People waving handmade signs with conflicting messages Thursday, March 28, demanding “Action now,” “Fewer bullets, fewer burials,” and “Safer gun laws,” while others read, “I’m a responsible gun owner,” or “NRA, stand and fight.” Those among the roughly 100 protesters gathered at rush hour on the curb outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) at the corner of Wasserman Way and Queen Street were either supporting their rights regarding firearms, or lobbying for changes in legislation for stricter gun laws.
A strong show of Newtown Action Alliance members also carried signs— a grassroots organization founded in the wake of the 12/14 school shooting seeking to reduce gun violence. See NewtownAction.org.
John Walters carried a sign supporting the NSSF, and said he is concerned about his Second Amendment rights. “I am a retired police sergeant,” he said. “You can’t show me a proper law that would stop shootings in the future.”
Carrying a sign supporting the National Rifle Association, John Lubinski said he also had come in defense of his Second Amendment rights. “They’re trying to take our guns for something we did not do.”
Since 12/14, residents from Newtown and neighboring communities are watching closely debates and proposals related to weapons and ammunition and regulations on a state and national level.
Lifting high an American flag, Matt Bottali also supported his rights.
Resident Lisa Schwartz held a sign that read: “Who would be opposed to background checks?” Spinning the sign around she read the answer, “The NSSF is opposed…” With her was Brad Greene who said of proposed changes in legislation promoting safer gun laws, “We need to make this happen. We need reasonable legislation to change the gun culture; it is long overdue.” He also believes in background checks, restrictions on weapons and ammunition purchases. “It’s all got to be part of it.”
Because of the protest’s location in Newtown, just a couple of miles away from where the December 14 Sandy Hook School massacre occurred, the event drew the attention of media from around the region and was featured prominently on the nationally televised nightly network news shows. The catch line in nearly every report was that even in Newtown there are divisions over an issue made even more emotional for both gun rights and gun control advocates by the events of 12/14 in Sandy Hook.