“By the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.” − Emerson, Concord Hymn
During the American Revolutionary War, it is said that three percent of those early Americans took up arms to fight the British. Those brave farmers and their “shot heard round the world“ laid the groundwork for the United States of America as we know it today and the constitutionally-protected rights that are part of it. As stated in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Standing up for our rights and protesting those who try to take them away is a fundamental part of American history. Recently, and for the first time in history, we are seeing Americans protesting to have their own rights taken away. The March for our Lives movement, Mothers Demand Action, and every other gun control demonstration that we see shares the objective of either reducing or eliminating the second amendment rights of every American citizen.
Over the last few months we have seen the gun debate escalate to a fever pitch, ready to burst at its seams. Cities all over the country are proposing and even enacting gun bans and red-flag confiscation laws. Here in Colorado, the city of Boulder recently passed an assault weapon ban ordinance that also opens the door for gun confiscation. However, despite the protests and blatant opposition, the gun ban passed unanimously. Sadly, Boulder is not the only Colorado city looking at this type of unconstitutional act, several other cities may soon be considering similar legislation as some of its citizens are holding further debates.
Fortunately there are still plenty of people who don’t agree with these anti-second amendment proposals. Lawsuits are in the works in Boulder, and demonstrations for our rights continue in Colorado and the rest of the country. One such group, Rally For Our Rights, is planning on their second demonstration in Boulder on June 9th from 1 to 4pm.
In small towns and big cities alike, all around the country, pro-second amendment demonstrations are popping up from grassroots led groups like Rally For Our Rights. On March 24th, the same day as the March for our lives, several pro-second amendment demonstrations took place around the country, one such demonstration took place in Teller County, Colorado. Teller County, west of Colorado Springs, also happens to be the eighth most heavily armed county in America, with 53 percent of its residents owning guns. Teller county also has a large veteran population, 17 percent of residents are veterans, nearly twice the national percentage.
Guns, and the freedoms that make us Americans are not taken lightly in Teller County and they both play a large role in the history and lifestyle of this county. During the Teller county demonstration residents took to the streets, marching through town with handguns and long guns proudly displayed. These were Americans demonstrating for their rights, not against them. Several local media outlets covered the march, with comments on the articles ranging from wholehearted support, to the usual “ignorant rednecks”, “Neanderthals”, “uneducated”, or “dirty hillbillies “. I don’t think that the individuals marching through town on that day were concerned with the name-calling internet trolls; standing up for their rights was a little more important than online trolling.
Since the March for our Lives, demonstrations similar to what we saw in Teller County have grown more and more prevalent throughout the country and Colorado. Rally for Our Rights has also held similar demonstrations in Boulder, Longmont, Ft. Collins, and Loveland. April 14th saw pro-second amendment demonstrators converge on state capitals across the country. Some of these demonstrations drew thousands. Even high school students have organized to support your second amendment rights with several student rallies occurring around the country, including one here in Teller county on April 4th.
Another March For Our Rights demonstration took place in Teller county on May 26th. In a county full of veterans and where more than half the residents are gun owners, what better time to remind people of one of our cherished 2nd Amendment freedoms for which so many veterans have died. These homegrown, grassroots demonstrations are continuing in Colorado and the rest of the country, but we aren’t hearing as much about these protests as we are the anti-second amendment movements that are driving them, such as those over Memorial Day Weekend in Parkland.
In a time when we are seeing an unprecedented push to take away the rights of Americans, it’s good to see those who are willing to stand up for those same rights. After all, Rosa Parks didn’t take a seat at the front of the bus so others would lose their right to sit there, she sat where she did so everyone would have the same opportunity. Now is the time to stand up for our rights, the movement to take them away is insidious. Each time a ban or restriction of our rights occurs it opens the door for more oppression and loss of freedom. Let’s not forget all the battles fought to earn Americans the freedoms they enjoy today, and even if individual names are not known, be thankful to all who fought, and continue to fight to preserve all of our rights.
* Bonnie Hobart Pyle currently lives in Teller County and is a passionate animal rescuer and outdoor adventurer.