GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- On the same day President Obama showed his support of gun control legislation in his weekly radio and Internet address, gun rights advocates in Gaston County rallied to make their point about firearm freedom.
A rally organized by the Gaston County Tea Party hosted a number of speakers opposed to stricter limits on guns and ammunition. It drew dozens of supporters to the parking lot behind Shooters Express in Belmont.
Speakers like Richard Lynch drove home gun rights advocates' position that law- abiding citizens should have access to any type of firearm or ammunition that the government -- like military and law enforcement -- has access to.
Even mental disability restrictions aren't easily defined, according to Lynch. "Who decides what's crazy?" argued Lynch.
Retired Gastonia Police officer Jeff Clark attended the rally and is a supporter of gun rights, but says he's seen both sides of the issue because of nearly 30 years responding to gunshot victims as a sworn officer.
Clark said in his experience, most guns used in homicides were legally owned -- which complicates the issue of who should be allowed to own them.
At the same time, he pointed out, sometimes simply being aware of what's going on around you can help avoid tragedies like the school shooting in Newtown that killed 20 children and 6 educators.
"There's a saying that goes around, 'If you see something say something,'" said Clark. "Somebody in that situation saw something and thought to themselves, 'This person probably should not have a weapon,' but they didn't say anything. If you see something that doesn't look right to you, you need to speak up about it."
Organizers said they picked Saturday, March 23rd, for the rally because it is the anniversary of Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in 1775.