Gun rights advocates rally in Blount County

2nd Amendment rally in Blount County brings out gun rights advocates

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - The gun control debate continues to gain momentum across the country and here in East Tennessee.

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday in Blount County to show their support for the 2nd Amendment.

They oppose President Obama's recent call for an assault weapons ban, saying it's taking away their right to bear arms.

"We're going to have to stand up, stand together and show everybody that we support the 2nd Amendment," said rally organizer Randy Ailey of Maryville.

And stand up they do, on the front lawn of the Blount County Courthouse in downtown Maryville, speaking out in support of their gun rights.

Ailey says 2nd Amendment supporters have been silent on the gun control debate for too long.

"The ones that are for gun control have been the ones that have been screaming the loudest, and we've been sitting back and watching and letting it happen. We can't sit back and let it happen anymore," said Ailey.

Gun rights advocates think the president's proposed ban is putting their constitutional right in jeopardy.

"I want to defend my family against people that's going to try to hurt them and I want to defend my country against people that's trying to hurt it," said Ed Baldwin, who drove from his home in Claiborne County to attend the rally.

They're afraid the assault weapons ban is only the beginning.

"Slowly they're getting more of our rights taken away and eventually we will not have any if we keep letting them chip away without saying anything," said Ailey.

The rally also brought out gun control supporters, who believe in the right to own guns, but think certain types just aren't necessary.

"They'll still be able to buy whatever they want except these. Armor piercing bullets. Military grade. Police grade. Why do we really need those? If we took away one gun, in the future, maybe one person wouldn't die," said a woman from Maryville who declined to give her name.

Rally attendees say it's not that they want assault weapons.

They just fear the ban is a step towards further restrictions on gun ownership.

"Good law abiding citizens that don't want our rights taken away," said Ailey.

Ailey hopes that word of mouth will bring out hundreds more people for the next rally, which they hope to have in just a few weeks.

For more information, visit the groups Facebook page.

President Obama's proposal also includes a ban on high capacity ammunition and universal background checks.

According to the white house, 92-percent of Americans support universal background checks for gun sales.

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