Central Mass Tea Party Up In Arms Over Gun Control
Thursday, February 07, 2013
The Leicester/Paxton/Rutland/Holden Tea Party Group played host to Jon Green, director of education and training at the Gun Owners' Action League (GOAL), the official state association of the National Rifle Association in Massachusetts.
GOAL has been engaging in a statewide education campaign. A recent rally in North Brookfield featuring speakers from the organization attracted a crowd of close to 500, and Green said GOAL is expecting 200 to 300 people for its next educational rally at the Boxborough Holiday Inn on February 17.
"We don't want to lose the momentum," he said.
While momentum seems to have slowed a bit on the statewide gun reform legislation filed by Governor Deval Patrick, Green said the local level is emerging as the next battlefield in the fight over the Second Amendment.
The town of Westford has introduced a bylaw for on the warrant for its Annual Town Meeting in March that would prohibit the sale or possession of so-called "assault weapons" and other specific firearms within the town limits.
"They are attacking our civil rights on the local level," Green said, adding "There's just not enough of us" to get the word out and educate people on their rights and the implications of the proposed bylaws and legislation.
One bright spot in the ongoing battle has been GOAL's work with a new gun rights organization called "It's Time 2A," which Green said has a number of motivated young people in its ranks who have been very proactive in getting their message out and educating others.
"They're building up a pretty influential force," he said.
Mead said that, without their own Washington bureaus or reporters, local papers rely too heavily on the Associated Press for news out of the nation's capitol. He argued that the AP creates low-information voters and was signing up volunteers to stand out in front of the local news outlets' offices and point out what they're missing in their coverage.
On the topic of firearm legislation, Mead said the problem wasn't the guns themselves, but mental health. He pointed to the dramatic decrease in public mental health institutions and the large numbers of mentally ill individuals who are not receiving the treatment they need.
"The solution, of course, is concealed carry," Mead said, which would allow gun owners to ensure their own safety, rather than be subject to the actions of someone who may be armed and less than mentally stable.
Wayne Cormier of Oath Keepers, a group whose members take the U.S. Uniformed Services Oath of Office and swear to uphold the Constitution, addressed the Paxton crowd as well.
"America is a battlefield now. We're at war," he said.
Oath Keepers also have a declaration of 10 orders they will not obey, which include disarming any American citizens and the use of military forces or martial law against citizens at home.
"Somebody comes to take your gun, they've got to go through me," Cormier said.
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