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Gun enthusiasts fill Capitol steps at 2nd Amendment Rally - abc27 WHTM

Gun enthusiasts fill Capitol steps at 2nd Amendment Rally

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

They carried signs like, "Hands off my guns."

They frequently quoted the Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment.

"The right of the people to bear arms shall not be questioned," said Representative John McGinnis (R-Blair County) to loud cheers from the throng of supporters on the Capitol steps.

Representative Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny) was even more forceful from the microphone. "What part of 'shall not be questioned' don't they understand?" he said.

Dozens of state lawmakers joined the Second Amendment Rally, a handful spoke and mostly told the crowd they had reason to fear other lawmakers who want to take their guns away.

"Continuous efforts by some in Washington and cities across America to infringe on the rights of citizens and the affairs of the states," said Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver County). "We don't need a central government telling us how to live every aspect of our life."

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey was not in Harrisburg. He was not at the rally. But he was mentioned and criticized for his failed attempt at federal background check legislation.

One rallier held a sign that said, "Fire Pat Toomey." 

McGinnis, in quoting an inscription on the Liberty Bell, said it rang out liberty for all inhabitants of the land. "Inhabitants including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and yes, our own Senator Pat Toomey," he said, as the crowd erupted in cheers.

In Pennsylvania, being pro-gun is not just for Republicans.

Representative Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) had one of the most powerful comments.

"Guns are not to blame for criminal activity no more than the pressure cookers, and the nails, and the BB's, and the explosives are to blame for that tragedy that happened in Boston last week," Readshaw said.

Harrisburg's Jack Fisher, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, found the rally, and its timing, offensive.

"It's really crude to do this so close to Boston," Fisher said. He noted that eight days ago the Boston Marathon was marred by a terrorist blast. Four days ago the suspected terrorists waged a wild gun battle across the city. "We need stronger gun control so those people couldn't have gotten their hands on those guns."

But Fisher's view was in the minority on Tuesday morning.

Ralliers had rifles on their backs, pistols on their hips, and guns on their minds. They mostly shared a mistrust of any attempts by the government to limit gun ownership.

Brett White of Millersburg agreed with the concern. "It always winds up in the same way and that's a police state, you lose your rights, and we will not allow that to happen."

Of course, nearly every attempt to limit or restrict guns in either Washington or Harrisburg fails. Ralliers here said that's a good thing but they must remain vigilant against any attempt to restrict their rights.

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