Area residents rally for rights
Published 8:00 pm Sunday, February 24, 2013
Kicked off by patriotic songs led by Mississippi radio and TV personality Paul Ott, Saturday’s Day of Liberty Supporting Second Amendment Rights event at the Lincoln County Civic Center Arena took on a patriotic flavor from beginning to end.
“Don’t be bashful; get yourself a flag and come on down here,” emcee and event co-organizer Kendall Boutwell of the Lincoln County Tea Party told the crowd of more than 350 sitting on the bleachers and bag chairs scattered around the rails and on the arena floor.
Most of those on hand stayed for the entire two hours of speakers despite the chilly wind barreling through the open-air arena. The rally drew Tea Party members and other Second Amendment supporters from throughout the South Mississippi region.
Vendors set up alongside the arena with tables holding patriotic books and Bibles, along with petitions for visitors to sign in support of Second Amendment rights.
Saturday’s Lincoln County event was part of a nationwide day of resistance to President Obama’s 23 executive orders on ending gun violence issued in January. Among the orders were calls for a reinstatement of a ban on assault weapons, along with a ban on ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
“I’m a terrible shot … Yes, I do need more than 10 rounds to kill a deer,” Pastor Paul Jabour told the crowd to cheers and applause.
Responding to a question from the rally organizers asking if the sheriff’s office would enforce a gun ban under the executive orders, Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing told the group, “Will we disarm the American people? My answer is no.
“Mississippi is not a state that is going to take guns,” Rushing continued. “It’s your right to keep and bear arms.”
Sheriff Joel Thames of Lawrence County followed with, “The beauty of our Second Amendment right is it’s not needed until they try to take it.”
Continuing in his support of a citizen’s right to bear arms, Thames said in Lawrence County on “an average 911 call, it takes 20 minutes for county law officers to get there …, but it takes less than five seconds for a .357 magnum to work.”
Like many speakers at the rally, Thames made a link between the gun-rights and abortion issues.
“After the tragedies of the Connecticut shootings, President Obama made a statement … if it would save one child,” Thames said of the executive orders. “I say to the president, if you would ban abortion, you’d save one million.”
Saying he had been asked why he as a black man, was speaking at an event attended primarily by white people, Kim Waide of 103.9 FM said he answered, “I’m down here with people who want to do the right thing.”
He continued, “I’m always looking for the opportunity to talk to fellow patriots.”
Blaming violence on sin, not guns, attorney Steve Crampton of the group, Liberty Counsel, said, “A nation that increasingly turns toward sin will increasingly be violent.”
State Sen. Sally Doty took the podium to introduce her colleagues, state Sens. Melanie Sojourner, of Natchez, and Chris McDaniel, of Ellisville. But before bringing on her fellow Senate members, Doty said, “I do want to tell you of my support for the Second Amendment.”
Sojourner noted she is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and a member of a six-generation farm family that has owned guns from muskets up to modern firearms. “George Washington said that firearms are the single most thing second to the Constitution,” she said.
McDaniel, who authored the state Senate’s version of the Schoolchildren’s Religious Liberties Act and various Second Amendment bills, said, “We have entered into a new era of great uncertainty.”
Saying Obama “wants to be your new ruler, your monarch,” McDaniel spiced his talk with quotes from Revolutionary War patriots and the founding fathers.
“Now a smart man with a teleprompter tells us to fall for hope and change,” McDaniel continued.
“Let it be known that from this day forward that the people of Mississippi will not be disarmed,” he said in concluding his remarks.