SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gun rights advocates rallied Saturday at the New Mexico Capitol as part of a national series of events aimed at protesting new gun control proposals.
The “Guns Across America” rally in Santa Fe drew hundreds of gun owners and their supporters from around the state, holding signs in opposition to President Barack Obama’s sweeping package of federal gun control proposals.
The rally was part of a loosely organized campaign via social media, encouraging gun owners to hold rallies across the country in an attempt to sway public opinion days after Obama unveiled his plans.
Among those to show up for the Santa Fe rally were Rae Ridlon and his son, Dan, from Los Alamos. They each came carrying semi-automatic rifles and watched as protesters waved signs.
“We just want the country to realize we’re not a bunch of criminals,” organizer Josh Kennedy told KOB-TV (http://bit.ly/Yf9ARf). “We want them to realize that anyone that is responsible can own an assault weapon.”
Kennedy said the group is against any proposed assault-rifle ban.
But Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, says bringing guns to the New Mexico statehouse doesn’t open dialogue about the ongoing debate about gun control.
“You don’t negotiate … you don’t have dialogue at the point of a gun,” he said.
The Santa Fe rally — and others like it — took place four days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the nation’s toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions. Other states also are considering proposed gun control measures.
“What they need to crack down on are criminals,” said New Mexico gun owner Athena Pacheco. “The criminals aren’t going to turn over their guns if they put this ban on assault rifles. They don’t care. (There are) bans on all these illegal drugs and everything, and it still happens.”