EDWARD ORTIZ / eortiz@sacbee.com

Flags and signs pop up Saturday at a Capitol Park rally as part of the nationwide Day of Resistance on behalf of gun owners' rights.

Gun-rights rally draws hundreds to Capitol Park

Published: Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 - 7:45 pm

Several hundred people gathered Saturday in Capitol Park in one of 120 Day of Resistance rallies nationwide seeking to intensify support for the right to bear arms.

The afternoon rally, where fluttering "Don't Tread on Me" flags were a common sight, saw speakers staunchly opposing some recent gun control proposals.

The nationwide rallies were organized against a backdrop of gun control appeals in the wake of the mass killing of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in December by a lone gunman in Newtown, Conn.

National polls have shown that a majority of Americans support some kinds of stricter gun controls, including on assault weapons like the one used in Newtown.

Closer to home, the issue saw its latest evolution with a recent statewide ban on the open carrying of unloaded rifles on city streets. That law, which has exceptions, went into effect Jan. 1.

The issues brought many to the Sacramento rally from afar, including Brendan O'Neill of Merced, who said, "I came here to support our Second Amendment rights, because they're being whittled away, like our rights to open carry."

A series of speakers took turns opposing some gun-related laws and proposals, while showing support for others.

One touted was Assembly Bill 202, by state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, which he recently introduced in the Legislature. The bill would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

"This will create an invisible line of defense around our children," said Christina Marotti, a Donnelly fundraiser and Sacramento parent who spoke at the rally. "Our kids are sitting ducks at our schools and we have to do something about that."

For some at the rally, the gun issue has simmered across generations and nations, as it has for Redwood City resident Lois Garcia, who is of Cuban descent.

"I came here because it's about freedom," Garcia said. "One of the first things that Castro did when he took over in Cuba was, he went to people's homes and disarmed them. I don't want this country to go down the same path."

The rally, which took place at the California Veterans Memorial, near 13th and N streets, disbanded before 3 p.m. without incident.

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