AUSTIN, Texas —
Capitol rallies also took place in Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin, among other states.
Back in Texas, Houston resident Robert Thompson attended the rally with his wife and children, ages 12, 5 and 4. Many in the family wore T-shirts reading: “The Second Amendment Protects the First.”
“What we are facing now is an assault weapons ban, but if they do this, what will do they do next?” Thompson asked.
William Lawson drove more than four hours from Wichita Falls and held up a sign reading “Modern Musket” over the image of an assault rifle and the words, “An American Tradition since 1776.”
“I’m not some wild-eyed person who wants to fight in the streets,” Lawson said. “This is a country of laws. But I want to protect our Constitution.”
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson conceded that the Second Amendment sometimes leads to killings, but he told the crowd that the First Amendment can be just as dangerous. Patterson said news coverage of those responsible for mass shootings can spark copy-cat shootings.
“All of us here, together, are right about our liberty,” Patterson said. “And we will not back down.”
Associated Press writers Bob Christie in Phoenix, Ian Pickus in Albany, N.Y., Emery P. Dalesio, Raleigh, N.C., and Debbi Morello in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.