WASHINGTON — While many people marched in support of gun control Saturday at the March for Our Lives demonstrations in Washington and across the country, there were some groups who also gathered at those same marches in support of the Second Amendment.
‘I came to open dialogue’
In Washington, Eric Ciabottonia, 19, and John Bolduc, 18, traveled with a group of students from Pennsylvania State University to march for gun rights. The freshman engineering majors said they are supporters of President Donald Trump and came to voice their beliefs about the Second Amendment and see what the opposing side thinks.
“I came to open dialogue,” Ciabottonia said, adding that calling for a ban on bump stocks was reactionary. “I like talking to people I disagree with so I can get a broader range of views. I’d say there’s a lot of misinformation and I came to talk to people.”
Bolduc said he actually didn’t have strong political views until 2015, when he said he “started to see how people are misinformed.”
“Memorials are OK. It’s when you start to militarize and politicize a tragedy — that’s when I start to have a problem,” he said.
The two students and the group they were with were peaceful for the most part as they marched near the National Gallery of Art, but were engaging in tense arguments with people around them.
“We got called all kinds of names,” Ciabottonia said. “Some lady told me to get lost because there were kids. Not quite sure what that’s supposed to mean, but as soon as I got here people started talking. So it’s been OK.”
March Before Our Lives Rally
At a Salt Lake City high school, a demonstration supporting gun rights began an hour before the March for Our Lives rally in the same spot, according to CNN affiliate KUTV. The Utah Gun Exchange called its rally the March Before Our Lives, using the word “before” because their march began ahead of the main march.
“We want to show that we are united in the call for change from our leaders,” the group’s Facebook event page said. “Never again do we want our children vulnerable to attacks but until we can count on our leaders to protect our children WE will lead them.”
According to the group, “There is no amount of infringement” on the Second Amendment that will stop evil. Instead, there needs to be focus on mental health and providing care to those in need, the page states, not “punishments to law-abiding citizens.”
Counterprotesters gathered for the March for Our Lives gun control rally in Boston, according to CNN affiliate WBZ-TV. During the march, counterprotesters and marchers shouted at each other and police had to step in to keep the peace. It got to the point where police had to from a perimeter around the counterprotesters to prevent any potential clashes.
‘Preserve our Second Amendment’
Protesters and counterprotesters were separated by a fence during the March for Our Lives demonstration in Bentonville, Arkansas, according to CNN affiliate KNWA-TV. Counterprotesters chanted “preserve our Second Amendment.”