboro Steve, you are a pure propagandist. Not a good one either. The NRA is NOT "making a big push to allow felons to possess and carry firearms" at all! You just lie dude! How sick are you? Unless someone actually glances your links they may beLIEve your comment as truth when it just is not. "voters last year approved by a sweeping majority a constitutional amendment backed by the National Rifle Association. That bill made gun ownership a "fundamental right," on the same level as freedom of speech or religion." How radical is that Westboro Steve/Jack Hays? You're sick dude! The rest of the story "An Orleans Parish judge on Thursday ruled that the state statute forbidding certain felons from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, in the wake of a constitutional amendment passed last year that made the right to bear arms a fundamental one in Louisiana. The issue will now go straight to the state Supreme Court, which must decide whether the statute infringes on Louisiana citizens' now-enhanced right to gun possession. " THIS is why I have to copypasta that annoys you and a few others. One must stand up and support the truth from you propagandists. You what I think is the real sick part? That the state needed to spell out by this amendment that the 2nd Amendment was equal to the rest! We are under that kind of attack by the progressives. That is sick and that is why you will never win this firearm argument in government. Or here.
Steve March 22, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Reading really isn't your strong suit is it JoeBlob?.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 10:03 PM
This 1 year old Ed was not killed with a hi cap mag. There is no statistic that the FBI tracks for the use of hcm's. That is how insignificant it is in numbers. Rifles killed less people than mothers and fathers who killed their own children. See the FBI UCR. I am no more responsible for this senseless random murder of a 1 year old than you are responsible for the senseless deaths from obesity because you may own stock in Entenmann's and Burger King. You highlight RESPONSIBLE. Massive %ge of all firearm owners are responsible. How many firearms are in America? How many firearm owners? How many gun crimes? Generation after generation of Americans have legally possessed, used and maintained firearms of all types. With no incidents. With no violence and no arrests. No one hurt intentionally or unintentionally. The Adam Lanza's of the world are pure evil. Read about how long he planned the attack. These mass shootings are a miniscule %ge of the total number of firearm murders. Attack the majority not the minority.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Ed, 270 million firearm in American civilian hands. Some say more. http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states 8583 firearm murders in 2011. FBI UCR I can't find the illegal use of firearms overall as a total but even add for argument sake 1,000,000 times a year, 2739 times a day across America. 1,008,583 illegal uses of a firearm in 2011. Not counting the multiple use of the same firearm multiple times which most used illegally are used multiple times, we have what percentage of all firearms used illegally? I leave the answer to you. I am not willing to give up my right to keep and bear any more than it has been infringed to date. Any more than I am willing to give up any of my other rights to anyone who did not give them to me.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Isn't this the national debate we are supposed to be having and isn't The Patch nice enough to keep it open for us instead of some trashing a new story?
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM
No Westboro Steve, reading is not my strong suit. That is why I didn't post anything from your link you didn't think anyone would glance at and maybe recognize a few words in it. You posted a lie and now cannot defend it so you insult. It is apparent.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Hal, the very first meeting to draft the Constitution was held in our capital city. The Annapolis Convention 1786. Than damn teabaggers wrote that damn document!
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government 1786. Why can't we do that today? Oh wait! We can! DECLARATION OF RIGHTS. We, the People of the State of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty, and taking into our serious consideration the best means of establishing a good Constitution in this State for the sure foundation and more permanent security thereof, declare: Article 1. That all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their Form of Government in such manner as they may deem expedient. Art. 2. The Constitution of the United States, and the Laws made, or which shall be made, in pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State; and the Judges of this State, and all the People of this State, are, and shall be bound thereby; anything in the Constitution or Law of this State to the contrary notwithstanding. Art. 3. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution thereof, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people thereof. OH NO!!! FIFI!!! They mention GOD!!!! What are we to do? How could our Founders have believed in GOD!
Steve March 22, 2013 at 11:17 PM
What's the difference between backed and pushed. "voters last year approved by a sweeping majority a constitutional amendment backed by the National Rifle Association. Don't worry JoeBlob nobody is gonna take your ManMaker away from you.
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 11:18 PM
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/03/1175928/-89-firearms-per-100-Americans-Gun-crime-stats-for-2011 The numbers are even worse than I posted! Is there an argument with the source?
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 11:20 PM
http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/ Here are some other facts. The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world — by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides among advanced countries. And yet, gun crime has been declining in the U.S. Firearm murders are down, as is overall gun violence – even as gun ownership increases. Read our Analysis for more insight on what these statistics mean. Source problems or complaints?
Sanchez March 22, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Westboro Steve, drop that shovel. The English language is clear. You aren't. But I guess it depends on what the definition of the word 'is' is right? Why Westboro Steve did you leave this part of your comment out? "making a big" push? Is that the same to you as "push"? Get help Steve. You are relegated to word games instead of ideas.
Adrian Reast March 31, 2013 at 02:53 PM
How can a union thug call anyone a nut case Steve? Its delusional thinking and at least under the new gun laws people like Steve would be banned from owning guns. Adrian Reast

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