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Gun rights activists to hold Haywood event May 19

Second Amendment supporters in Haywood County will take to the Historic Courthouse lawn May 19 to protest what they say are threats to the Constitution, but the focus of the rally remains on firearms. 

“We’ve seen all the counter-Second Amendment groups out advocating,” said Jeremy Davis, a member of the Haywood Republican Alliance, which is co-sponsoring the event. “I’m 44 years old and never in my life have I seen somebody march to take rights away. We’re seeing that now, where you’ve got a bunch of misguided youth out marching, begging the government to limit their rights. We’d just like to have a show of people that say, we support the Second Amendment, the Constitution, the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment.”

The event, called March for Our Rights, is similar to rallies that have been held in Wilmington, Charlotte and Raleigh. Davis said other events were planned or had been held in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Everybody can have a different opinion on this,” Davis said. “The experts — Stalin, Hitler — all of them were in favor of gun control and look what it got them. Gun control is not the answer. We have a people problem, not a gun problem.”

Davis said that speakers at the event would include state and local Second Amendment activists as well as Republican county commission candidates Mark Pless and Phillip Wight. Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, was also listed as a speaker for the event. 

While Davis and organizers hope to see a big group of people attend, what they don’t necessarily want to see are firearms. 

“We’re telling people to leave their guns at home,” Davis said. “This is what we call an empty holster event. I want people to show up and to represent with their bodies, not their firearms.”

While weapons may distract from the message being presented, they’re also prohibited by ordinance in the vicinity of the rally. 

“It’s illegal to have a gun in the parking deck, it’s a gun on county grounds. There’s an ordinance against it, and the Sheriff’s office will enforce that ordinance,” Davis said. “We’ll do our best to police that ourselves and try to keep everybody on the up and up, but we want people there with warm bodies to protest injustice.”

Davis also said he was told that there would be a “safe space” available for those who wished to protest against the event. 

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