Carrying signs with messages including “No more gun laws,” “We will not comply” and “The 2nd Amendment: America’s original homeland security,” an estimated 500 people gathered Saturday along McHenry Avenue for a gun-rights rally.
For the first rally he’s helped organize, it couldn’t have gone better, said Turlock resident Daniel Fagundes. “It was flawless, perfect,” he said, adding that the event raised about $1,300 to go to disabled veterans and to the Firearms Policy Coalition to keep fighting for gun rights.
The rally began at 9 a.m. and lasted well into the afternoon. It was in a parking lot behind the McDonald’s on McHenry, but demonstrators also lined up on the avenue with their signs. Lots of drivers honked their horns or gave thumbs up, Fagundes said. “We had one or two come by and flip us off, but that was it.”
A petition to help get referendums on the ballot to overturn gun-control measures signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July gained about 300 signatures at the rally, Fagundes said, but already had been signed by many others who attended.
The event included several speakers, among them Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, FPC spokesman Craig DeLuz and Kevin Fox of Power Talk 1360 radio.
All Americans have the right to self-defense, and to use firearms for sporting, hunting and competition, the sheriff told the crowd. But those freedoms sometimes come under fire. “We should be electing people to the state and federal government who represent our interests and are more concerned about the people than their own self-serving interests,” he said.
There’s a lot of gun legislation being introduced in Sacramento, Christianson said. “None of it, in my opinion, brings a greater level of safety to our community because, really, the only thing it affects is law-abiding citizens,” he said to loud applause. “As the sheriff, I’ve said all along that I’m not going to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. There’s already plenty of criminals in our community – my jail is full, so there’s no room for any of you.”
Calling gun ownership a fundamental, constitutional, inalienable right, DeLuz, who also is an actor and media commentator in the Sacramento area, also fired up the audience. “I don’t need you to sit there and tell me you don’t know why I need a 30-round magazine,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t see a need for me to own more than one gun. … My fundamental right to be able to defend myself and my family has nothing to do with what you believe I need.”
He later added, “When we run for office and go to serve the public, we swear an oath to defend this nation from enemies foreign and domestic, and that is up to and including a tyrannical government. Our founders got that, that’s the reason why they put (the Second Amendment) there.”
As a follow-up to the rally, Fagundes said he’s planning a march in October that will begin at Costco, make its way to Vintage Faire Mall, head up Standiford Avenue and loop back to its starting point.