The Norman Transcript

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February 3, 2013

Gun debate escalates

(Continued)

CONCORD, N.H. —

Obama already has proposed requiring background checks for all gun sales and reviving both an assault weapons ban and a 10-round limit on the size of ammunition magazines.

There was little mention of the school shooting at the New Hampshire rally, where the crowd focused squarely on the belief that helped lead to the creation of the tea party movement four years ago: that an overbearing government is trampling on the nation’s founding principles.

“There is an assault going on on the Constitution. And that is job one of ours — to protect our flank and protect gun owners,” said Tom Gaitens, a Tampa, Fla.-based tea party leader. “To us, this is the fundamental issue on the founding of our nation.”

Florida tea party activists already have traveled to Washington to protest new gun restrictions, and conservative leaders in the state are considering a series of gun-related rallies, Gaitens said.

Many protesters are hunters, but say access to hunting is not their prime concern — just as a sign hanging behind the podium at the New Hampshire rally said: “The right to keep arms is not about deer hunting. It is about defending the republic from tyranny.”

“I don’t have an automatic weapon. I don’t want an automatic weapon.

But the citizens need to have guns that are equal to the guns that the government has,” said Roger Rist, a 69-year-old business owner from Meredith. “I certainly hope I don’t have to take up arms against the government. Might we have to? Yeah.”

In Colorado, foes of illegal immigration have been quiet as the Democrat-controlled Legislature has moved to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities. Similar bills in the past drew dozens of angry witnesses, but only one man from a group opposing illegal immigration testified against it at the Statehouse this month, compared with a parade of supporters of the bill.

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